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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Recognizes DeSoto, Texas, Law Firm as WasteWise Winner for Reducing Paper Use and Other Waste

04/23/2020
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (April 23, 2020)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the 2019 winners of the national WasteWise awards. EPA Region 6 recognized Owens PLLC, a law firm based in DeSoto, Texas, as a regional winner for its achievements in greatly reducing paper use and other waste. EPA also recognized the outstanding accomplishments of 11 WasteWise partner organizations with national awards.

After reviewing filing, documentation, billing, and other office processes, the Owens firm found ways to reduce paper use by 25 percent and reduced overall waste by about 90 percent. Some steps the firm took include refining the documentation process; transferring subscriptions, billing, and other paper-dependent items to online versions; and creating a comprehensive, online filing system. These steps resulted in reduced waste as well as reduced costs and less need for recycling.

“As we begin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, it is fitting to highlight these WasteWise partners for their dedication to waste reduction, environmental stewardship and sustainable materials management,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These efforts not only provide environmental and cost savings benefits, but they also increase the efficiency of these businesses and organizations positioning them for greater success.”

This year’s winners used innovative best practices and tailored efforts to help them prevent and reduce waste from going into landfills and incinerators, such as:

  • Converting excess materials into new products.
  • Providing specialized training for staff on waste prevention and diversion.
  • Recycling numerous materials including pallets, scrap metal, paper, cardboard boxes, automotive fluids and parts, styrofoam and plastic bags.
  • Composting on-site and returning grass clippings back onto lawns.

One of this year’s winners collected plastic stretch film that was then recycled into trash can liners, which the winner purchased for use on their campus, providing the feedstock and market for that material. Another winner worked with a vendor to convert over 200,000 pounds of unusable liquid soap product into a commercial floor cleaner, achieving source reduction, the highest level of the waste management hierarchy. 

WasteWise is one of EPA’s longest-running voluntary programs and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. EPA’s WasteWise program encourages organizations to achieve sustainability and to reduce waste. In 2018, our WasteWise partners, including today’s award winners, collectively reported preventing and diverting more than 1.9  million tons of municipal solid waste that would otherwise be disposed in landfills or incinerated, saving close to 100 million dollars in avoided landfill tipping fees. Of this amount, WasteWise partners reported preventing (also called source reducing) more than 890,000 tons of waste, meaning that no waste was created in the first place, EPA’s most preferred waste management method.

Every year EPA recognizes WasteWise partners in several categories who report the best overall improvement in waste prevention and recycling activities when compared to the previous year.

The 2019 national award winners are:

College/University Category

Partner of the Year: Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Local Government Category

Partner of the Year: City of Chesapeake Garage, Chesapeake, Virginia

Honorable Mention: Sand Creek Station Golf Course, Newton, Kansas

Tribal Government Category

Partner of the Year: Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez, California

Non-profit Organization Category

Partner of the Year: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts

Small Business Category

Partner of the Year: Ravitz Family Markets, Price Rite Supermarkets, Inc., Camden, New Jersey

Honorable Mention: Home Market Foods, Norwood, Massachusetts

Large Business Category

Partner of the Year: Rooms to Go, Seffner, Florida

Honorable Mention: Peace Dining Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Very Large Business Category

Partner of the Year: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington

Honorable Mention: L Brands, Inc., Columbus, Ohio

More information about each winner’s efforts and results is available at: https://www.epa.gov/smm/wastewise#AwardsandAwardWinners

Background:

The WasteWise program is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management efforts that promote the use and reuse of materials more productively over their entire life cycles. All U.S. businesses, governments, academic institutions and non-profit organizations can join WasteWise as a partner, an endorser or both. Partners demonstrate how they reduce waste, practice environmental stewardship and incorporate sustainable materials management into their waste management practices. Endorsers promote enrollment in WasteWise as part of a comprehensive approach to help their stakeholders realize the economic benefits to reducing waste.

For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/smm/wastewise

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About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central  

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