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Success Stories – Tribal Government


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.

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation – Pendleton, OR

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation expanded its recycling program in 2005 by adding a recycling recovery center, eliminating the need to haul recyclables to neighboring cities. Donation and reuse are not only central to Umatilla’s waste reduction program, but also help the local community. Its materials exchange center serves as a distribution center for donated items such as silverware, furniture, and tires. Umatilla also reused more than one ton of carpet by distributing it to the community. In addition to purchasing office supplies in bulk, Umatilla increased the amount of recycled content in the paper it purchased from 25 percent to 50 percent and in tissue products from 50 percent to 75 percent.

Blue Lake Rancheria – Blue Lake, CA

The Blue Lake Rancheria made impressive inroads to developing a solid waste reduction program in its first year of WasteWise program participation. The tribal office, which had no solid waste reduction program before joining WasteWise, conserved 33 pounds of copier paper by double-siding all documents, and 49 pounds of printer paper by reusing single-sided copies for draft printouts and in the fax machine. The tribal office also implemented a new voice mail system that decreased handwritten phone messages, and an intraoffice mail network that allows employees to send memos and other documents to coworkers without printing them. These activities conserved seven pounds of memo pads and internal memos.

The Blue Lake Rancheria has made advances in reducing one of its largest waste streams: paper. The switch to duplex printing, two-sided copying, and faxing saved the California tribal group large amounts of paper. Recycling efforts collected nearly 6 tons of paper products, allowing up to 93 trees to live and continue carbon sequestration, an activity our whole planet can be thankful for. Blue Lake is also making progress through green purchases: 98 percent of the paper it bought in 2001 contains postconsumer material. Paper isn’t the only area of success, though, as the Rancheria collected nearly one ton of steel and aluminum cans for recycling.

The tribal office conserved 44 pounds of printer paper by using the back side of single-sided copies for draft printouts and in the fax machine. The tribal office also reduced 60 pounds of secondary packaging by switching from non-recyclable PVC/vinyl plastic bags to recyclable PET containers.

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin

The Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin strives to impart its environmental ethic to all tribal members, especially its children. The tribe implemented a composting program at the Turtle Elementary School in which children composted cafeteria food scraps and applied the compost to vegetable gardens. In addition, the Oneida Tribe held a clothing and small household item exchange, taught a “Make It Second Nature” class to help community members reduce their environmental footprints, and provided incentives for vendors to offer recycling at its annual Pow-Wow.

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