Argonne and Dept. of Energy receive EPA’s Federal Green Challenge Award

May 15, 2014

Argonne National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have been recognized with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Federal Green Challenge Award in the waste reduction category.

Argonne decreased the amount of solid waste sent to landfills by 36 percent from 2012 to 2013. This translates into 434 tons of waste diverted from landfills.

“Each employee contributes to this success when they use a recycle bin instead of a trash bin,” said Argonne Pollution Prevention Program Coordinator Gregg Kulma. “Argonne has also initiated a compost project in partnership with the lab’s on-site 213 Bistro cafeteria, managed by Sodexo. Food preparation scraps are composted on site, adding to the lab’s waste reduction efforts.”

The Energy Sciences Building and Advance Protein Characterization Facility construction projects diverted 93 percent of all construction debris from landfills to local recycling and reuse streams.

“These actions help the lab save money and reduce emissions by decreasing the amount of waste that’s sent off site for disposal,” said Argonne Sustainability Program Manager Karen Kosky. “As part of our site sustainability goals, the lab is committed to increasing the amount of waste diverted from landfills to recycling or reuse facilities to 50 percent by 2015.”

The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort under the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Program, challenging federal agencies throughout the country to lead by example in reducing the federal government's environmental impact.

This is the third year the award has been presented. In 2009, President Obama called on all federal agencies to lead by example to improve their environmental, energy and economic performance. The Federal Green Challenge helps federal agencies “walk the talk” on sustainable practices.

“Argonne and DOE work hand-in-hand when it comes to sustainability,” said U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Engineer Kaushik Joshi. “We have a shared vision — world-class science and innovation committed to helping meet the nation’s need for clean, affordable energy solutions. Our commitment to sustainability is not skin-deep; it’s reflected in the way we do business and how we conduct everyday operations.”

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.