Waste prevention earns UT Health a national EPA award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the prevention and diversion accomplishments of UT Health San Antonio and 15 other WasteWise national award winners Jan. 4

UT Health won the EPA’s Partner of the Year Award for colleges and universities.

“Being recognized by the EPA is a notable accolade and something to celebrate,” said Michael A. Charlton, Ph.D., assistant vice president for risk management & safety, Environmental Health & Safety Department. “However, it’s the day-to-day efforts of our faculty, staff, and students at minimizing waste streams that’s the real award.”

The EPA noted that UT Health San Antonio, in addition to other initiatives, created a recycling program for the management of various universal waste products, recycled flammable liquids from research laboratories, drastically reduced copper, zinc and mercury discharge levels to local water systems, and used recycled wastewater for chilling and cooling towers and for irrigation.

“Our faculty, staff, and students have a solemn obligation to ‘do no harm’ in our education, health care and research efforts,” Dr. Charlton said. “This philosophy means that we must continually work to reduce our consumption and waste streams throughout the organization. Bottom line, managing wastes leaving UT Health makes both public health and business sense.”

For 23 years, EPA’s WasteWise has helped organizations and businesses apply sustainable materials management practices to prevent and reduce municipal and select industrial wastes, saving them resources and money.

WasteWise partners reported preventing and diverting 8.5 million tons of waste that would otherwise have been disposed in landfills or incinerators. These actions—which include waste prevention, recycling, composting and donation—saved participants over $400 million in avoided landfill fees.

UT Health San Antonio won the same award from the EPA in 2012.


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