HOUSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized NASA's White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, N.M., and Johnson Space Center in Houston as Federal Green Challenge National Award winners.
White Sands received the National Award for Overall Achievement for outstanding efforts in 2012 to advance sustainability efforts and its leadership in reducing the environmental footprint of federal government activities.
"In 2012, concrete and asphalt debris piles were safely recycled into 10,712 tons of reusable materials," said Michael Jones, environmental project manager at White Sands. "As an alternative to purchasing new road base materials, WSTF now has reusable resources for future projects," This truly was a team effort between the White Sands facilities engineering, environmental and safety organizations."
Johnson was recognized for the highest progress over the previous year. The center increased municipal solid waste composted from 16 tons in 2011 to 250 tons in 2012, which represents a 1,449-percent improvement. Johnson grounds contractor ProDyn EPES LLC of Annapolis, Md. is responsible for the compost pile.
"Through our composting program, we no longer need to purchase mulch and compost, we don't have to pay to get rid of yard debris, and we're reducing greenhouse gas emissions- it's a win-win situation all around," said Michelle Fraser-Page, recycling manager at Johnson. "We're thrilled to be recognized by the EPA for our efforts to increase sustainability."
These achievements were made while participating in the Federal Green Challenge, a national effort under EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Program. It challenges federal agencies to lead by example in reducing environmental impact. Federal agencies are recognized for outstanding efforts that go beyond regulatory compliance and strive for annual improvements in selected areas.
"It's amazing what can be accomplished when incredible people at all levels work together to make something happen," said Joel Walker, Johnson's director of center operations.
In 2012, about 300 federal facilities, representing 500,000 federal employees, reduced their environmental footprint in several target areas, resulting in an estimated combined cost savings of more than $31 million.
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