Employees and retirees of Oak Ridge Associated Universities combined their efforts to preserve the earth’s natural resources at the company’s two-day Earth Day recycling event last month, which helped to recycle five tons of materials – and not go to the local landfill
ORAU held the event held this year for the first time in two years. The event has halted these years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the two-day event, held at ORAU’s South Campus location near Bethel Valley Road in Oak Ridge, the Office of Environment, Safety and Health of ‘ORAU, with the help of people from all over ORAU, accepted nearly five tons of reusable and recyclable materials from employees and retirees. It included 6,549 pounds of “technotrash”, 150 pounds of batteries and 793 pounds of household items, according to an ORAU press release.
ORAU invited local vendors onsite during the event to assist in the secure shredding of 1,800 pounds of paper and the collection of 77 pounds of medication for disposal. The Michael Dunn Center performed secure onsite shredding; Anderson County Allies for Drug Abuse Prevention (ASAP) and the Oak Ridge Police Department collected unused or unwanted medications as part of Operation Medicine Cabinet.
“This year we thought it would be a great idea to raise donations for local Oak Ridge nonprofits to help us celebrate 75+ years of ORAU in the community of Oak Ridge,” Jennifer Clary, ORAU Environment, Safety and Health Specialist who organized this year’s event, said in the statement. “During the event, we were able to collect nearly 800 pounds of lightly used household items to donate to local nonprofits.”
The donations were collected for the Blossom Center for Childhood Excellence, an Oak Ridge nonprofit that partners with parents to provide affordable and accessible child-centered programs seven days a week, and the Ecumenical Storehouse, an organization made up of several churches in Oak Ridge, which collects, stores and distributes household items to help those in need create small homes.
Back to normality?
The Earth Day event was also another step towards normalcy for ORAU employees post-pandemic.
“Earth Day was a huge success for us, not only for the good we did for the environment and our community, but also for our employee engagement and awareness efforts,” said Mark Berkheimer. , director of the ES&H office of ORAU. “With a large number of new employees, as well as the fact that many of our employees had not been on site for some time, we wanted to give them the opportunity to come together and hopefully start to rebuild some of the community and connectivity we may have lost over the past two years working from home during the pandemic.
ORAU hosts the Earth Day event to encourage employees to bring unwanted items home for recycling or reuse. Since 2010, ORAU employees have recycled more than 44 tons of materials from their homes through the company’s Earth Day recycling and donation events.
As an organization – whose headquarters in Oak Ridge was the first new LEED Gold-certified office building in Tennessee – ORAU’s environmental management philosophy emphasizes sustainability through recycling, minimizing waste, green procurement and energy efficiency, according to the release. From saving more than 125,000 pounds of materials a year to landfills to ensuring hazardous waste is handled properly, ORAU is committed to integrating environmental responsibility into its business strategies and operations. daily.