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2017 Business Recycler of the Year

2017 Business Recycler of the Year

Chamisa Elementary School and Pajarito Environmental Educational Center (PEEC) win 2017 Business Recycler of the Year Awards.

The Business Recycler of the Year award is sponsored by the Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division and the Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Board. The Business Recycler of the Year Award is a great avenue to promote recycling in the business community and get more businesses participating in the recycle program. To become eligible, a business is nominated by a member of the community for contributing to recycling and waste reduction. The nominees are required to submit a brief overview about how their business recycled and reduced waste. This information is posted to an online voting system and the voting process is open to the general public.

Los Alamos County Environmental Services received seven nominations for the fifth annual Business Recycler of the Year Award. There were two categories this year, Educational Institute and Business/Non-Profit. Educational Institutes were: Chamisa Elementary School, Los Alamos High School Eco Club, and Aspen K-Kids (sponsored by Kiwanis). Business/Non-Profit nominees were: Merrick & Company, Pajarito Environmental Educational Center, Sirphey and Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church Shop on the Corner. The voting was conducted via an online survey. The winners of the 2017 Los Alamos County Business Recycler of the Year are Chamisa Elementary School for Educational Institute and Pajarito Environmental Education Center for Business/Non-Profit.

Chamisa Elementary School implemented a variety of education activities to encourage the students to recycle more and reduce waste. Some of the activities included:

·         Two art contests for recycling and zero waste lunches

·         Two Zero Waste Lunch challenges

·         Chamisa now recycles and composts every day saving about 800-900 pounds of waste per year.

The principal of Chamisa impacted the community by working with the hot lunch vendors to encourage the use of paper rather than Styrofoam. Currently the vendor is serving lunch now on paper trays that are recyclable.

Chamisa also have extended the reach of our recycling working with the Food Co-op. We are now accepting Terra Cycle for granola bar, wrappers, and chip bags which can divert about ½ pound of trash per day.

Chamisa Elementary School is hoping to improve the recycling program even more by offering more options for reusable products rather than recycling or contributing more to the landfills.

Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is committed to recycling our own waste, and to sharing information with others about how they can do the same.  We seek to show people how recycling and reducing use helps to protect and preserve our natural resources and nature.  Below are some of the ways we work to achieve this:

• PEEC and the County’s Clean-up Day in White Rock Canyon resulted in almost a ton of materials taken out of the canyon and recycled. 
• Worked with the Los Alamos High School Eco Club to create the “One Second of Bottles” art installation and informational project at the Earth Day Festival this year. 
• Distributed reusable water bottles to all 4th graders as part of the County Department of Public Utilities' Water Festival. 
• Hosts informational programs, such as the field trip to the Friedman Recycling Center, which we put on in partnership with the County Environmental Services Division. 
• Spearheading the effort to make the upcoming New Mexico Association of Museums conference free of disposable-bottles, and, in general, as waste-free as possible. 
• Hosting the “A Different Way” discussion course about reducing our impact on the earth. 
• Our building is LEED GOLD certified, in part because of our water collection system, electric car charter, water bottle filler, low-flow toilets, and solar panels. 
• Promote sustainability through our gift shop, selling items made from recycled or reclaimed materials. 
• Our gardens educate visitors on native drought tolerant species, pollinator plants and other conservation/stewardship issues.

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