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Ohio EPA Announces Latest Encouraging Environmental Excellence Recipients

Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson today recognized 19 organizations with the Agency’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence stewardship award. 

“Through recycling efforts, waste-reduction processes, renewable energy programs, and sustainability programs, these companies are making a major impact in their communities,” Director Stevenson said. “I am very pleased to honor these organizations with the Encouraging Environmental Excellence award.”

Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program recognizes businesses and organizations for completing environmentally beneficial activities and serves as an incentive for organizations to commit to ongoing environmental stewardship. Applications are evaluated using environmental stewardship criteria developed by Ohio EPA. All applicants must be in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

To obtain recognition for stewardship, an organization can work through four levels of recognition: Achievement, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. All levels require a commitment to meet or exceed environmental regulatory requirements.

Platinum level honors a business or organization that expands its environmental program beyond its facility and demonstrates how its environmental stewardship efforts benefit the local community, region, or larger geographical area. This year’s Platinum Level winners are: 

  • Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden for providing 100 percent of its electricity needs through renewable energy; After School Green Team program for neighborhood families; horticulture assistance with local park landscaping and pollinator gardens; and a program updating residential and public spaces to LED lighting.
  • Denison University for helping establish the Spring Valley Nature Preserve; creating a guide for establishing solar pollinator habitats in Ohio; helping coordinate community environmental stewardship activities; hosting the Green Energy Ohio annual renewable energy tour; and partnering with Smart Columbus to facilitate regional transportation development.
  • Marathon Petroleum Company LP – Findlay Campus for hosting an annual community recycling week; converting 2.5 acres of concrete to greenspace, planting 10,000 trees, shrubs, and plants; participating in Blanchard River cleanups, adopt-a-highway cleanups, Hancock County parks trash pickups; and partnering with Sodexo to donate food on a weekly basis to the Findlay City Mission.
  • Cleveland Metroparks for its emphasis on waste diversion from landfills, green infrastructure, and energy efficiency to create a positive environmental impact on the surrounding community; and using green building elements for new and existing building projects, including sensor light switches, water bottle filling stations, high-efficiency lighting, solar tubes, and utilizing recycled products and materials.

To earn the gold award, a business or organization must have a comprehensive environmental stewardship program, go beyond regulatory compliance requirements, and complete environmental stewardship activities that reduce waste and improve environmental performance. This year’s Gold Level winners are: 

  • TimkenSteel’s Water Treatment Plant for implementing alternative coagulants, resulting in a 90 percent reduction of chemical use; and capturing and recycling two million pounds of iron from treatment systems annually.
  • Vallourec Star, LP for reducing energy usage for the electric arc furnace; purchasing 86 percent of power from “zero carbon-emitting sources;” recycling 45,000 gallons of wastewater per year; and reducing water consumption by approximately 160 gallons per product ton.
  • Whirlpool Corporation, Findlay Operations for recycling more than 120,000 pounds of low-density polyethylene (LDPE); installing two wind turbines, offsetting 12 percent of the facility’s electric usage; operating at more than 98 percent waste diversion; replacing propane-powered forklifts with electric tugger carts and automated guided vehicles.
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for implementing a sustainability council and green team; a zero waste to landfill goal; environmentally preferable policy for purchasing; energy efficiency; source reduction; composting; building to LEED certification; green infrastructure; recycling and reuse programs; and implementing a variety of green infrastructure projects including bioswale and retention cells, rooftop garden terraces, rainwater-runoff catch basins, and use of drought-tolerant and indigenous plants.
  • Stirling Ultracold, a Division of Global Cooling, Inc., for its zero-waste policy to send no wastes to incineration or waste to energy; redesigning its packaging to use fewer materials; upgraded lighting; matching 100 percent of its electricity usage to wind generation credits; and refurbishing its units to extend their useful life.  
  • Akron Engineering Bureau – Akron Waterways Renewed! for its public outreach program working with Akron schools to provide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning programs for students interested in the STEM fields, as well as area construction firms and local unions to provide opportunities for resident students interested in the vocational studies field; installing energy-efficient turbo blowers using magnetic bearing technology resulting in a projected savings of $21,000 per month in utility costs and a $108,000 energy efficiency rebate; and using anaerobic digesters to process wastewater for ultimate land application and producing electricity for on-site use. 
  • First Solar Inc. PGT-2 for adopting environmental stewardship best practices including module and submodule recycling process, wastewater treatment process, certification to the new ISO management standards, and robust recycling of metals, common and precious, paper, and plastic; and installing LED lighting throughout the offices, manufacturing floor, and parking lots.
  • Kenworth Truck Company for reducing the waste created by 78 pounds per truck, or 2.7 million pounds less for the year; creating a returnable rack project in 2017 that has eliminated 694 tons of cardboard waste and 75 tons of carbon dioxide emissions; switching to LED lighting; optimizing and conducting preventive maintenance of machines; staggering air conditioning set points and turning off half the rooftop HVAC systems during weekends; and reducing electric use by 5 million kilowatt hours.

The silver level award recognizes a business or organization’s outstanding achievements in environmental stewardship. This year’s Silver Level winners are:

  • Charter Steel – Fostoria for reducing the use of plywood and reducing solid waste generation by using durable matting; reusing shipping supplies and dunnage; and for a facility-wide energy efficiency program to conserve heat and use LED lighting.
  • OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital for reducing single vehicle use by 1,700 trips; improving energy efficiency to reduce more than 3.7 million kilowatt hours per year; and a reprocessed medical device program that diverted 6,000 pounds of waste from landfills.
  • Bendix for its strong recycling program; expanding its kitchen organics pilot program to facility organics collection diverting over 815 pounds of waste from the landfill each week; and implementing a range of energy efficiency improvements, including lighting and HVAC.
  • Cooper Farms for maintaining an active recycling team; reducing waste by washing vehicle air filters for reuse; and implementing an effective composting program, composting food scraps, used shavings from animal trailers, eggshells, and expired raw feed material.  
  • CSA Group for implementing projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, divert waste, reduce energy and water use, capture methane for reuse, and provide community outreach and sustainability education; working towards Zero Waste to landfill recycling 570,000 pounds annually with an 87 percent diversion rate; and providing financial incentives to employees to purchase hybrid or electric vehicles.
  • NASA Glenn Research Center for monitoring algal blooms in Lake Erie; developing more efficient aircraft propulsion systems to reduce fuel demands of future generations of aircraft; implementing initiatives to reduce energy use by 35 percent in its buildings; reducing water consumption by 53 percent; and maintaining a 50 percent recycling rate.
  • Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution for installing energy efficiency upgrades, which reduced water use and achieved a 98 percent landfill diversion rate through recycling and its composting operation; and reducing food waste generation by 60 percent and diverting 198.74 tons of its institutional food waste from the waste stream.

Through the E3 program, Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance helps businesses receive recognition for environmental stewardship efforts. To learn more about the E3 program and the nomination process, please visit www.epa.ohio.gov/ocapp/ohioe3 or call 1-800-329-7518.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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