Courtesy of Finger Lakes ReUse's Facebook page

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Ithaca, N.Y. — The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named Finger Lakes ReUse (ReUse) as a recipient of its 2015 Environmental Champion Award. ReUse was nominated for this award, the highest honor presented to the public by EPA, by Tompkins County Solid Waste Manager Barbara Eckstrom, in recognition of its accomplishments in transforming waste into jobs and job skills training opportunities for the community.

“Finger Lakes ReUse has not only had great success locally but is becoming a reuse model for other communities in New York State and the United States,” Eckstrom wrote in her nomination on February 17.

US EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, along with NYC Councilman Donovan Richards, Jr.,presented the award to Diane Cohen, Jackie Doherty, and Barbara Eckstrom, who accepted the award on behalf of ReUse on April 24, 2015, at its Region 2 offices in New York City. Region 2 includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Environmental Champion Award recipients come from various sectors including businesses, government, non-profit, environmental, and community groups, individual citizens, and educators.

“Environmental protection is something that no one person or group can do alone,” said Enck in January, when announcing the award nomination process in January. “We need to foster an environmental ethic in corporate board rooms, in city halls, and in neighborhoods across the country—and that’s the kind of work our Environmental Champion Award recipients do.”

Courtesy of Finger Lakes ReUse's Facebook page
Courtesy of Finger Lakes ReUse’s Facebook page
Courtesy of Finger Lakes ReUse’s Facebook page

ReUse’s nomination was endorsed by many community members and collaborators, including Tompkins County Solid Waste Manager Barbara Eckstrom, City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, Hudson Valley Regional Council Deputy Executive Director Rich Schiafo, City of Buffalo Recycling Coordinator Susan C. Attridge, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County Recycling and Solid Waste Educator Sayre Stevens, Reuse Institute CEO MaryEllen Etienne, and Building Materials Reuse Association Executive Director Anne Nicklin.

“It was an honor to share the stage with the other awardees including the Wild Center in the Adirondacks, NYSAR3’s Re-Clothe NY campaign, the Brooklyn Grange Farm, and Green City Force, all doing such important work throughout the region…together I think we are making a real difference,” said Cohen.

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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.