CMU wins two awards in sustainability from EPA

Teresa Homsi and Eric Urbaniak pose by their office, Feb. 1 in the Dow Science Building.

Central Michigan University received two awards from the Environmental Protection Agency for its sustainability efforts over the past two years.

The EPA announced its 2020 and 2021 award winners earlier this week.

"I think it's promoting a more sustainable community at CMU and kind of compelling people to believe that sustainability is a cause worth pursuing or supporting," co-director of Central Sustainability, Eric Urbaniak said.

2020 EPA WasteWise National Data Partner of the Year

This award was in recognition of the university's waste diversion and sustainability efforts in 2019. Prior to COVID-19, CMU had a waste diversion rate of around 40%. When COVID-19 hit, the rate dropped to the high 20s. CMU has worked hard to get the diversion rate back up, and it is now at 38%. 

Central Sustainability and Facilities Management collected that data.

"CMU’s waste reduction efforts are largely defined by zero waste kitchens and cafeterias that diverted 331.02 tons of organic material from landfills in 2019. In the same year, CMU recycled 417.54 tons of paper and plastic and 69.18 tons of metal," according to an overview on the EPA's website. 

2021 EPA WasteWise National Narrative Award for Sustainability Public Education

For its outreach and education efforts in 2020, CMU received the WasteWise National Narrative award for sustainability public education.

This award is based on efforts to educate and engage students on sustainability. The award  was based on the work Central Sustainability had done in 2021 including sustainability walking tours, an Earth Week conference, educational videos and collaborations with the CMU community. 

"I hope that CMU continues to support Central Sustainability and continues to work to build the foundation for sustainability initiatives at CMU," Urbaniak said.