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PPPL earns top EPA award

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been named the 2012 Federal Partner of the Year for reducing its carbon footprint by cutting the amount of waste it sends to landfills.

The prestigious award, bestowed annually through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Program, comes after PPPL recycled more than 2,000 tons of metal when it sold all of the metal components of three large sets and one small set of motor generators in 2011.  The 2,041 tons of metal recycled from motor generators once used to power PPPL’s early experiments meant that its recycling rate by weight was 95.4 percent – 8 or 9 tons per person at PPPL.

 “Thanks to the efforts of our staff, PPPL continues to be a leader in waste reduction activities,” said Michael Williams, associate laboratory director for engineering and infrastructure.

The Laboratory also upgraded its composting program by requiring Brock & Co., the company that runs the cafeteria, to make nearly everything be compostable or reusable – including all plates, cups and food containers.

In 2011, PPPL reduced the total amount of solid waste it disposed by nearly 7 tons from about 147,000 tons to about 140,000 tons.

WasteWise is a federal program aimed at tracking and reducing waste. About 1,700 members in 54 industry and government sectors participate in the program. Members include the U.S. Postal Service, the City of Atlanta and PSE&G.

The Laboratory significantly reduced the amount of greenhouse gases it produced by reducing the amount of waste going into landfills by the equivalent of about 6,000 metric tons of C02 in fiscal year 2011 through recycling and composting.  PPPL won a federal Sustainability Award last year for reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions 48 percent since 2008 – far exceeding the U.S. government’s goal of a 28 percent reduction.

PPPL’s green purchasing program, which won PPPL a GreenBuy award from the U.S. Department of Energy last year, and its electronic recycling program, which won the 2011 WasteWise Gold Achievement Award, also reduce the Laboratory’s waste stream.


U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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