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Members of the U-46 Business Services Department Nominated for Sustainability Award

March 15, 2019

Five members of the U-46 Business Services department will be recognized this week for their efforts to develop a more sustainable community. Bruce Phelps, Senior Business Official of Business Services; Mark Villaros, Document Control Specialist; Scott Winter, Senior Buyer; Karen Bhatia, Asset Management Coordinator; and Justin Farrell, Assistant Buyer and Distribution Center Manager, were nominated to represent U-46 Business Services at the 2019 Elgin Sustainability Awards ceremony. The Elgin Sustainability Award recognizes individuals, businesses, organizations and educational programs through the Sustainable Honor Roll for their efforts in helping Elgin reduce waste.

Recipients of the award are nominated by members of the community. This year there are 10 nominees, including the team from U-46. Debbie McMullen, U-46 Science Coordinator, submitted the nomination for the U-46 Business Services members because of their dedication to reducing the amount of materials sent to landfills as well as saving the District money.

“The Business Services team is very intentional when developing practices to focus on cost savings, reducing resource use, and then recycling everything they are able,” McMullen said. U-46 Business Services supports McMullen as she oversees the distribution of school science resources and supplies, and she said she has been impressed with the department’s work over the years.

To reduce waste and lower costs, the Business Services department handles scrap materials carefully, and have trained their team to distinguish what items can be recycled and what should be sent to the landfill. By reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills, the team maximizes the life cycle of each product, and reduces costs to the District. The team has also paired up with the Science Department to organize the first ever “Science Supply Market” which will allow teachers to browse through recycled and unused supplies at the Distribution Center at the end of the school year. The supplies they select will then be shipped to their schools.  

The Sustainability Honor Roll was brought about to recognize those within the community who help Elgin achieve the goals of the Sustainability Action Plan, which was adopted in 2011 by the Elgin City Council. The purpose of the plan is to “Improve the quality of life for Elgin citizens to improve its local environment, while making Elgin a more viable and vibrant place to live." There are 108 objectives outlined in the plan, which focus on education, policy recommendations, incentive programs and ordinance adoption.

From 2015 to 2018, the Sustainability Honor Roll award was given out biannually. This year, the Sustainability Commission is hosting the first annual Elgin Sustainability Awards ceremony. The awards ceremony, also called the Susteys, will honor those nominated for the award, and the Sustainability Commission will choose one entity to win a spot on the Sustainability Honor Roll.

Phelps, Winter, Villaros, Bhatia, and Farrell will be recognized for their nomination at the awards ceremony on May 16, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. The ceremony takes place at Elgin Community College (ECC), 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin. For more information about the ceremony, click here.