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Environmental Factor

July 2011

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NIEHS recognized for composting

July 2011

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) logo

NIEHS scored an organization honorable mention in the Environmental Stewardship category of the FY2010 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Green Champions Awards Program.

The program singled out NIEHS for composting achievements that diverted 15,790 lbs. of pre- and post-consumer cafeteria waste from the landfill, while reducing greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, normally produced during waste decomposition. In FY2010, over 95 percent of the Institute's total cafeteria waste was either composted or recycled, surpassing the NIEHS 2010 Environmental Management System goal of 10,000 pounds.

In her announcement of the results of this year's competition, NIEHS Sustainability Coordinator Trisha Castranio acknowledged the collective contributions of people at NIEHS toward recognition of the Institute's program. Last year, NIEHS won the FY2009 Organization Green Champion Award (see story (

"We are proud of the example we set as an environmental institute to protect human health and the environment in our work as well as in our daily life," Castranio wrote to her colleagues. "Your effort embraces the spirit of our sustainability program and commitment to reducing our environmental footprint."

Compost from the offsite facility is returned to the NIEHS campus for use as mulch around landscaped trees and in the shrubbery beds reducing the need to purchase these items. "These actions support a healthy environment in our Institute while demonstrating good environmental stewardship and sustainable practices to our community," Castranio said.

This year marks the third annual HHS Green Champions Awards, which honor outstanding HHS employees and Native American tribal members involved in various sustainability projects in the areas of electronic stewardship, energy and water conservation, environmental management, green procurement, sustainable buildings, and transportation and fleet management.

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