2018 Federal Green Challenge Award Winners in the Southeast Region
Recognition is an important part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). An award was given in the category of education and outreach in the Southeast region.
In Region 4, which serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and six Tribes, the 2018 regional award winner is the Department of Energy, East Tennessee Technology Park. The award winner shared details about its diversion activities, and about its award with EPA. Below is the story they tell behind their accomplishment.
Education and Outreach
Department of Energy, East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
The Department of Energy’s East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) has approximately 1,600 employees and contractors in the surrounding communities of Oak Ridge and Roane County. In 2017, in an effort to increase municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling both onsite and in the community, ETTP’s cleanup contractor helped launch a campaign to highlight and boost recycling at the plant, as well as in the community. From October through mid-November, ETTP used numerous intercompany communications, as well as community outlets, to reach its target audience. It accomplished this with company newsletter articles, announcements, pagers, safety pause information and recycling targets included in its Integrated Safety Management System. Additionally, ETTP had numerous engagement activities, such as sponsoring a coat drive for a local charitable organization, bringing in a speaker from the local recycling center, awarding on-the-spot acts of pollution prevention, and even a contest to guess weights of bales of plastic bottles. In the community, a large banner was hung on the recycling transfer station, and it received a lot of coverage due to its prominent location along a busy highway near the plant. The story and photo was picked up by the local newspaper.
The anticipated impact is to increase the amount of MSW diversion. The hope is to see fewer plastic bottles make their way into the landfill and to see an increase in plastic bottles received at Roane County Recycling. ETTP anticipates that the increased outreach and associated publicity will encourage neighboring municipalities to join the campaign. This would create a synergistic effect that will have the outcome of increased awareness of a National Recycling Day and see this translated in its diversion rates as well. The intent is to create a self-sustaining community campaign involving other private entities and municipalities that will continue to benefit the community.