2018 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the Great Lakes Region
Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). Awards were given in the categories of education and outreach, energy and transportation, innovation, leadership, purchasing, and waste in the Great Lakes region.
In Region 5, which serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 Tribes, the 2018 regional award winners are the Minneapolis Health Care System, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Region 3 Office, the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the Minnesota National Guard, EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory, and the U.S. Customs and Broder Protection Detroit Field Office. The award winners shared details about their diversion activities, and about their awards with EPA. Below are the stories they tell behind their accomplishments.
Education and Outreach, and Water
Department of Veterans Affairs, Minneapolis Health Care System, Minneapolis, Minn.
The Minneapolis Veterans Affairs is receiving an Education and Outreach Award for offering all of its staff a course titled Mini-Masters Recycling Program, which offered sessions on solid waste, recycling, plastic, food waste and waste prevention. Overall 25 staff members completed the training, which included classroom sessions with local recycling experts and field trips to understand how waste management sites operate. The hospital also increased the amount of Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered electronics purchased by 222 percent and reduced the amount of water used for landscaping irrigation by 75 percent by increasing the amount of green infrastructure, which needs less irrigation water.
Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3 Office, Minneapolis, Minn.
The Region 3 Fish and Wildlife Service is receiving an Innovation Award for the extensive effort to establish a computer-based recycling tracking process that would efficiently accommodate and account for all electronic waste recycling across its eight-state region.
Innovation, and Energy and Transportation
Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Ill.
Argonne National Laboratory is receiving an Innovation Award for its innovative Earth Day celebration that promoted sustainable actions while highlighting the Lab’s research in innovation and the environment. Over 55 lab employees had their photo taken while holding a sign with quotes, describing their commitment to sustainability. These photos were later featured on the Lab’s sustainability website.
Argonne National Laboratory also increased its amount of renewable energy generated on-site and purchased by 50 percent, and decreased the number of vehicles with traditionally fueled internal combustion engines by over 66 percent.
Minnesota National Guard, Little Falls, Minn.
The Minnesota National Guard is receiving a Leadership Award for its Energy Efficiency Challenge, which seeks to raise awareness and change practices among soldiers and employees about energy conservation and sustainability. Through use of special tools and technical assistance at 68 percent of its facilities, the Minnesota National Guard saved over $500,000 in energy costs during the last three years. The Minnesota National Guard also has been able to decrease water its consumption by 37 percent between 2014 and 2017.
Environmental Protection Agency, Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory, Duluth, Minn.
The Mid-Continent Ecology Division (MED) Laboratory reduced the amount of printing paper purchased by 41 percent in fiscal year 2017. This continues a long-term effort to reduce paper use by using electronic documents and forms, implementing double-sided printing, and using its Environmental Management System to improve its environmental footprint and increase operating efficiency. Overall, in 2017, MED has reduced its paper use to nearly 10 percent of what it was in 2004.
Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Detroit Field Office, Detroit, Mich.
The Customs and Border Protection’s Detroit Field Office increased its amount of waste recycled by 422 percent by incorporating recycling into a file room cleanout project.
General Services Administration, Joseph F. Weis, Jr. U.S. Courthouse, Pittsburgh, Penn.
The Joseph F. Weis, Jr. U.S. Courthouse increased its composting from approximately 14 tons in fiscal year (FY) 2016 to 45 tons in FY 2017. This facility is diverting wastes that would otherwise go to landfills or incineration, and is instead facilitating the creation of agricultural amendments.