Winners of 25th County ‘Recycling Achievement Awards’ Honored (2024)

Winners of 25th County ‘Recycling Achievement Awards’ Honored (1)

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on May 22 honored the winners of the County’s 25th Annual “Recycling Achievement Awards” for outstanding achievements in waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

DEP Director Jon Monger led the ceremonies at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Awards recognized individuals, teams, multi-family properties, schools, places of worship, businesses, organizations and government facilities.

The awards were presented during the County’s celebration of Recycling Awareness Week. Recipients were recognized for their efforts to help the County reach its goals of reducing waste and recycling more, aiming for Zero Waste.

"Montgomery County has been celebrating its Recycling Awareness Week since 1999, shining a spotlight on the hard work and dedication of our businesses, government agencies, multi-family properties, and individuals," said County Executive Marc Elrich. "Every year, the list of awardees grows to include more recipients who understand the importance of waste reduction and recycling. I appreciate the awardees for taking action to help us reach our goals as we strive for Zero Waste."

DEP Director Monger said the award recipients demonstrate how all community members can contribute in many ways.

"This week, we recognize the outstanding efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations who are not only talking about recycling, but also taking action," said DEP Director Monger. "I congratulate each of our award recipients and thank all of them for dedicating their time and efforts to Montgomery County’s recycling program. Their contributions are helping us work toward our ambitious goal of reduced waste and increased recycling as we strive for zero waste."

The awardees were honored for their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle right. Each recipient is a model for all residents, multi-family properties and businesses to follow and replicate.

A summary of the 2024 Recycling Achievement Award winners:

Multi-Family Property – Excellence in Janitorial Crew Performance. Awarded to a multi-family janitorial crew member who has consistently gone the extra mile to keep trash and recycling areas in excellent condition to encourage residents to recycle more in a safe and welcoming environment.

  • Manuela Moya, Aurora Condominium. Manuela Moya ensures the 22 trash rooms and the hallways at Aurora Condominium are spotless. Residents consistently express appreciation for the high standard of cleanliness and organization in these areas through online reviews, contributing to an overall pleasant living environment. Furthermore, Manuela has played a pivotal role in the establishment and implementation of the food scraps recycling program at Aurora Condominium.

Multi-Family Property – Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling. Awarded to multi-family properties that have adopted exemplary efforts to develop, expand or enhance their waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs aiming for Zero Waste.

  • Fairchild Apartments. Property Manager Weston Henry and his team are dedicated to keeping residents informed and promoting proper recycling. The trash and recycling area at Fairchild Apartments is well-maintained, tidy, and clearly labeled. Weston is proactive about providing ample recycling bins and materials to residents as they move in. Fairchild Apartments achieved an impressive recycling rate of 80.6 percent in 2023.
  • Georgetown Village Condominium. Georgetown Village Condominium has been using plastic bag recycling collection boxes in each trash and recycling room for more than two years. This initiative has significantly reduced plastic bag contamination in mixed paper and commingled recycling containers. To prevent fire hazards caused by improper battery disposal, the property has added a battery recycling collection container in each trash and recycling room.
  • Hampden Square Condominium. Led by Facility Lead Engineer Russell Hoes Sr., the community has embraced proactive recycling. Russell's initiative in recycling batteries, key fobs and old cell phones showcases responsible recycling. Additionally, resident Pam Shroeder's dedication to setting up plastic bag recycling and transporting them to a local grocery store demonstrates the impact of individual efforts. The property's annual paper shredding event recycled 700 pounds of paper in 2023.
  • Old Georgetown Village Condominium. The management and residents collaborate with the TRRAC Program to run a successful recycling program. They recently surveyed interest in a food scraps recycling program and are planning an educational campaign to promote recycling.
  • Triangle Towers. Triangle Towers has implemented initiatives to minimize its ecological footprint, including installing a Planet Aid bin for clothes and shoes donation, shuttling books from the onsite library for reuse and achieving tangible recycling milestones. This includes the responsible recycling of 200 pounds of carpet, 75 pounds of batteries and eight pounds of toner cartridges and printer ink cartridges.
  • University Gardens I and II. University Gardens I and II has recycled 3,200 pounds of construction materials, 85 pounds of toner cartridges and printer ink cartridges, five pounds of batteries and 40 boxes of incandescent light bulbs, all replaced with energy-efficient alternatives like LED bulbs.
  • Wheaton House Apartments. The dedicated team at Wheaton House Apartments is committed to ensuring the proper execution of recycling measures while also prioritizing dissemination of accurate recycling information to all residents. In the interest of enhancing accessibility, the property consistently procures bilingual recycling materials to facilitate dissemination of recycling information in residents' native languages.

Multi-Family Property – Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling Management. Awarded to property managers or staff at multi-family properties that have gone above and beyond to develop, expand or enhance waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs aiming for Zero Waste. These individuals help maintain the quality of life in their multi-family communities, working diligently to engage others to actively participate in their waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts.

  • Property Manager: Lourdes Benavides, The Palisades of Bethesda. Lourdes Benavides was honored for her exceptional leadership in recycling and donation initiatives. Instead of allowing usable items such as food, clothes, shoes, toys, rugs and dishes to go to waste, Lourdes ensures they are redirected to her church, where they serve new purposes. In 2023, The Palisades of Bethesda achieved an impressive recycling rate of 64.0 percent.
  • Property Manager: Reena Vohra, Americana Centre Condominium. Property Manager Vohra regularly communicates with residents about recycling best practices through weekly emails. These emails include information about battery hazards, recycling articles and a recycling quiz. Reena has also expanded the recycling program to include battery, printer ink cartridge and light bulb recycling at two locations on the property.

