Honda R&D earns Ohio EPA’s Platinum Environmental Stewardship Award – Bellefontaine Examiner

Innovative projects that aim to protect the environment at the Honda R&D Americas Inc. has earned the Raymond facility the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s top award for emphasis on waste reduction, community service and outreach. 

Tuesday, Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson visited HRA and congratulated associates on receiving the state agency’s platinum level environmental stewardship award.

“Through its waste-reduction efforts and recycling initiatives, HRA is well on its way to becoming a zero-waste facility,” Director Stevenson said in a release. “I am pleased to honor HRA with this award for environmental stewardship.” 

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Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program recognizes businesses and other organizations for completing environmentally beneficial activities and serves as an incentive for organizations to commit to ongoing environmental stewardship. 

To earn the platinum award, a business or organization must expand their environmental program beyond their facilities and demonstrate how their environmental stewardship efforts benefit the local community, region or larger geographic area.

“Our associates at Honda R&D Americas care deeply about improving our environment, both through our products and our service to the community,” said Jim Fusco, HRA’s senior vice president.

“Receiving this top platinum award would not have been possible without support from Ohio EPA, our community partnerships and our associates, whose ideas, hard work and passion are what make Honda R&D Americas a leader in environmental sustainability.” 

In the past year, HRA installed solar arrays on several campus buildings to reduce their energy usage by 40 percent annually; sent 90,000 pounds of discarded food, paper, and wood to local farmers for soil amendments and composting; and built a 6,600-square-foot, on-site recycling center to increase its waste material sorting by an additional 20 percent.  

In addition, last year HRA associates used their annual 40 paid hours of volunteer time to advance environmental education and cleanups in their local communities, which included helping students build birdhouses at the Hardy Center Summer Camp in Columbus and supporting beautification activities at Wayne National Forest and Highbanks Metro Park. 

HRA also donated hundreds of tables and chairs to InReturn, which will reuse those items by selling them to fund their support of individuals who have suffered a neurological injury, disease or disorder. 

The facility’s outreach also has extended to nearby universities. In 2018, associates installed an on-site algal farm in which CO2 from HRA’s facility is captured and used to grow algae that can be converted into new energy and other valuable products. Last year, associates continued their partnership with Ohio University to research the algae’s potential uses and worked with students from The Ohio State University on how algae byproduct can be applied to soil for better carbon capture and plant growth.

Honda R&D Americas — Honda’s second-largest R&D center in the world — is responsible for creating advanced technologies and automobile and powersports products for Honda and Acura customers in North America and global markets. 

To obtain similar recognition for stewardship from Ohio EPA, an organization can work through four levels of recognition. In addition to the top platinum level, these include achievement at the base level; silver level recognizing outstanding accomplishments in environmental stewardship; and gold level recognizing comprehensive environmental stewardship programs. All levels require a commitment to meet or exceed environmental regulatory requirements.

Through the E3 program, Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance helps businesses receive recognition for environmental stewardship efforts. To learn more about the E3 program and the nomination process, please visit www.epa.ohio.gov/ocapp/ohioe3 or call (800) 329-7518.