ecomaine announces 2018 eco-Excellence Award Winners

CONTACT:               Lisa Wolff, Communications Manager
(207) 523-3108 or

For Immediate Release:

Allagash Brewing, Ruth’s Reusable Resources and Massabesic’s David Pope receive top 2018 ecomaine eco-Excellence Awards

A total of 18 Individuals, Nonprofit Organizations and Businesses received awards for their commitment to sustainability and community throughout 2017

PORTLAND, MAINE – (March 9, 2018) Allagash Brewing Company, Ruth’s Reusable Resources and Massabesic Middle School’s David Pope received top honors in the Business Leadership, Community Leaders, and Individual categories, respectively, at the 2018 ecomaine eco-Excellence Awards ceremony here March 6. The top winners were selected among 18 award recipients in total, from 11 ecomaine member communities.

“Behind every recycling statistic is a person who makes a difference,” said Kevin Roche, chief executive officer of ecomaine, during a special awards luncheon in ecomaine’s community room here March 6. “Through the ecomaine eco-Excellence Awards, we celebrate each of our winners for leading their communities, businesses and their families to make more sustainable choices about both consumption and waste generation.”

Allagash Brewing Company – Portland

Allagash Brewing Company received top honors in the Business Leadership Category at the 2018 eco-Excellence Awards. Photo by Fred Field.

Allagash Brewing Company, the top winner in the Business Leadership Category, as of 2015, managed to divert 99.75% of all waste from landfills. Through the use of solar panels (installed in July 2016); light zoning and conversion to LED lighting; and “free air,” which used naturally cold Maine winter air to reduce electrical usage by more than 104 megawatt hours.

Allagash employees challenge themselves to think of waste as resources. Beyond their energy and resource efficiency practices, they pass along the spent grain from beer making to Justice Farms for cow feed. They also maximize employee composting involving spent fruit from beers and to manage composting bins at events.

“The Business Leadership category recognizes businesses that don’t operate under a mission focused on environmental sustainability or conversation, but who make it their job to integrate it into everything they do,” said Caleb Hemphill, chair of ecomaine’s Outreach & Recycling Committee. “Allagash Brewing Company is the ultimate illustration of integrity at work in business for broader community impact.”

Ruth’s Reusable Resources – Portland

Ruth Libby, president of Ruth’s Reusable Resources, received the top Business Leadership award. Photo by Fred Field.

Ruth’s Reusable Resources (3R’s) is a non-profit organization that receives surplus supplies from businesses, and transfers them into the hands of students and classrooms through teachers in our free teacher store. Ruth’s has been diverting materials from the waste stream for 24 years. What started as simply a way to get usable supplies from businesses into schools has grown to include reusing and repurposing items to every extent possible and recycling much of what cannot be reused or repurposed right here at ecomaine. Everyday businesses throw away perfectly good, usable office supplies, furniture and other materials and Ruth’s makes it possible for these things to be put to use by students and teachers who need them.

Ruth’s has diverted millions of pounds of plastic and other materials from landfills, eliminated over 472,400 pounds or 236 tons of paper, and over 160 tons of cardboard, saving trees, oil, billions of BTUs of energy, landfill space and energy. This work has helped increase the state and local communities’ awareness of the importance of recycling, reusing and re-purposing simply by doing what it does, and it is this non-profit’s conscious effort to continue to educate communities throughout Maine about the importance of sustaining the environment for many years to come.

“For your incredible dedication, commitment and creativity that has diverted countless valuable resources out of landfills and into the hands of teachers and the budding minds of tomorrow’s recyclers, we are proud to present you with this 2018 eco-Excellence Award,” said Hemphill.

David Pope, Massabesic Middle School – Waterboro

Massabesic Middle School Science Teacher David Pope, center, received a rocking chair made of recycled plastic bags for winning the overall award in the Individual Leadership category. Photo by Fred Field.

David Pope is Science Teacher and Zero Waste Advisor at Massabesic Middle School in Waterboro, and a resident of Limington, who was nominated for this award by Ryan Parker, Sustainable Maine Policy Advocate for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.David Pope has created what is arguably the best, and most successful example, anywhere in Maine, of a successful, student run, on-site composting program aimed at food waste reduction,” said Parker, in his nomination for Pope.

What started as a simple school lesson plan several years ago, has led Pope to guide his students and the school’s administration to create a school-wide culture of food waste recycling. In 2017, the students created enough compost to feed their 12 raised beds and the remaining compost to the local community to raise money for the program. They have since obtained a USDA Farm to School Grant to expand their raised beds to a quarter-acre farm to supply the cafeteria.

“Not only does this reduce food waste going to a landfill or waste-to-energy, it teaches students about science, math, the value of hard work, and project management,” said Troy Moon, ecomaine Board Chair, who presented Pope with his award.

The additional esteemed 2018 eco-Excellence Award winners are:

  • Cape Elizabeth Recycling Committee, Cape Elizabeth
  • Adriane Herman, artist & MECA professor, Cape Elizabeth/Portland/Yarmouth
  • Kevin Howell, Town Manager, Carmel
  • Cumberland Food Company, Chef/Owner Bryan Dame, Cumberland
  • Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, Falmouth
  • Kimberly Darling, Sustainability Coordinator, Falmouth
  • Robert J. Burns & Alisha Barrows, Gorham Department of Public Works, Gorham
  • Jonathan Hedman, Gray Recycling Committee, Gray
  • Garbage to Garden’s Phoebe Lyttle, Portland
  • Laura Graves, Howard C. Reiche Community School, Portland
  • Marjorie “Maggie” Timmerman, “Keep Rockport Beautiful,” Rockport
  • Ryan O’Leary, Ecology Club of Scarborough, Scarborough
  • Debra McDonough, Scarborough Energy Committee, Scarborough
  • Jane Eberle, Director of Business Partnerships for South Portland Schools, South Portland
  • Waterboro Elementary School, Principal Christine Bertinet, Waterboro

About ecomaine and the eco-Excellence Awards

ecomaine, the nonprofit, recycling and waste-to-energy operation that serves a third of the state’s population, is located in Portland, Maine. The eco-Excellence Awards is an annual program organized by ecomaine to recognize businesses, schools or individuals in any of ecomaine’s 73 member communities. Winners are selected based on the effectiveness, increased awareness, community impact, and ease of replication of their sustainability programs or initiatives.