Environmental Services Announces Zero Waste Champions Of The Year

Los Alamos County


To promote recycling and zero waste in the community as well as to encourage more businesses to participate in the recycling program, the Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division and the Environmental Sustainability Board sponsored the Zero Waste Champion of the Year award.

This award was previously known as the Business Recycler of the Year Award; however, the award program was expanded to include other sustainability initiatives such as water and energy conservation and overall waste reduction. 

To become eligible, an organization is nominated by a member of the community. The nominees are required to submit a brief overview about how their organization recycled, reduced waste, conserved energy or water and contributed to environmental sustainability.

This year there were five categories: School, Non-Profit Business, Business, Small Business and Restaurants. Here are the five winners in each category and how they contributed to environmental sustainability in our community.

School – Chamisa Elementary School 

  • Hosted a Recycled Art Fair – displaying artwork designed with recyclable materials
  • Hosted district wide Recycle Fashion Show – with two winners going on to win in the Santa Fe Recycle Fair
  • Chamisa has an active Green Team with 50 members from grades 3rd to 6th
  • Host waste free lunches 
  • Won the 2019 Eco Challenge by proactively learning about environmental issues, recycling and reducing waste at home and school

Non-Profit – Del Norte Credit Union 

  • Installed water bottle filling stations to reduce single-use plastic bottles 
  • Maintained recycle bins at all populated facilities
  • Installed electric hand dryers, coreless paper towels and toilet paper in all facilities
  • Purchased reusable water bottles and coffee mugs for employees to encourage the use of reusable materials 
  • Donated furniture to teen centers, schools, libraries
  • Utilizes electronic statements and notices to save paper

Small Business – Zia Waste 

  • Reuses single use plastics for worms and compost to transition to their new home 
  • Sells worm castings and worm tea in upcycled mason jars 
  • Composts food waste using red wriggler worms
  • Provides a neighborhood food collection bin where neighbors can drop off food scraps
  • Reduced Composting reduces carbon dioxide from the ozone and also reduces food waste from the landfill

Business  – Ecolutions LLC – A Landscape Company 

  • Dedicated to diverting trash from the landfill 
  • Supports organic landscapes and does not use glyphosate or neonicotinoids 
  • Aims to “Green the desert, one yard at a time”  
  • Educates customers how to create lush landscapes that can thrive with minimal water
  • Provides a food forest demonstration and shares fresh produce with the community

Restaurant – Sirphey 

  • Provides environmentally preferable packaging that is either fully compostable or produced with sustainable sources (bamboo, sugarcane, etc) or is produced from 100% recycled material 
  • Maintains a strict recycling policy and they work with any local farmers interested in food waste 
  • Instituted an Eco Pledge to manage Sirphey as an ecologically friendly business 
  • Educates customers about how to reduce waste via their social media platforms