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Kennedy's Waste Reduction Efforts Prove Award-Winning
Teachers line up for supplies.

Image above: Hundreds of teachers lined up in Titusville, Fla., to receive surplus supplies. Image credit: NASA/Gianni Woods
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Boxes of supplies.

Image above: Boxes of excess office supplies were collected at the space center. Image credit: NASA/Gianni Woods
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Teacher chooses supplies.

Image above: A teacher chooses supplies for her classroom. Image credit: NASA/Gianni Woods
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As government, business and industry look for ways to advance their sustainability programs, those efforts at NASA's Kennedy Space Center recently received recognition at a statewide conference in Florida. At the Recycle Florida Today's annual conference and exhibition in June, the space center received the "Waste Reduction" award from the group's board.

What made the center's efforts outstanding was that the sustainability team members not only recycled materials that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill, but also garnered excess supplies through a donation project that benefitted six surrounding Brevard County public schools, helping the teachers meet the students' needs.

"There were 293 teachers who eagerly snapped up the surplus supplies from our excess office supplies donation project," said Alice Smith, KSC recycling and sustainable acquisition program manager. "The supplies' estimated value was $115,000. It was a win-win situation."

But the center's four-member delegation to the conference did more than just collect the award. "We came back with ideas on developing a material recycling facility and organic recycling," said Smith. "We brought back ideas and contacts from the exhibitors on balers, containers, plastic recycling, electronic recycling and more."

The three-day program featured workshops on recycling, material recycling facilities, organics, trends and legislation.

"Colleges gave case studies on recycling efforts, there was a workshop showcasing reuse efforts through rehabilitative programs and community art projects, and another focusing on construction and demolition," explained Smith. "We looked at recycling progress, where we stand now, and what the future holds."

The space center has been a member of the Recycle Florida Today organization since 2006. The group serves as a professional association that helps its members improve their recycling techniques through education, research and exchange of ideas.

Cheryl L. Mansfield
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center