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Communications and External Relations
Pollution prevention program shrinks ORNL's waste
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.,
July 18, 1995
It is not uncommon these days to see shrinking budgets, but the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has managed to help reduce costs by shrinking its waste as well. Recycling efforts have also helped the community and reduced landfill use.
ORNL placed approximately 6,300 cubic yards of sanitary waste in landfills in 1994, 14.3 percent less than 1993's 7,350 cubic yards. A cubic yard is slightly smaller than a standard washing machine. Sanitary waste consists of non-hazardous, non-toxic waste such as paper, food containers or packaging material, all of which are approved for disposal in a municipal landfill.
"The cost and space savings realized by recycling programs in 1994 were the largest of any year so far," said Susan Michaud, ORNL pollution prevention coordinator. "Most of the additional savings were from coal ash reuse and toner cartridge recycling."
A new program was begun in 1994 to reuse coal ash produced at ORNL's steam plant. The ash is used by a company in Chattanooga as a component in cement production. Also during 1994, the laser printer toner cartridge recycling program refurbished twice the number of cartridges it did in 1993.
Cartridge recycling involves replacing any worn or defective parts in a cartridge and refilling it with toner. A Knoxville business refurbishes cartridges collected at ORNL at a cost lower than that of manufacturing new ones. The savings are passed on to ORNL departments when they buy recycled cartridges at lower prices.
Knoxville's Ronald McDonald House benefits from ORNL's recycling programs as well. All aluminum cans collected at ORNL are donated directly to the charity. The organization then sells the cans and keeps all money generated, which was approximately $5,000 in 1994.
ORNL's waste minimization efforts started in 1982, and the official ORNL Pollution Prevention Program began in 1991. Beyond fulfilling compliance requirements, the program's mission is to help people reduce the amount of waste they produce. ORNL has saved from $3 million to $4 million through pollution prevention in the last two years.
ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.
You can learn more about this effort and many other exciting projects by visiting ORNL on Oct. 21, 1995, during its Community Day event. Many of our facilities will be open to the public that day. For additional information, call ORNL Public Affairs, 865-574-4160.