Evanston Public Works Department wins award for recycling initiative

Marshall Cohen

Evanston’s Public Works Department was nationally recognized by the American Public Works Association for a recent recycling education and awareness initiative, according to a city news release issued Monday.

Suzette Robinson, director of the city’s Public Works Department, received the Charles Walter Nichols Award for Environmental Excellence during a Jan. 24 luncheon.

“The city receiving these awards is personally gratifying because it is the first time that Evanston’s sanitation employees have been recognized outside of Evanston for the outstanding services they provide the Evanston community,” Robinson said in the news release.

Evanston won the award because of an initiative called Thinking G.R.E.E.N. (Greater Recycling in Every Evanston Neighborhood). The program was launched in May 2011 and was meant to improve recycling education and awareness in the city. It was also meant to show appreciation to stellar recyclers in town.

“It is really huge to have the program be recognized,” Robinson told The Daily on Tuesday.

The main component of the program featured sanitation workers searching the city each month for five residents from each ward with exemplary recycling efforts. In addition, 10 businesses citywide were recognized for exhibiting strong recycling.

Another part of the Thinking G.R.E.E.N. initiative added recycling containers in the business districts and athletic fields. Those receptacles were collected each week, and Robinson said people in town “have been participating responsibly.”

Residents were also encouraged to sign up for a free waste audit.

“We offered to help take a look at their waste stream and show residents how easy it is to recycle,” Robinson said.

Jim Maiworm, the city’s new superintendent of streets and sanitation, said winning the award was “a wonderful thing” for the public works department.

“This is one of the reasons why I came to work in Evanston – to be on the cutting edge of good-quality programs,” Maiworm said.

Robert Pompey, an equipment operator who works for the Public Works Department , also received the Award of Merit during the Jan. 24 luncheon in honor of his work in sanitation and snow removal operations.

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