Alaska Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, Alaska
Point of Contact
The USGS Alaska Science Center (ASC) team is part of the Anchorage, Alaska
"U-Med Green District" and has succeeded in reducing their environmental footprint by implementing policies of waste reduction, green purchasing, re-use of materials and recycling. The ASC team upholds the stringent standards of Green Star Inc., a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping organizations reduce their environmental impact, and has achieved the prestigious Green Star Award. The Alaska Science Center has also implemented an environmental management system (EMS) based on the ISO 14001:2004 standard as a way of demonstrating environmental leadership, commitment to continual improvement and environmental responsibility.
The ASC team has achieved its Green Star Award (notification attached) from the non-profit Green Star, Inc. an organization promoting environmental responsibility (http://www.greenstarinc.org/). The stringent multi-tiered standards that must be implemented in order to achieve this award include waste reduction, conservation, green purchasing, education and outreach.
A public Environmental Management Plan has been initiated and has been endorsed by senior ASC management (attached). The policy sets forth the environmental commitments of the facility, which cover all aspects and activities within the defined environmental management system boundary as required by the ISO 14001 standard.
In a cooperative agreement to reduce waste, the ASC obtains cups, flatware, plates and bowls from the Alaska Pacific University, rather than purchasing disposable items for one-time use during luncheon and special Center events. In addition, USGS employees are encouraged to use in-house dishes at other times.
A laboratory team was formed with representatives from Center science staff to assess chemical needs and coordinated ordering of new supplies. This has resulted in less duplication of orders by various users of the same chemicals.
In the mid 1990's,the USGS-ASCtook an early lead in recycling in the U-Med District by establishing a bi-weekly pick-up service. This recycling service takes mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and plastic bottles. All toner cartridges are returned to manufacturers for reuse/recycling. Computer monitors, CF bulbs and other hazardous electronics are picked up by electronic recycling services. Metal items such as dented desks, chair legs, leftover construction items, etc., are periodically taken by staff to a metal recycling company. Staff also brings non-alkaline batteries (NiCad, Ni-Metal Hydroxide, lead-acid, etc.) to one of two local battery recyclers.
An internal-use website has been created, which lists excess furniture and other items available for re-use within the Center. Unwanted but still-useable items such as shelving or excess furniture are donated to schools and charities such as the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.
Education & Outreach
A monthly newsletter highlighting Green Star news, helpful hints, tips and recommendations is sent out to the Alaska Science Center. Information of a more time-critical nature, such as special recycling events and short-lived material drop-offs is passed along to Center staff immediately through emails and if timely, management team meetings.