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Ohio EPA Issues 2016 Encouraging Environmental Excellence Awards
Announces New Platinum Level of Recognition
Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler presented nine Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Awards today at the Agency’s Compliance Assistance Conference in Columbus.
Ohio’s E3 program recognizes businesses, nonprofits and governmental agencies for going above and beyond compliance with requirements while demonstrating environmental excellence. In addition, a new fourth level of recognition was introduced today by Director Butler, who said, “It is important to encourage Ohioans to keep their environment healthy, and to build on the E3 recognition program, the new Platinum Level will recognize organizations that have expanded their environmental programs beyond their own facility, to make a positive impact on the surrounding community.”
The E3 program also provides Achievement, Silver and Gold levels of recognition. An organization can work through levels of recognition including Achievement at the base level; Silver Level recognizing outstanding accomplishments in environmental stewardship; and Gold Level recognizing comprehensive environmental stewardship programs. All levels require a commitment to meet or exceed environmental regulatory requirements.
Eight organizations are being recognized at the Gold level:
ConAgra in Troy produces pizza, dough and meat snacks. Its water cooling system has been updated to reduce water consumption by 2 million gallons per year, and more than 8 million pounds of scrap dough and food waste was reused as animal feed or if unsuitable, composted, keeping more than 9 million pounds of waste out of landfills.
Denison University, a liberal arts college in Granville, added sustainability as one of its goals in 2008. The school set up a revolving loan fund of $500,000 for environmental stewardship improvements at the University, while requiring new buildings to comply with LEED standards. One building saved the institution $28,000 in reduced electric and gas bills. The food service also focused on sustainability by reusing containers, adding a food donation network and initiating campus composting. Starting at 22 tons, the school grew its composting rate to 80 tons last year.
Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland makes craft beer. The energy use went down by 6 percent per year, and water usage decreased by 5 percent per year, compared to the company’s production level. It also purchased more than 30 percent of its feed stock from local food sources, which pumped $1.4 million into the local economy.
JLG Industries in Orrville manufactures work lifts and motorized telescoping booms that are most often used to lift workers toward higher, out-of-reach places in industrial or construction settings. The company updated its painting preparation process which improved corrosion resistance 150 percent, while eliminating 1,500 pounds per year of phosphate previously being discharged into the environment. It also improved its paint mix system, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in solvent use and saving more than $120,000 annually.
Marathon Office Complex in Findlay is the corporate headquarters for Marathon Petroleum. The complex established a comprehensive recycling, energy and water reduction initiative, now recycling 50 percent of its waste stream, including 30 tons of used carpet following remodeling. The company reduced 40 tons of cafeteria waste through composting and implemented a broad range of energy efficiency and water conservation practices.
PPG Delaware makes resins and coatings for collision and commercial uses for the automotive market. As a prime example of materials exchange for mutual benefit, the company provided 900,000 pounds of used material to a Kentucky paint company to be re-used, saving it from incineration and also saving $54,000 in disposal costs. The company also was able to decrease water usage and reduce its waste stream by 12 percent to save more than $27,000 per year.
Scotts in Marysville makes lawn and garden products, making use of more than 50 different waste byproducts that retain agronomic value. By incorporating these into other products, Scotts repurposed more than 5 billion pounds of byproducts annually. Revived feedstocks include composted residential yard waste, processed livestock manure, bark and wood chip waste from the forest industry, agricultural crop waste and pre-consumer food waste. To assist in the fight against harmful algal blooms, Scotts has eliminated 10,000 tons of phosphorous from lawn maintenance products, and reduced nitrogen in lawn maintenance fertilizers.
United States Postal Service (USPS) Toledo is a mail processing plant, servicing 113 office locations, and is the first in the USPS to achieve a zero waste goal, defined by USPS as recycling more than 95 percent of its solid waste, exceeding the federal goal of 50 percent waste diversion. The facility is now working to expand practices that began in Toledo to the rest of the Northern Ohio District, which covers parts of southern Michigan.
One organization is being recognized at the silver level:
3M Elyria makes cellulose sponge material and realized more than $1 million in savings by keeping 4.6 million pounds of pollution out of the environment. By improving efficiency of a crystallization system, chemical consumption was reduced by 660,000 pounds annually. The company installed an automated clean-in-place system, reducing water usage by 72 percent. A side benefit is that it lessens the facility’s impact on the city wastewater treatment system, reducing the amount of chemical needed to treat discharge water.
For more information about Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence program and the recognition levels, visit www.epa.ohio.gov/ohioE3.aspx. Achievement Level applications are accepted at any time. The deadline to apply for a 2017 Silver, Gold or Platinum Level award is Oct. 14, 2016.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.