The City of Summit Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) presented Merck with its Recycler of the Month Award, recognizing the company for its implementation of a food waste composting program as well as its other efforts to increase recycling and reduce energy consumption at its facility in Summit, N.J.

Last September, Merck began the food waste composting program in its Summit cafeterias. Since then, the facility has diverted 15 tons of food waste, collecting on average 200 pounds of food waste daily. Within a month, they implemented a similar program at the Kenilworth, N.J., facility, too.

"We're pleased to be the recipient of the Recycler of the Month Award," Merck's principal environmental engineer, Anu Kunapuli, said. "As a global pharmaceutical company, we believe protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources align with our global healthcare mission."

Merck continuously evaluates its waste streams and has implemented recycling where possible. Other green initiatives include plastic, glass, paper, aluminum and toner cartridge recycling and the implementation of a "Green Lab" program to encourage the recycling of laboratory materials. Since 2005, the Summit facility has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a WasteWise partner for its waste-reduction efforts.

Merck has also implemented energy conservation programs that have resulted in reduced emissions and a smaller carbon footprint for the Summit facility. The company actively participates in outreach and education programs for children and adults through its "Green Room" Educational Center at the Summit facility.

"As a result of Merck's many and comprehensive environmental efforts, we are excited to name Merck as Summit's Recycler of the Month," RAC Chair Marjorie Fox said. "They are a leader in the community in this field and serve as a wonderful example to all of us."

Recycler of the Month Award recipients may be individuals, businesses or other organizations. The RAC — a volunteer committee appointed by Common Council to assist the City in identifying and implementing programs to increase recycling in Summit — considers several criteria in selecting Recycler of the Month recipients. First, the recycling activity or project should be innovative or go beyond traditional recycling activities. Next, the activity should be continuous and sustainable. The RAC prefers ongoing efforts to one-time events. Finally, the activity should be replicable by others.

To be considered for individual or organization efforts in recycling (reduce-reuse-recycle), contact the Summit Recycling Advisory Committee, at GoGreen@cityofsummit.org