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CSWD staff wins national safety award for hazardous materials management

Gary Winnie holds the NAHMMA award.

Gary Winnie, Hazardous Waste Supervisor for the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD), received the inaugural “Lewry Safety Award” at the national conference for the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA), held on August 26 in Portland, ME.

The award was named for Bill Lewry, a household hazardous waste program manager in Kansas City, MO who was badly injured from chemical exposure while on the job. The award highlights a person or program that embodies a culture of safety in the workplace, through either improvement, embracing the hierarchy of hazard controls, or being a personal advocate for safety training and awareness.

Winnie has been managing leftover paint, chemicals, and other hazardous waste from households and small businesses at the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) Environmental Depot in South Burlington since 1991. In his 27 years with the District, he has collected and managed over 11,000,000 pounds of hazardous waste, dropped off by over 250,000 residents and small businesses.

“Gary is an enormous asset to the community,” says Jennifer Holliday, Director of Public Policy and Diversion Facilities for CSWD. “He is a leader in his field for managing hazardous waste, as well as a leader in the field for safety.”

In addition to collecting and managing hazardous waste 5 days a week at the year-round Environmental Depot and the seasonal Rover – CSWD’s mobile hazardous waste collection unit – Winnie has helped lead a successful two-year state-wide school lab cleanout program, started a successful paint recycling and resale program, assisted the State of Vermont in writing hazardous waste regulations regarding household hazardous waste facilities, and provided hazardous waste collection events for other regions of the state.

“It’s not just about careful, responsible management of the wide variety of hazardous materials he sees every day,” says Sarah Reeves, Executive Director of CSWD. “Gary cares about the people around him, too. He embodies our strong commitment to both worker and environmental safety.”

Winnie has trained regional transfer station operators, other household hazardous waste program managers, and small businesses on proper handling of hazardous materials.

As Hazardous Waste Supervisor for CSWD, Gary oversees the year-round CSWD Environmental Depot in South Burlington, the mobile collection unit known as The Rover, and the District’s Local Color paint recycling program.

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