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2017 WasteWise National Award Winners

Recognition is a key element of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Program and WasteWise. EPA awards select WasteWise partners for their exemplary waste prevention and reduction activities. Partner awards are based on self-reported data in the categories of waste prevention, recycling and disposal.

The 2017 WasteWise national award winners shared details and quotes about their wasted food prevention and diversion activities, and about their awards with EPA. Read about their accomplishments and how they achieved them.

On this page:

Kohl's Department Stores

Menomonee Falls, Wis. - Very Large Business Partner of the Year

Kohl’s is a retailer with more than 1,100 locations in 49 states. Kohl’s deploys waste recycling programs and waste avoidance strategies to help conserve resources, as well as actively encourages associates, partners and customers to reduce their waste and look for opportunities to reuse and recycle materials. The retailer’s signature grey shopping bags are made out of recycled plastic, and the company offers customers the opportunity to recycle their plastic bags, shipping envelopes, air pillows or product wrap at Kohl’s stores nationwide. In 2016, Kohl’s diverted more than 80 percent of its operational waste from landfills, including more than seven million pounds of plastic and 230 million pounds of cardboard.

“At Kohl’s, our commitment to reusing and recycling materials is just one way we are working to protect and conserve the environment for long-term sustainability. We are proud to extend our recycling programs to our customers, associates and partners to make environmentally conscious behaviors an easy choice."– Steve Thomas, Kohl’s Chief Risk & Compliance Officer

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Sears Holdings Corporation

Hoffman Estates, Ill. - Very Large Business Honorable Mention

Sears Holdings Corporation (SHC) is committed to operating its business responsibly by taking into account social and environmental impacts alongside its commitment to growth and profitability. The company has implemented multiple recycling programs for materials such as cardboard, plastic, tires, auto fluids and more. SHC believes that through recycling and reuse programs, it can reduce its environmental impact, and it encourages its associates and members to do the same. The company operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation with retail stores across the country.

Sears Holdings continues to make progress towards its diversion goal of 70 percent waste-from-landfill by 2020. In 2016, it diverted more than 63 percent of operational waste from landfill through recycling, reuse, liquidation and donation programs. Its aspirations for waste reduction and diversion led to the 2016 creation of the SHC Waste Council - a venue for internal stakeholders to gather and discuss ways in which the company can meet its materials management goals, and drive profitability and efficiency through its waste management.

“At Sears Holdings, we believe that being a leading integrated retailer means operating our business in a way that improves the lives of our members and associates, protects our environment and enriches the communities in which we work and serve, all while delivering financial results,” said Paul Campbell, Director of Environmental Sustainability at Sears Holdings. “We are proud of our achievements in waste reduction and diversion and attribute our success to the hard work and commitment of our store associates and valued partnerships with our vendors. Together we are working to reduce our environmental impact and protect our planet for future generations.”

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Ravitz Family Markets, Price Rite Supermarkets, Inc.

Camden, N.J. - Large Business Partner of the Year

In 2016, Ravitz Family Markets, Price Rite Supermarkets, Inc. donated 43 tons of food to hungry people, recycled 157 tons of mixed municipal solid waste, and composted 14.5 tons of food waste.

Ravitz Family Markets, Shoprite: Union Mill Rd., Mt. Laurel Supermarkets, Inc.

Mount Laurel, N.J. - Large Business, Honorable Mention

Ravitz Family Markets, Shoprite: Union Mill Rd., Mount Laurel Supermarkets, Inc. donated 35 tons of food to hungry people, recycled 560 tons of mixed municipal solid waste, and composted 51 tons of food waste.

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Frito Lay, Beloit, Wis.

Beloit, Wis. - Mid-Size Business Partner of the Year

The Beloit Frito Lay facility consists of a 580,000 square foot manufacturing facility and a 16,000 square foot traffic center,  employing almost 800 full- and part-time employees. The facility prides itself in the ability to reduce its carbon footprint through several waste stream reduction processes. The site partners with local area tech schools to donate end-of-life Ultra-High molecular weight polyethylene plastics for use by computer numerical control classes. The facility recycles unusable cardboard boxes to make desktop calendars and children’s book covers. Scrap tires from its traffic center are recycled and made into new products. Used oils are sent off-site to be converted into biodiesel or reconditioned for reuse. The site donates nearly a half ton of product each year to local charities and organizations.

