Employees collect nearly five tons of recyclables during annual Earth Day event
Collection event returned for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—ORISE’s managing contractor ORAU hosted a two-day Earth Day recycling event held in April. The event was held this year for the first time in two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the two-day event, held at the ORISE South Campus in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) Office accepted nearly five tons of reusable and recyclable materials from employees and retirees, including 6,549 pounds of technotrash, 150 pounds of batteries and 793 pounds of household donation items.
Local vendors were onsite during the event to assist with secure shredding of 1,800 pounds of paper and collecting 77 pounds of medication for disposal. The Michael Dunn Center performed onsite secure shredding; Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County and Oak Ridge Police Department collected the unused or unwanted medication as part of Operation Medicine Cabinet.
“This year, we thought it would be a great idea to collect donations for local nonprofit organizations within the Oak Ridge community,” said Jennifer Clary, an ORISE Environment, Safety and Health specialist who organized this year’s event. “During the event, we were able to collect nearly 800 pounds of lightly used household items for donation to local nonprofits.”
The donations were collected for the Blossom Center for Childhood Excellence, a non-profit organization that partners with parents to provide excellent child-centered programs that are affordable and accessible seven days a week, and the Ecumenical Storehouse, an organization that collects, stores and distributes household items to assist people in need with setting up small living quarters.
The Earth Day event also was another step toward normalcy for employees after the pandemic.
“Earth Day was a huge success for us, not just for the good we did for the environment and our community but also for our efforts for employee engagement and outreach,” said ES&H Director Mark Berkheimer. “With a large number of new employees, as well as the fact that a large number of our employees had not been onsite in a while, we wanted to give them an opportunity to get together and hopefully begin to rebuild some of the community and connectedness we may have lost over the last couple of years from working from home during the pandemic.”
ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 150 colleges and universities, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).