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News Releases

News Releases from Region 05

EPA Recognizes WasteWise Winners in Great Lakes Region

Honorees in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-032


EPA Recognizes WasteWise Winners in Great Lakes Region

Honorees in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin


CHICAGO (April 20, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of its 2019 WasteWise Awards for making strides in reducing waste streams. National award winners include Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., named as Partner of the Year, and L Brands, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, which received an honorable mention. Kohl’s Department Stores in Menomonee Falls, Wisc., received the EPA Region 5 award.


In 2018, our WasteWise partners, including today’s award winners, collectively reported preventing and diverting more than 1.9 million tons of municipal solid waste that would otherwise be disposed in landfills or incinerated, saving close to 100 million dollars in avoided landfill tipping fees.


“As we begin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, it is fitting to highlight these WasteWise partners for their dedication to waste reduction, environmental stewardship and sustainable materials management,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These efforts not only provide environmental and cost savings benefits, but they also increase the efficiency of these businesses and organizations positioning them for greater success.”


“Keeping valuable materials out of the waste stream is good for the environment and good for business,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA’s WasteWise program helps organizations and businesses divert waste from landfills, conserving resources, protecting the environment and saving money.”


EPA’s WasteWise program encourages organizations and businesses to achieve sustainability in their practices and reduce select industrial wastes. Participants in the program work to prevent and divert waste that would otherwise be disposed of in landfills or incinerated.


Every year, EPA recognizes WasteWise partners in various categories who report the best overall improvement in waste prevention and recycling activities, when compared to the previous year. The 2019 award winners in Region 5 include:


College/University Partner of the Year: Central Michigan University (CMU)

With more than 19,000 students, CMU’s sustainability efforts are a student-led priority. The university’s waste prevention and recycling efforts saved the equivalent of 1,992 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This savings is equivalent to removing the emissions of 423 vehicles for one year, saving 224,600 gallons of gasoline or saving the electricity for 347 homes for one year.


"Having an opportunity to be involved in making CMU a more sustainable campus allows me to make an impact in ways I never thought I could.” Paige Pokriefka, Sustainability Chair, Central Michigan University, senior student.


Very Large Business Honorable Mention: L Brands, Inc., Columbus, Ohio

L Brands accomplished a large number of significant reuse and recycling actions including diverting waste to create new products or facilitate reuse by sending 41,000 pounds of outdated electronics for refurbishment and reuse, working with a vendor partner to convert 201,000 pounds of unusable liquid soap product into a commercial floor cleaner and partnering with a vendor to recondition and reuse more than 5.5 million pounds of wooden pallets.


“We’re proud to partner with WasteWise as we believe in doing what is right in our industry, our community and our world,” said Greg Cunningham, AVP Global Compliance, L Brands, Inc.


Regional Award: Kohl’s Department Stores, Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

Kohl’s achieved an 83 percent diversion rate, recycling more than 130,000 tons of material, including more than seven million pounds of plastic film and 230 million pounds of cardboard. The company has a solid waste management policy which governs recycling practices at stores and corporate facilities.


“We believe in incorporating sustainable solutions into how we do business, including our commitment to reducing waste, reusing and recycling materials, as well as promoting waste reduction solutions to our customers, associates and partners,” said Steve Thomas, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, Kohl’s. “Kohl's has committed to a goal of diverting 85 percent of U.S. operational waste from landfills by the end of 2025 and will continue to seek ways to surpass this goal.”


More information about each winner’s efforts and results, is available at:



The WasteWise program is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management efforts that promote the use and reuse of materials more productively over their entire life cycles. All U.S. businesses, governments, academic institutions and non-profit organizations can join WasteWise as a partner, an endorser or both. Partners demonstrate how they reduce waste, practice environmental stewardship and incorporate sustainable materials management into their waste management practices.


Endorsers promote enrollment in WasteWise as part of a comprehensive approach to help their stakeholders realize the economic benefits to reducing waste. For more information, visit:


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