These efforts combined to eliminate 15,595.88 tons of materials from going to landfills or incinerators. The site’s total landfill diversion rate is 99.10 percent.

Reducing its carbon footprint isn’t just a goal, but a way to conduct sustainable business practices at every level of the Frito-Lay, Beloit, Wis., organization.

“Our Beloit Site has a long history of sustainable business practices and I am extremely proud of our people and their continued leadership with waste reduction strategies.”—Michael Stah, Frito Lay Beloit Site Manufacturing Director

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JK Moving Services

Sterling, Va. - Mid-Size Business, Honorable Mention

JK Moving Services are proud proponents and champions of sustainability and reuse programs throughout the company, and have been since its inception in 1984. JK Moving Services began with reuse of oil that became its heating source for vehicle maintenance facilities. It also upgraded its lighting packages throughout many of its facilities, equipping them with energy efficient incandescent bulbs and features like automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors. Controls such as timers and photocells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use.

JK publishes a report annually to reflect the results of its eco-friendly practices and to benchmark itself against future successes. Its employees are encouraged to bring new ideas to these efforts and to consider daily and long-term practices that impact the company’s reduction of its carbon footprint. During 2016, JK Moving Services diverted more than 3.7 million pounds (1,869 tons) of materials away from area landfills through recycling and repurposing initiatives. The reported results included:

• Mixed Paper – 1,079,940 pounds

• Metal – 1,474,540 pounds

• Corrugated cardboard – 498,740 pounds

• Furniture – 373,850 pounds

• Code 2/Wood – 262,060 pounds

• Electronic waste – 47,236 pounds

• Mixed plastics – 1,760 pounds

The JK Commercial Services Division has donated discarded office supplies and used furniture to benefactors such as not-for-profit associations, churches, teachers, and community involvement institutions.

“JK is committed to sustainable and eco-friendly practices. We operate an aggressive fleet reuse program, recycling anti-freeze and batteries for trucks and forklifts, and reusing engine oil for heating our maintenance facility. Most recently, we placed orders for multiple Tesla Semi all-electric day cab tractors that will further our carbon emissions-reduction goals.” - Charles Kuhn, Founder, President, and CEO, JK Moving Services

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Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

St. Louis, M0. - Small Business Partner of the Year

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC) has made sustainability a major focus of its business plan since its inception in 2011. Whenever possible, sustainable design and sustainable processes have been implemented at the point of installation. Its award-winning LEED (Silver) Certified production facility is one example. These industrial processes and technological investments enable UCBC to minimize its waste footprint at all times, while simultaneously engaging in ongoing opportunities to improve as the company expands its operations. UCBC believes that participating in WasteWise enables it to communicate and share its approach in the hope that the message may assist others in craft brewing and other industries.

In 2016, UCBC diverted 96 to 97 percent of its solid waste to recycling and repurposing. The company has solid waste diversion programs for spent grain (1.1 million pounds), wood pallets (28,000 pounds), and high density polyethylene barrels (500 pounds). In the coming years, UCBC plans to focus on improving its ability to track its processes to deliver more accurate and meaningful cost savings numbers and further improve its operational efficiencies.

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Earth Friendly Products

Cypress, Calif. - Small Business, Honorable Mention

Earth Friendly Products operates four sustainable manufacturing facilities across the United States. Family owned and operated since 1967, the company has implemented rigorous recycling programs at all of its divisions to dramatically reduce its production and packaging waste. By separating all recyclable materials, being vigilant in reducing consumption, and working closely with suppliers and vendors to prevent waste, Earth Friendly Products has reduced its overall waste by 95 percent since 2010. In addition to this year’s WasteWise Award, each of the company’s facilities have won the prestigious Zero Waste Platinum certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. Since 2011, the company has earned over $223,000 from selling recyclable materials and has reduced its trash disposal costs by over $115,000.

