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EPA Recognizes James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, PA

 for Conserving Resources and Promoting Efficiency 

PHILADELPHIA (June, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized federal facilities today including the James E. Van Zandt Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, for practical cost-effective measures to conserve money and resources as part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). The challenge is a national effort under the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program which encourages federal agencies to reduce the federal government’s environmental impact.

The Department of Veterans Affairs James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center won the award for reducing waste by composting over 338 tons of material related to a stormwater retention swale and Victory Garden renovation.

“Federal agencies need to lead by example in reducing environmental impacts,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “What these agencies do, not only benefits the environment, but it saved taxpayers an estimated $36.1 million across the federal government last year.  The award to the Van Zandt VA hospital is a great example of how responsible organizations seek opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources and reduce costs.” 

In fiscal year 2019 (FY19), FGC participants reduced their environmental impact throughout the waste stream, including:

  • Sending nearly 180 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers.
  • Diverting more than 600,000 tons of waste from landfills.
  • Adding nearly 5,000 electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles to their fleets.
  • Recycling 180 million gallons of water.

Other FY19 Federal Green Challenge awardees include:

Electronics:

  • Department of Energy, Western Laboratory, Pleasanton, Calif., increased electronics recycled through a 3rd party certified recycler or donated to colleges/universities by 92.9 percent.
  • Department of Defense, Massachusetts (Barnes) Air National Guard, 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts purchased 336 units of EPEAT certified Gold Level registered equipment, a 34 percent increase while diverting 2,619 lbs. of electronic waste from municipal solid waste.

    Purchasing:  

  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Minneapolis, Minn., purchased 31 percent less paper FY19.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Manchester Medical Center, Manchester, N.H., achieved a 6.6 percent (1,980 pound) reduction in copy paper use through default duplexing and enabling electronic meeting capabilities.

    Water:

  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Minneapolis, Minn., reduced its landscaping irrigation water usage by over one million gallons in FY19.

    Transportation:

  • Department of Veterans Affairs, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, North Little Rock, Ark., reduced its internal combustion engine vehicles from 100 in 2018 to 11 in 2019, resulting in an 89 percent improvement. 
  • Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Ill., instituted a telework policy that decreased the number of commuting miles traveled by 69 percent.

For more information on the Federal Green Challenge and this year’s winners, visit www.epa.gov/fgc.

For more information on the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, visit https://www.epa.gov/smm

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