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November 30, 2018

DEP announces Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards for 2018

Gov. Paul R. LePage and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday the 2018 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence will be presented to three recipients. The awards, which are administered by the Maine DEP, recognize businesses, public entities and individuals for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve Maine's environment.

"Maine's environment is part of what makes our state special," LePage said in a news release. "We need economic growth that is sustainable and that balances our need for prosperity with our need for a clean environment. The employers highlighted by these awards exemplify how to achieve that balance. I congratulate them for all they do for their clients, their employees, our environment and the state."

Acting DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim said this year's honorees "provide examples of innovation, sustainability and stewardship for Maine businesses, organizations and citizens to emulate."

Here are this year's recipients of the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence:

Sustainability award: Molnlycke, Wiscasset

Molnlycke manufactures medical hydrophilic polyurethane foam products at its Wiscasset facility. One of these products is an innovative foam containing silver that is used to make life-saving antimicrobial dressings used for burns and infected wounds.

During the manufacturing process, hazardous waste scrap foam (containing silver) and hazardous wastewater (containing residual quantities of silver) are generated. The foam scraps have been sent to a reclamation facility for recycling since 2009. Building on that initiative, MoInlycke started researching alternatives for recycling the silver in its liquid waste and engineered a process that precipitated the majority of silver out of the wastewater, sinking it to the bottom of the tank.

Wastewater from the top of the tank is directed through silver recovery units to filter the remaining residual amounts of silver from the wastewater. The silver-containing sludge is removed from the bottom of the tank, and sent to recycling facilities that reclaim the silver for reuse as a precious metal. This project has eliminated the need to ship numerous 55-gallon drums of wastewater offsite as a hazardous waste and can now be safely treated onsite.

Stewardship award: Maine State Prison, Warren

Maine State Prison introduced this past year a large-scale sustainable recycling and composting program. Prior to this initiative, all organics and unsorted trash were dumped into a container and hauled to the local transfer station. All the compostable bi-product generated by the 3,200 daily meals prepared at the prison was being wasted. This process neglected to capture valuable organic materials and other recyclable products.

Partnering with others, the prison transformed a small scale, struggling effort in composting to the current system that composts 600,000 pounds of organics annually. In addition to the compost and recycling program, the prison launched sustainable agricultural program that produces 12,000 of vegetables from three acres of previously unused land. This produce is utilized in the inmate dining facility and 1,000 pounds have been donated to the area food pantry.

In 2018, the Maine State Prison generated 47,000, 35-gallon bags of waste. Once sorted by inmates who were educated as to the proper sorting and handling of this material, that was reduced to only 4,700 bags of non-recyclable material.

To date, the prison has recycled more than 170,000 pounds of non-organic materials and approximately 80,000 pounds of cardboard. The entire program has removed significant amounts of material from the waste stream and saved the state prison $100,000 in waste management annually.

Innovation award: Inland Technologies International, South Portland

In 2009, the Portland International Jetport partnered with Inland Technologies International to assist with refining the jetport's environmental management systems, focusing on winter operations and stormwater quality management.

Portland International Jetport tasked Inland Technologies with the development of an on-site glycol recycling facility. The objective was to collect effluent down to the 1% glycol contamination level and process it to produce a 50% glycol product.

Inland Technologies produced a 50% "raw-grade" material and discharged "clean water" generated in the process to a local wastewater treatment facility. In time, it became clear that there was an opportunity to further refine the raw-grade glycol product into a higher-grade glycol that could be used throughout the region.

Inland Technologies developed an industrial process to refine the 50% concentrate to a "virgin-quality" glycol product on-site at the Portland International Jetport. In 2015, a permanent facility was built to refine and produce a high-grade glycol product.

The Portland Jetport announced that for the 2017-18 winter season, Type I ADF was manufactured onsite from 100% reclaimed glycols. The glycol recycling program has delivered positive environmental outcomes and generated reusable glycol products for use by the airlines in the region.

In the coming weeks, Acting DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim will be conducting site visits at these establishments to make the award presentations.

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