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EPA Announces WasteWise award winners in Illinois and Wisconsin

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

For Immediate Release   No. 18-OPA098

EPA Announces WasteWise award winners in Illinois and Wisconsin

Chicago (January 4, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the prevention and diversion accomplishments of the 16 WasteWise national award winners, who collectively prevented and recycled over 355,801 tons of waste, saving $17.7 million in avoided landfill fees. In the Midwest, awardees include the City of Urbana, Kohl’s Department Stores, Sears Holding Corp., and Frito-Lay. 

“This is yet another excellent example of the EPA partnering with communities and organizations to achieve environmental and economic benefits through waste prevention and management. The WasteWise award winners have exemplified tremendous environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility, and we commend their efforts,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

For 23 years, EPA’s WasteWise has helped organizations and businesses apply sustainable materials management practices to prevent and reduce municipal and select industrial wastes, saving them resources and money.

Nationally, WasteWise partners reported preventing and diverting 8.5 million tons of waste that would otherwise have been disposed in landfills or incinerators. These actions—which include waste prevention, recycling, composting and donation—saved participants over $400 million in avoided landfill fees.

WasteWise partners who report the best overall improvement in waste prevention and recycling activities—when compared to the previous year—receive awards in various categories.This year’s Midwestern winners include:

City of Urbana, Ill. - Local Government Partner of the Year

The City of Urbana, Ill., public works department 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 92 percent diversion rate.

Kohl's Department Stores (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) - Very Large Business Partner of the Year

A leading 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 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 the landfill, including more than 7 million pounds of plastic and 230 million pounds of cardboard.

Sears Holdings (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) - Very Large Business Honorable Mention

Sears Holdings Corp. has implemented multiple recycling programs for materials such as cardboard, plastic, tires, auto fluids and more. In 2016, Sears diverted more than 63 percent of operational waste from landfills through recycling, reuse, liquidation and donation programs. In 2016, Sears created 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.

Frito-Lay (Beloit, Wis.) - Mid-Size Business Partner of the Year

The Beloit Frito-Lay facility 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 more than 15,000 tons of materials from going to landfills or incinerators. The site’s total landfill diversion rate is 99 percent.

All U.S. businesses, governments and non-profit organizations can join WasteWise. For more information: