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NSA wins EPA Environmental Excellence Award

On September 16, 2009, NSA was formally recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its accomplishments in the area of recycling! And, the agency continues its commitment to protecting the environment.

The annual Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 3, Environmental Achievement Awards program recognizes individuals and organizations who are making significant contributions to improving the environment in the mid-Atlantic region. Awards are given to those who demonstrate significant sustained, measurable, and replicable environmental results for their activities, thereby reducing pollution and protecting environmental health.

Through the partnership of the Occupational Health Environmental and Safety Services (OHESS) organization, the Installations and Logistics organization (I&L), and the general workforce, more than 7.5 million pounds (3,775 tons) of materials were diverted from landfills and recycled by the National Security Agency's Fort George G. Meade campus during the 2014 calendar year. There are four broad classes of sources for the recycled material from NSA: Facilities-Related materials, Automated Data Processing Equipment (ADPE), Universal Wastes, and Employee-Derived Materials.

Facility Related Materials:

The facilities-related recycled materials category contains a large amount of recyclables at 1,080 tons. Most of the facilities-related recyclables are derived from rehabilitation and construction projects. Materials that were recycled in this category in 2014 were:

Material Weight (tons)
Construction Metal 1 026
Ceiling Tiles 54

Employee Derived Materials

Another recycling stream generated at NSA is derived from the employee activities. NSA has a robust, "Self-Help" in-office recycling program for plastic bottles, paper, newspapers, and aluminum cans. All offices are provided with collection bins and trash bags. The employees simply fill the bins and volunteer to periodically carry the accumulated materials to a centrally located collection area. Through this program, NSA employees recycled 1,709 tons of materials in this category 2008:

Material Weight (tons)
Paper 1 213
Bottles & Cans 160
Toner Cartridges 25

Automated Data Processing Equipment

At NSA, 898 tons of ADPE material and 192 tons of electronic equipment were de-classified and then recycled in 2014.

Universal Waste

Nearly 92 tons of universal wastes were recycled in 2014. For years, these materials were considered hazardous waste and they were disposed of instead of recycled. Now the recycling of these materials, instead of disposing as hazardous waste, has reduced our disposal costs and saved the government from hazardous waste handling fees.

Material Weight (tons)
Light Bulbs 8
Lead Acid Batteries 65
Used oil 13
Miscellaneous Batteries 6

The above mentioned agency wide efforts represent a concerted effort on the part of environmental specialists, engineers, and facility managers to create a green campus. We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to building on our successes in the coming years.

NSA's Qualified Recycling Program Funds Innovative Technologies

Proceeds from our recycling activities are returned to the Agency's Qualified Recycling Program. The money is used to improve and encourage future recycling activities, to support pollution prevention initiatives, and to fund morale, welfare, and recreation activities that benefit the entire workforce. Some of the new initiatives approved by the NSA Recycling Committee include:

  • Electric cars for the government fleet
  • Installation of power stations for electric vehicles
  • Creation of a dedicated specialized recycling material processing area
  • Postage for holiday care packages for NSA family overseas
  • All-terrain Segways for Security patrolling
  • Hand sanitizing dispensers
  • Picnic tables made from recycled plastic