“It’s the passion and commitment of all of our employees that has enabled us to achieve our waste reduction success.” – Dr. Nadereh Afsharmanesh, Vice President of Sustainability and Education

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CenturyLink Field

Seattle, Wash. - Small Business, Honorable Mention

In 2016, CenturyLink Field achieved a 97 percent waste reduction rate and more than a 95 percent reduction rate over each of the last four years. Key program elements include using food service products and vessels that are compostable and transitioning to paper-based degradable straws. In addition, the facility partners with Cedar Grove Compost, a compostable waste facility, and Sound Sustainable Farms. Cedar Grove Compost makes compost from CenturyLink Field’s post-consumer food scraps and sells the compost to Sound Sustainable Farms. CenturyLink Field purchases organic vegetables from the farm for use at the stadium. CenturyLink Field’s sustainability efforts also include the use of on-site solar power, more energy efficient lighting systems and reduction of water usage by installing low-flow fixtures.

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The Presidio Trust

San Francisco, Calif. - Federal Government Partner of the Year

The Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, a 1,492-acre innovative urban national park site. The Presidio Trust’s Waste Reduction Program oversees all of the Presidio Trust’s waste and diversion activities, and consistently reaches a diversion rate of 64 percent or higher. Highlights of the Waste Reduction Program include an in-house yard-waste compost program that recovers the majority of the green debris generated in the park and composts the debris on site. The finished compost is used in the park for landscaping and reforestation projects. The compost program saves the Presidio more than $75,000 annually, largely from avoided transit and disposal fees.

The Presidio also has a comprehensive salvage/material recovery program, which manages all aspects of excess property redistribution, in addition to reuse through General Services Administration auctions. Furnishings, equipment and supplies have been reused in offices and venues throughout the park and by partner agencies. The Waste Reduction Team also coordinates the contract for curbside recycling/compost/refuse collection in the park, which includes a residential population of 3,000 and over 100 commercial tenants. The program provides outreach on composting and recycling, and educates staff and tenants about contamination. This outreach and education helps keep diversion rates high.

For five consecutive years, the Presidio Trust has been recognized by EPA’s WasteWise program with the Federal Government Partner of the Year award, and each year the Trust continues to strive to make its waste program better. In 2017, the Presidio Trust set a zero waste goal to target the over-abundance of office furniture in the park. Additionally, the Presidio makes every effort to educate park users, particularly during special events, on the opportunities available to reduce and recycle wastes while they are on park property.  Park employees communicate with visitors through messaging at events and through social media. These efforts get the word out, and engage park users in helping The Presidio achieve its waste reduction goals.

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City of Urbana

Urbana, Ill. - Local Government Partner of the Year

The City of Urbana, Ill., Public Works Department consists of 80 employees and six divisions, including administration, arbor, engineering, environmental sustainability, fleet, and operations, which track monthly data on recycling and reuse efforts. Urbana Public Works has been tracking data since 2012. Materials tracked include items such as batteries, oil, antifreeze, tires, solvents, landscape materials, concrete, asphalt, lamps, scrap metal and more. In 2016, the Urbana Public Works Department diverted more than 2,300 tons of materials from landfills, and achieved a 91.8 percent diversion rate.

“The diligence of staff seeking alternatives to landfill disposal is what I am most proud of, and the continuance to strive to make the City of Urbana, Ill., an environmentally sustainable community.” - Courtney Kwong, Recycling Coordinator, City of Urbana, Illinois

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City of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - Local Government, Honorable Mention

The City of Fort Lauderdale provides weekly collection services to approximately 38,000 households and has been a WasteWise partner since 2011. In 2016, the city recycled over 10,000 tons of mixed recyclables, 16 tons of electronics and composted more than 16,000 tons of yard waste.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas - College/University Partner of the Year

The University of Texas Health Science Center supports 1.25 million patient visits each year through 700 providers in 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2016, the Health Science Center accomplished the following waste prevention and reduction actions:

  • Created a recycling program for the management of various universal waste products. The university collected more than 5,000 pounds of mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs for recycling. It also earned $528.30 by recycling rechargeable and single-use batteries, including alkaline, lithium, and lead acid batteries
  • Recycled flammable liquids from the histology research laboratory, as well as other research laboratories.
  • Repurposed 9,386 pounds of flammable liquids through fuel blending and energy recovery processes.
  • Reduced copper, zinc and mercury discharge levels to local water systems by 300 percent to 800 percent.
  • Recovered silver from the discharge of the dental school’s film development process.
  • Used the local water district’s recycled wastewater to provide water for the chillers and cooling towers in the university’s Central Energy Plant. The recycled water is also used for irrigation on the university’s property. More than one million gallons of reclaimed water is used every month, saving the university more than $20,000 in 2016.

