2022 Zero Waste Champions Of The Year Announced



Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division and the Environmental Sustainability Board announce the winners of the Los Alamos County 2022 Zero Waste Champion of the Year awards.

Each spring the County presents the Zero Waste Champion of the Year awards to promote environmental sustainability and zero waste in the community, as well as to encourage more local businesses and schools to participate. To become eligible, organizations must be nominated by a member of the community for contributing to sustainability, recycling and waste reduction.

The nomination period opened April 20 and closed May 16. Once nominated, organizations are required to submit a brief overview of how they recycle, reduce waste, conserve energy or water, and contribute to environmental sustainability.

This year’s categories include Schools, Non-Profit Businesses, Small Businesses (<200 employees), Large Businesses (>200 employees) and Restaurants.

The Environmental Services Division and Environmental Sustainability Board announce the four winners in each category and how they contributed to environmental sustainability in the community.

Schools – Los Alamos Middle School Builders Club – Don Casperson, Kiwanis Member

  • K-Kids weekly pledge, which states in part “.. I will show respect towards my environment”. Since many of the Builders Club students were part of a K-Kids club earlier, they are very familiar with this pledge.
  • African Library Project – Collects used books for ages Pre-K through High School. Books are packed in used cardboard cartons for shipping to selected schools in Africa. The project is aided by all Kiwanis-sponsored youth clubs: K-Kids, Builders Club, and Key Club. The project has provided approximately 100 libraries between 1,000-1,200 books each over its history!
  • They provide trash and aluminum collection.
  • Kiwanis members are very proud of all their community-service minded youth clubs in the Los Alamos school system.

Other nominees for this category included: Los Alamos High School Eco Club.

Non-Profits – projectY Cowork Space, Christina McCormick, Community and Marketing Manager

  • Members are encouraged to recycle all materials.
  • Recycle bins are located in visible locations throughout the workspace to make it easy to recycle.
  • Reusable dishes are provided for members meals and snacks; this reduces the amount of waste created.
  • Members are asked and encouraged to use reusable water bottles.
  • By providing a workspace for multiple professionals in one central location our members do not require internet, water, gas, and electricity at home. They can bike to work or ride the bus and are reducing each individuals carbon footprint by combining the use of electricity and water consumption while working at a cowork space.

Other nominees for this category included: Jemez Mountain Night Sky Coalition, Los Alamos County Customer Care, Los Alamos Teen Center and Habitat for Humanity EVLA.

Small Businesses  – Ecolutions, LLC – Antonio Maggiore, Owner

  • As a Permaculture practitioner, the business incorporates all facets of recycle and reuse, everything from old concrete sidewalks are reused as walls in garden designs, to reusing plants dugout from other gardens to repurposing some people’s “trash” such as old doors and windows into cold frames for clients’ gardens. Locally sourced material is used whenever possible to reduce my carbon footprint.
  • Specializing in low water landscape and garden design. We are acutely aware of and impacted by climate change. A lot of time is spent educating clientele about how to help improve the soil in their yards so that they can use less water and have a more vibrant landscape. To prevent erosion, they make sure that water spends as much time on the property as possible before it has a chance to become runoff on the streets. 
  • Consistently educating customers about the benefits and ways they can use both what their landscape produces and also about how best to care for it without pesticides. Additionally, education about reusing materials from customers yards as mulch and compost is taught.
  • Demonstrate and commit to environmental sustainability daily. Permaculture is about working in harmony with nature and using natural systems wherever possible, as such it is integral to the operating of the company that our environmental impact be positive. 
  • In addition to the aforementioned items, we also continue to “guerrilla garden” the side of omega bridge to both beautify and feed the community.

Other nominees for this category included: LA Cooperative Market.

Large Businesses – No Nominations Received

Restaurants – Papa Murphy’s, Gayle Cunningham, Owner

  • Uses 20 percent less plastic wrap than similar volume stores by utilizing the same plastic wrap throughout 2 of the 3 preparation steps.
  • All cardboard is recycled.
  • Only antibiotic free chicken is purchased.
  • Food waste is controlled by maintaining close controls on inventory and never ordering more than is required
  • Our product only requires preparation and is a take and bake operation. Therefore, this limits the consumption of natural gas, electricity and water consumption that our business uses.

Other nominees for this category included: Pig + Fig Cafe.

The Zero Waste Team thanks everyone who nominated these great organizations and businesses, and to the winners for leading by example and contributing to environmental sustainability.


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