For the fifth year in a row, Oak Ridge Associated Universities coordinated an annual event in conjunction with Earth Day to encourage ORAU’s 1,100 employees to bring in unwanted items from home to recycle, a press release said.
As part of this year’s two-day event on April 22-23, ORAU accepted a total of almost 10,000 pounds of technotrash (computers, related accessories, or other electronic items), paper for secure shredding, unwanted medicine as part of Operation Medicine Cabinet in collaboration with the Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Oak Ridge Police Department, and 414 pairs of “gently used” shoes to donate to those in need through the Soles4Souls nonprofit organization, the release said.
“ORAU’s Earth Day event has grown each year since its start in 2010 as many employees use it as a spring cleaning ritual; this event not only helps the environment by recycling unwanted items and those in need with the donation of shoes, it keeps unwanted medicine out of the hands of children or drug abusers with Operation Medicine Cabinet, which was a new element to this year’s event,” said Tom Wantland, ORAU’s director of Environment, Safety, and Health. “Employee feedback shows that employees want to recycle, because it is the right thing to do; as an added incentive, ORAU provides T-shirts to the first 75 employees who participate in the event.”
ORAU said it has a long history of being environmentally friendly, which is documented in ORAU’s environmental management system and by maintaining ISO14001 certification for environmentally sound business practices. ORAU’s corporate office building in Oak Ridge was the first new, gold-level, LEED-certified office building in Tennessee, the release said.
Separate from the Earth Day event, ORAU as an organization recycles more than it throws away as it recycled more than 164,000 pounds of materials in 2013, according to the release.
“At ORAU, we truly believe in doing what we can to help preserve the environment, and our culture and actions reflect this,” Wantland said. “We are proud of the fact that ORAU recycles more than we throw away.”