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Georgia State University

Atlanta, Ga. - College/University Honorable Mention Winner

Georgia State University’s commitment to innovative green practices can not only be seen from a university level, but can be traced back to departments whose efforts led the way for other green projects. Sensing a need for additional recycling, the university’s Sustainability Initiatives Department developed a recycling team and a hard-to-recycle-materials program that now includes compacting all types of polystyrene for resale. In 2016, the recycling team built on its ‘Move In Move Out’ program, in which students donate and recycle old shoes, clothing and other hard-to-recycle items.

PantherDining, the university’s dining service, also plays a significant role in the university's waste diversion efforts. PantherDining uses multiple actions to prevent and reduce wasted food, including trayless dining and bulk condiments in the dining halls to avoid waste. It tracks and measures its generation of wasted food and works with the Panther Food Recovery Network student group. In 2016, the university composted over 230 tons of dining waste. The Panther Food Recovery Network donated over 8,000 pounds of wholesome, excess food to a local charity, Safehouse Atlanta.

Finally, Georgia State University continues to illustrate its priority to the environment and innovation through projects such as “Fry to Fuel.” This project collects used cooking oil from dining halls and converts it to a B20 biodiesel mixture, fueling all university shuttles and diesel fleet vehicles.

The university’s total waste prevention and diversion efforts saved it over $24,000 and kept 600 tons of waste out of landfills.

As green projects on campus increase, Sustainability Initiatives Program Manager, Jenni Asman, notes “that to have a truly successful waste diversion program, everyone needs to be on board. Whether it’s our Building Services Department and their green cleaning initiatives reducing harmful chemicals and plastic bottle use, or PantherDining’s continuous efforts to find innovative ways to cut down on food waste and unnecessary packaging, university partners realize that waste reduction is one of the best ways to positively affect an institution’s bottom line while showing students our commitment to the environment.”

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Pasco County Schools

Pasco County, Fla. - School/School District Partner of the Year

Pasco County Schools have continued to increase in both staff and student size, creating additional sites annually. However, they have maintained and even decreased their solid waste through waste prevention and recycling efforts. The schools reduce waste in several ways, including expanding the types of materials collected for recycling, increasing the level of outreach and education for the program, and by opening a surplus store to resell items that are no longer of use to the school district. 

The Pasco County School District has five daily routes that service all sites for recycling. Using EPA weight conversion numbers and logs from the drivers, the school district can determine how much of each recyclable material the schools and sites are collecting, and keeping out of the landfill. In the 2016-17 school year, they increased their recycling rate by five percent over the previous year, recycling over 1,800 tons of materials. These materials generated over $60,000 in revenue and over $156,000 in cost savings. Finally, the Conservation and Recycling Program works closely with the schools in delivering presentations and special events.  

One message that is constantly reiterated through these waste reduction efforts is that environmental stewardship doesn’t take away from the students’ educational learning. Rather, the use of environmental projects and programs can enhance the learning experience by engaging students in efforts that demonstrate their interconnectedness to the planet around them and how they can make a positive impact in their daily lives.

“The goal of the Conservation and Recycling program is to promote and increase environmental stewardship throughout our 95 schools and district offices by providing our more than 74,000 students and over 10,000 staff with the knowledge and the tools to make a difference.” Salinda Strandberg, Pasco County Schools Recycling Coordinator

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Boston, Mass. - Non-Profit Organization Partner of the Year

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and is located in the heart of Boston. Through the commitment of all its employees, BIDMC is able to become more sustainable every day through employee engagement, community partnerships, and innovative solutions. In 2016, BIDMC prevented, donated and recycled nearly 1,300 tons of waste through efforts including reprocessing medical devices, donating supplies, composting food waste, and promoting green commuting with rideshare programs.

According to Jane Matlaw, BIDMC’s Director of Community Relations, “BIDMC’s waste reduction program is a collaborative effort where individuals in every division are committed to making their space more sustainable. This enables BIDMC to foster an environmentally responsible community.”

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