OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — ORAU employees broke a record in their efforts to preserve the earth’s natural resources during the company’s annual Earth Day collection event. Employees recycled more than nine tons of recyclable material, including technotrash like computer components, cables, televisions and kitchen gadgets.
As part of the two-day event, ORAU’s Oak Ridge campus accepted more than 18,904 pounds of technotrash and 1,100 pounds of paper for secure shredding. This year’s total broke 2018’s record-breaking collection by 35 percent. In addition, employees at ORAU locations in Ohio, Colorado, and Maryland collected 3,048 pounds of recyclables.
“For our employees, commitment to environmental conservation goes well beyond an annual event,” said Tom Wantland, ORAU Director for Environment, Safety and Health. “Earth Day gives us all an opportunity to renew our commitment to recycling efforts throughout the year.”
“We collected 209 pounds of batteries and 108 pounds of medication were turned in,” said Sally Shipley, an ESH specialist who has organized the Earth Day collection event for eight years.
The unwanted or unused medications were collected as part of Operation Medicine Cabinet in collaboration with the Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Oak Ridge Police Department. The Drug Enforcement Agency will incinerate all of the medications collected.
Additionally, 3,525 pairs of shoes were donated to Funds2org in support of Helping Paws Animal Network, an animal welfare organization started by ORAU employees. HPAN will receive 40 cents for each pound of shoes recycled.
ORAU hosts the annual event to encourage employees to bring in unwanted items from home for recycling or reuse. Since 2010, ORAU employees have recycled more than 39 tons of material from their homes as part of the company’s Earth Day recycling and donation events.
As an organization—whose corporate office building in Oak Ridge was the first new, gold-level, LEED-certified office building in Tennessee—ORAU’s environmental management philosophy emphasizes sustainability through recycling, waste minimization, green purchasing, and energy efficiency. Whether it means saving more than 125,000 pounds of materials annually from landfills or ensuring that hazardous waste is handled properly, ORAU is committed to incorporating environmental responsibility into our business strategies and day-to-day operations.
ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 150 colleges and universities, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).