Business – Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling. Awarded to businesses that have undertaken exemplary efforts to develop, expand or enhance their waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs, striving to reduce waste and recycle more while aiming for Zero Waste.

  • Brookfield Properties. Brookfield Properties has significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and electricity usage over the past eight years. In Montgomery County, it is working toward a zero-waste goal by providing food scraps recycling services to all tenants and organizing annual electronics recycling events. There is collaboration with Waste Reduction and Recycling staff to integrate zero waste programs into their daily operations.
  • DAVIS Construction. At DAVIS Construction, environmental consciousness is evident in its Rockville headquarters. It has introduced food scrap composting and replaced disposable items with certified compostable products. During the office remodel, it recycled various materials, diverting tons of waste.

Grace Episcopal Day School. The staff and students have cultivated a thriving green community. Each classroom has dedicated students who are experts in recycling, leading their peers to reduce waste and recycle properly. The school has a successful composting program, and students use the compost to fertilize the campus garden. Evidence of reuse projects and community cleanups can be seen throughout the school.

  • JLG-RICA Rockville, John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents. The facility serves young people with severe emotional and behavioral challenges. Despite these daily challenges the faculty, staff and students actively recycle electronics, toner cartridges, pallets and batteries. The facility also collects clothing donations through the Cash for Clothes program to earn points for educational items. Students participate in a Garden Program to learn about recycling, gardening, and composting.
  • Montgomery College, Takoma Park Campus. Recycling is a fundamental part of the institution's culture. Staff members regularly assess materials for recycling potential, resulting in more than 60 percent waste diversion. In 2023, the college diverted more than two tons of food scraps to a composting facility in its first year of participating in a food scrap composting program.
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. The Olney school excels in waste reduction and recycling efforts. In addition to mandatory recycling, it voluntarily recycles batteries, wood pallets, motor oil and ink cartridges. It has implemented a food scraps recycling program to minimize waste. The commitment positions the school as an exemplary proponent of zero waste initiatives.
  • Pass with Purpose. The nonprofit organization founded in 2022 by sisters Sydney and Ashley Mednik is affiliated with the Bethesda Soccer Club. The organization collects gently used soccer uniforms from club families and distributes them to children in remote villages in Zambia through the Peace Corps. It has sent five shipments containing approximately 1,000 jerseys, shorts, socks, warm-ups, sweatshirts and backpacks to children in Zambia and Saint Maarten, providing high-quality uniforms and preventing textile waste.

Business – Waste Reduction and Recycling Champions. Awarded to individuals who made a positive difference in their workplace to keep land, air, and water clean. These individuals go above and beyond to maintain a healthy environment in their workplace, working diligently to engage others to actively participate in their waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts.

  • Lauren Dworkin, Bender JCC of Greater Washington. She was recognized as a Montgomery County Recycling Champion for her efforts to increase waste diversion at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. She ensures staff are trained on recycling regulations and strategically places bins for easy waste diversion. Lauren is always looking for new ways to increase the waste diversion rate for the Bender JCC.
  • Mary C. Schirf, Sheppard Pratt. At the Rockville school, she is highly regarded for encouraging peers and students to engage in daily recycling practices. Her commitment is evidenced by efforts to overhaul the recycling program through the introduction of centralized collection bins and the addition of desk-side bins. Kent Zhang, Thomas S.Wootton High School. A sophom*ore at the Rockville school, he has led efforts to expand tennis ball recycling in Montgomery County. Partnering with RecycleBalls, he established 13 collection sites, involving 80 volunteers and recycling more than 60,000 tennis balls. Kent's initiative has been instrumental in promoting environmental awareness and waste reduction .

Commercial Recycling Partnerships. Awarded to commercial food scraps recycling partners who have significantly increased their recycling achievement by separating pre-consumer food scraps from the waste stream and recycling them through participation in the Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program.

  • Clarksburg Premium Outlets
  • Congregation Har Shalom
  • Montgomery College, Takoma Park Campus

Recycling Volunteers. Awarded to volunteers who have dedicated substantial time and effort to support the County’s waste reduction, reuse and recycling initiatives by actively participating in recycling education programs, outreach events and behind the scenes work necessary to promote recycling in the community. These individuals share their enthusiasm and commitment to recycling by promoting and inspiring their peers to recycle more and recycle right and contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.

Adult Volunteer:

  • Bernice Addo

Youth Volunteers:

  • Jared Addo
  • Ashley Wan
  • Ella Wan
  • Sophia Wan

Outstanding Waste Reduction and Recycling Champion

Awarded to an individual who embodies the constant mission to enhance and improve Montgomery County’s initiatives to reduce waste, encourage reuse and increase recycling, working to preserve valuable natural resources and keep the County’s land, air and water clean and green.

  • Alan Pultyniewicz. In a career dedicated to integrated waste management, he has made numerous contributions to waste reduction, reuse and recycling over the last 24 years. He works to expand collection services and recycling initiatives on behalf of the residents of single-family homes in Montgomery County.

A complete listing of the awardees and details about their recycling efforts can be found on the Montgomery County Recycling Achievement Recognition Awards webpage.

Winners of 25th County ‘Recycling Achievement Awards’ Honored (2024)
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