Better Futures Minnesota, project partners win 2017 Environmental Initiative Award for sustainability efforts

Annual Awards program celebrates businesses, community organizations, and governments who achieve sustainability outcomes through partnership

(Minneapolis, MN)– Nonprofit Better Futures Minnesota, along with many of their partners, are being honored on May 25 at the 25th Anniversary Environmental Initiative Awards for their work to increase the amount of materials being reused or recycled in construction and demolition waste.

Through their work, in 2016 alone they diverted over 1570 tons of waste from construction projects that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.

Reusing and recycling construction and demolition materials not only has a positive impact on the amount of waste in our landfills, but also reduces emissions from those landfills. Last year, they estimate that they avoided 750 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“In just two years of consistently gathering research, we’ve been able to quantify the environmental impact of deconstruction—reusing and recycling building materials—compared to the common practice of demolishing a building and sending the materials to a landfill.  The results are phenomenal. Reduction of Greenhouse Gases, creation of jobs, and a boost to the local economy are all benefits from this new and innovative technique,” said Thomas Adams, Better Futures president and CEO.

The organization, which works to provide jobs, training and resources to men who have had a history of incarceration, homelessness, poverty, and untreated mental and physical health challenges, worked with project partners like the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the State of Minnesota’s Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, ReUSE Minnesota, Ectone Partners and more to develop best practices for their workforce to reuse and recycle materials.

“This business model exemplifies the triple bottom line, which is something every organization should strive toward,” said Mike Harley, Executive Director of Environmental Initiative. “The co-benefits that come to life in this project—improving air quality, helping our neighbors, and creating a profitable business—could have only been achieved with a diverse group of perspectives coming together.”

In Minnesota, more than 80 percent of the 1.6 million tons of construction and demolition waste was landfilled in 2013, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Through deconstruction, Better Futures Minnesota can recycle and reuse at least 85 percent of materials.

In honor of Environmental Initiative’s 25th Anniversary, four organizational and two individual awards will be presented on May 25, 2017 at the Nicollet Island Pavilion.

About the Environmental Initiative Awards

Environmental Initiative is a nonprofit organization that builds partnerships with business, government and nonprofit leaders to develop collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems. The organization has honored collaborative environmental projects through their annual awards program since 1994.

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