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Success Stories – Nonprofits


The success stories provided on this website are for information purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by EPA or the United States Government of any specific commercial products, processes, or services mentioned therein.

Catholic Relief Services

Due to the efforts of their employee education on environmental stewardship, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) continues to further reduce its carbon footprint. This effort is lead by their Green Ambassador Committee through its intranet portal. This portal helps to educate employees about waste reduction, recycling, green purchasing and extending its arm of communication to embrace their overseas offices. Talk about outreach!

Their intranet portal is known as Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship Space. In this ‘space’ members can share ideas, documents, and participate in discussions and review news feeds. These efforts take employee education to a higher level and reduce Greenhouse Gas effects.

Trinity Lutheran Church

Trinity Lutheran Church believes environmental stewardship is a higher calling; for parishioners of Trinity Lutheran “Taking care of the earth is a part of our greater plan.”

For their reduction efforts Trinity Lutheran stopped the use of disposable plastic plates, cups and utensils at church functions and replaced them with reusables. A dishwasher was added to aid in the transition. Food scraps from the kitchen were composted in the church’s backyard and later used for the church’s flower beds and vegetable gardens.

Trinity Lutheran Church has a benevolent approach to reuse items. They sponsor a table share for parishioners to exchange items that are no longer used. They’ve found some practical and creative measures to successfully divert 5,350 pounds of material from local landfills in 2008.

Battelle Memorial Institute – Columbus, OH

Recycling in the workplace is a great way to share the environmental message to hundreds, if not thousands of employees. This has made a difference for the environment, while improving the financial operation of an organization.

Battelle is a non-profit organization that teamed up with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to educate their employees about waste, recycling and its impact on the environment. In the span of three years, their collective effort has resulted in collecting over 47 tons of recycled materials, 25 tons of reused products, three tons of waste avoided and over $900,000 of savings in operating costs.

To maintain the momentum of their efforts, Battelle produces an e-news blast, educational presentations, community outreach efforts and the creation of new programs, such as the ChemAgain initiative. The ChemAgain program allows the reuse of chemicals within the organization and to four external companies. They have even allowed the reuse of some chemical barrels, to save water for home owners. These barrels are converted to rain barrels to collect and store rain water that can later be used for gardens.

Bert Fish Medical Center – New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Bert Fish Medical Center tries to cultivate a climate that lets employees and patients know it cares about the environment. In 2000, the medical center hosted a biannual giveaway in which employees brought excess supplies—normally discarded—to a central location for exchange. During a recent demolition of an old portion of the hospital, the center held a community yard sale that generated $3,000 by selling furniture and memorabilia. The medical center also diverted approximately 300 pounds of packaging from a landfill in 2000 by having a large receptacle for staff to deposit packaging peanuts or bubble wrap for reuse.

In 1999, Bert Fish Medical Center established a comprehensive waste prevention plan targeting used linens and gowns no longer suitable for patients. The medical center saved nearly $10,000 by switching from disposable to reusable hospital gowns. It also donated 1,300 pounds of used linens to a local charity and animal shelter for use as animal bedding and 4,420 pounds of food to a local food bank.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation – Williamsburg, VA

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation operates a 301-acre “living history museum” that recreates 18th-century Williamsburg, Virginia, and invites visitors to improve the future by learning from the past. A WasteWise Partner since 1998, the foundation’s 2004 efforts focused on increasing collection of recyclable materials including phone books, rags, batteries, paper, PET, and aluminum cans. In addition, the foundation recycled cardboard, wood, food scraps, and yard trimmings and thereby avoided nearly $16,000 in disposal costs through its recycling program.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Boston, MA

A cancer research and treatment center, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute recycled 13 different types of materials and maintained an active “orphaned chemicals” program, thereby preventing pollution and minimizing waste. Concerned with the amount of trash that could not be recycled, the institute’s Green Team created a “Weird Waste Day” on Earth Day 2003 to collect recyclable items that are not typically recycled. The Green Team creatively informed employees about acceptable items for “Weird Waste Day” by placing articles in Dana-Farber’s bimonthly newsletter and on the organization’s Web site. In 2003, the Green Team collected many items for recycling, including 25 pounds of transparencies, 12 pounds of CDs, and fivepounds of Tyvek® envelopes. In addition, Dana-Farber saved more than $9,000 in 2003 and recycled 91,200 pounds of corrugated cardboard, 115,080 pounds of paper, and 3,000 pounds of mixed plastics.

United Way of America

In addition to serving communities’ needs across the country, United Way of America integrated waste reduction into its ethos through diligent waste reduction activities and continuous education efforts. In 2002, United Way developed a WasteWise Web page, placed recycling signs throughout the office, integrated an “Environmentally Friendly Work Environment” into new employee training, and prevented more than 7,500 pounds of paper waste by moving catalogues, confirmations, and member surveys online. United Way also made a significant change to their procurement practices by purchasing and using recycled content office paper (30% post-consumer) and encouraging local United Ways to follow suit.

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