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Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimization 

Our Pollution Prevention program is an essential element of our mission and represents our commitment to keeping waste reduction an integral part of the Laboratory's approach to all of its work.

The goal of our award-winning Pollution Prevention program is to integrate pollution prevention and waste minimization, resource conservation, recycling, and affirmative procurement into all aspects of our planning and decision-making processes. The program applies to all Laboratory employees, contractors, visitors, and guests.

Pollution prevention activities, recycling programs, and conservation initiatives have significantly reduced our waste volume and management costs. In 2017, these efforts resulted in over one million in savings and approximately 10.6 million pounds of materials being reduced, reused, or recycled.

Brookhaven Lab recycles 95% of construction, demolition, and woody materials which are transported to an off-site facility where they are sorted and recycled. Concrete and stone/brick demolition debris is stored on-site and then converted to recycled concrete aggregate, which the Lab uses on firebreaks or as an underlayment for parking areas.

Through our solid waste recycling program, we collected 84 tons of office paper during 2017. Cardboard, bottles and cans, motor oil, scrap metals, lead, automotive batteries, electronic scrap, fluorescent light bulbs, and machining coolant are also recycled.

concrete aggregate

Concrete aggregate (Photo: Bill Bradley)

Use of recycled concrete aggregate material helped us achieve LEED certification for four of the Laboratory's newest buildings

Tracking Waste Reduction

Brookhaven Lab arranges for removal of hazardous waste materials using procedures that help prevent spills, discharge into wastewater and evaporation into the atmosphere. Our waste handling program is designed to protect human health and the environment by reducing the potential for accidents and improper disposal. We limit the use of hazardous materials by choosing non-hazardous substitutes whenever possible.

Pollution Prevention/Waste Minimization Awards

These awards, based on rigorous assessment of our performance by external government, public, and private organizations, are one way that Brookhaven Lab measures success in the pursuit of sustainable operations.

  • Green Electronics Council EPEAT Purchaser Award for “Excellence in procurement of sustainable electronics” (2017)
  • U.S. Department of Energy Gold GreenBuy Award for sustainable acquisition practices (2017)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Green Challenge Award for “Leadership” (2016)
  • U.S. Department of Energy Sustainability Award for the Utility Energy Services Contract (2016)
  • U.S. EPA Federal Green Challenge Award for “Transportation” (2015)
  • U.S. EPA Federal Green Challenge National Award for “Revamping the e-pro system to increase choice of sustainable office products” (2014)
  • U.S. EPA Federal Green Challenge Regional Award for “Improvements in waste, transportation” (2014)
  • U.S. EPA Federal Green Challenge Regional Award for “Improvements in Purchasing” (2013)
  • U.S. Department of Energy Silver GreenBuy Award for sustainable acquisition practices (2012)
  • U.S. EPA Federal Green Challenge Award – Silver (2012)
  • U.S. EPA Federal Green Challenge Award – Bronze (2011)
  • U.S. EPA National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Award for “Commitment to reduce priority chemicals through the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities” (2010)
  • U.S. EPA National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Award for “Total nitrogen reduction at Brookhaven’s Sewage Treatment Plant using cafeteria wastes” (2009)
  • Office of the Federal Environmental Executive Silver GreenGov Award for “Electronics recycling” (2009)
  • U.S. Department of Energy ESTAR Environmental Sustainability Award for "Total nitrogen reduction at Brookhaven’s Sewage Treatment Plant" (2009)