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Meridian Village nets 2015 ICAA Innovators Green Award

Meridian Village nets 2015 ICAA Innovators Green Award

Award recognizes organization’s environmental wellness efforts
[Vancouver, BC. December 18, 2015] — The International Council on Active Aging® announces that Meridian Village, a Lutheran Senior Services community in Glen Carbon, Illinois, has won the 2015 Innovators Green Award. A professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, ICAA presents its annual Innovators Awards to those in the industry who are leading the way, setting new standards, and making a difference in the lives of older adults. The Green Award category honors organizations for innovative environmental-wellness efforts. Meridian Village garnered the award for recycling initiatives that include a table-to-garden approach.

Innovator Award logo-2015 According to Meridian Village’s executive director, Colleen Bottens, the community has implemented three recycling initiatives since September 2014. First, single-stream recycling reduces sorting efforts by residents, who place recyclables in one bin. This initiative has increased participation in recycling and led to more items being recycled—a full 56,854 lbs. of recyclables between September 2014 and September 2015. Efforts to replace Styrofoam with reusable and biodegradable containers are succeeding. Bottens notes that residents continually bring reusable containers to meals to use for leftovers, which helps to minimize the number of biodegradable containers that dining services uses for food take-away and delivery. Finally, a table-to-garden recycling process completes the table-to-food waste-to-compost-to-garden-to-table circle. The community’s garden plan includes organic composting and a worm farm. The restaurant kitchen provides vegetable waste for the worm farm and garden composting, while the garden in turn provides herbs, fruits and vegetables for the kitchen and residents. Food grown in the garden is used in residents’ meals. Various efforts to implement and continue recycling initiatives have involved Meridian Village’s residents, Recycling Committee, recreation coordinator, and dining services director and staff.

“Many residents at Meridian Village are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint,” comments Bottens. She attributes the success of the community’s recycling initiatives to making programs high priority and easy to do or use. “We have a resident-led Recycling Committee leading our efforts. The residents selected a single-stream recycling method as well as chose easy and convenient drop-off locations within our building for recyclable items,” she says. “It has been really amazing to watch the momentum build and new ideas on how to get even ‘greener’ grow.”

“The environments in which people live are among the main determinants of health and well-being,” says ICAA Founder and CEO Colin Milner “The environmental dimension — one of seven wellness dimensions that ICAA promotes — encompasses both built and natural environments. Support for environmental wellness includes everything from using eco-friendly products/processes or ‘green’ building materials/practices, which protect the natural world and create healthier living spaces; to participating in nature-based programs and activities; to spending time in outdoor settings.”

Milner continues, “Meridian Village embraces environmental wellness with a trio of initiatives that engage residents and staff in the ‘3 Rs’ of conservation: reduce, reuse, recycle. Residents not only participate in these efforts,” he states, “but they also instigated community initiatives with requests to reduce the use of Styrofoam and create a garden for composting waste.” On behalf of ICAA, Milner congratulates Meridian Village for winning this year’s Innovators Green Award and applauds everyone’s efforts.

As the Green Award recipient, Meridian Village received a crystal award of recognition, along with a free pass to the ICAA Conference, held November 19-21 in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition, ICAA’s Journal on Active Aging® will publish a profile on the organization and its recycling initiatives in a special developer’s issue next year.

Read the full press release

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