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1999 Pollution Prevention Environmental Excellence Awards

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Wichita - Sedgwick County Department of Community Health

The Wichita-Sedgwick County Department of Community Health provides pollution prevention education to target businesses. Within those target businesses they have established a collection system for Kansas’ small quantity hazardous waste generators. They accomplish this through a pre-qualification process for businesses that helps them with small quantity generator disposal options. Target industries benefit further from specific pollution prevention education workshops, in areas such as automobile services, dry cleaning and dentistry. This winner has also given one-on-one site evaluations to help individual businesses gain greater understanding in pollution prevention techniques. The Wichita-Sedgwick County Department of Community Health synergized its efforts by working with the Chamber of Commerce, university programs at KU and K-State, business associations and assistance programs, the water & sewer department and other many other local partners. Together with the target businesses, this team has diverted over 50,000 pounds of waste from local landfill and sewer operations. The waste exchange program they fostered has given new value to more than 18,000 pounds of waste. These collective efforts demonstrate an award winning effort towards community pollution prevention.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap and with their local partners have established a venue for consumer education and income production. They created two recycling centers near low-income housing that purchase aluminum and old newsprint from residents. These Centers rely on local organizations for clientele and leadership. The Minute Circle Friendly House provides the driving force in organizing the newest Center. Each Center offers a range of wide environmental education – from auto emissions to water conservation, and of course, recycling tips. The Centers do not make direct cash payments. They provide secure vouchers that can be redeemed at a local grocer’s for cash. This further builds community and recycling awareness through the integration of local businesses. The City of Kansas City and its Housing Authority have been keystone supporters of the efforts in the low-income communities. The success is not measure solely by the participation of the residents, but also over 30 community organizations that now use recycling income. Collectively, the residents and community organizations have diverted 33,000 pounds of material from landfills. These partners and their successes in environmental education and recycling collection exceed the standard for pollution prevention for environmental justice.

Kansas Electric Utilities Research Program

The Kansas Electric Utilities Research Program has developed an innovative means to explore pollution from automobiles. In pursuit of a road rally, high school students learn the viability and efficiency of electricity for transportation purposes, then build electric cars. The students also learn about the emissions from standard, internal combustion engines and the effects that has upon air quality. This year, 34 Kansas high schools competed in the race. Deans from Kansas’ engineering schools have developed scholarships for the student participants. The U.S. Department of Energy helps fund the solar power for eight vehicles. Student builders are generally under a very limited budget and they learn re-use automotive parts. The Kansas Electric Utilities Research Program provides an innovative way for students and their communities to explore transportation and its general pollution effects on the environment.

Nebraska Hills Resource Conservation and Development

The Nebraska Hills Resource Conservation and Development group has tackled a prevalent environmental issues for rural areas. They collect, manage and recycle pesticide containers. They recognized the risk non-empty pesticide containers can pose to their farmlands and families. They developed a series of technical and resource partnerships to make their efforts successful. They brought on local resource partnerships, such as the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska & Iowa and Papio-Missouri River Natural Resource District, for collection and container management resources. Commercial firms, such as Farmers Cooperative Associations and local businesses, also served as key collection points. Tri-Rinse of Saint Louis helped them with the container shredding and transportation matters. These collective efforts diverted over 22,650 pesticide containers from the landfills or open burning. The plastic material can be recycled into new containers or substitute lumber. For their collaborative successes in addressing a significant rural challenge of pesticide containers, Nebraska Hills Resource Conservation and Development is recognized with a Community Pollution Prevention Award.

Celotex Corporation

Celotex Corporation designed and operates a new process that converts their waste gypsum wallboard into a suitable raw material for remanufacturing into gypsum wallboard. The solution not only leaves the environment cleaner, but it creates an on-going recycling process that saves money and produces a new revenue stream. Celotex worked with local business development and government officials to finance their plant modifications. The newly designed processes consume current waste generation of 20 tons per day and also will eventually consume the backlog of 100,000 tons of waste. The process to date has diverted 55,000 pounds of waste wallboard for a savings of $329,000 raw materials costs and $400,000 landfill costs. Celotex Corporation through these award-winning pollution prevention efforts is creating an environmentally preferable product.

Washington County Recycling Assn.

The Washington County Recycling Association is a very special organization. It relies on all-volunteer resources to accomplish its efforts. This group has upwards of 1,000 volunteers that promote recycling, collect recyclable material and market the materials collected. They have diverted six million pounds of glass, newspaper, cardboard, magazines, plastics and aluminum from the landfill. They realize the marketing products is a necessary activity to complete the recycle equation, so among other efforts they are actively working to find markets for newspaper insulation or livestock bedding. The Washington County Recycling Association demonstrates a community can come together to establish an award-winning community pollution prevention program.

Kansas Army National Guard

The Kansas Army National Guard uses pollution prevention philosophy to reduce the amount of hazardous materials used /generated and conserve natural and fiscal resources. This has had a phenomenal impact, both in terms of waste reduction and cost savings. They have been able to reduce their needs for toxic and hazardous materials. They have modified processes or found substitute products that replace the more toxic materials. The Kansas Army National Guard reduced hazardous waste generation 72%. They eliminated a 16,900 pound waste solvent stream. They changed battery specifications to accommodate a non-leaking, longer life span, non-lead acid battery and saved $125,000. They modified paint removal processes to eliminate 13,900 pounds of waste and $5,800 disposal costs. The Kansas Army National Guard is a true 1999 champion of pollution prevention.

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