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Arizona Border Trash

Arizona-Mexico International Green Organization or AMIGO

The Arizona-Mexico International Green Organization or AMIGO is a binational partnership for pollution prevention which is sponsored by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). This program creates partnerships leading to voluntary pollution prevention activities among industries located in the Arizona-Sonora border region. AMIGO brings industries in Arizona and Mexico together to share information and technologies that reduce waste and pollution while increasing profits, worker safety, and environmental health.

AMIGO Environmental Annual Award

The AMIGO Environmental Award was established to recognize partners who demonstrate leadership in implementing and supporting the goals of pollution prevention to reduce the amount and toxicity of hazardous waste and the use of toxic substances in the Arizona-Sonora border region. There are two award categories - process improvements and pollution prevention promotion. There are five evaluation criteria: environmental benefits, economic benefits, employee and community involvement, management commitment, and pollution prevention hierarchy, which highlights disposal as the least favored option. The evaluation committee selects award recipients, and is comprised of one representative from each of the following agencies: ADEQ, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Commission of Ecology and Sustainable Development for the state of Sonora (CEDES), and the Sonora Delegation Office of Mexico's Federal Attorney General for the Environment (PROFEPA).

The governors of Arizona and Sonora present the annual award to the selected recipients during the fall plenary session of the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) . The AMC is a public-private partnership whose mission is to improve the well-being and quality of life for residents of Arizona by promoting a strong, cooperative cross-border relationship.

AMIGO Accomplishments

Companies such as Bose, Motorola, Master Lock, Chamberlain, Becton-Dickinson, Alcatel-Lucent, and the Association of Environmental Professionals of Sonora, have spearheaded efforts to foster pollution prevention both within their industrial processes and in their communities. Some specific accomplishments by individual industries include pollution prevention seminars and environmental management systems training for over 3,500 employees, reducing the generation of paint waste by up to 1,700 gallons a year, eliminating lead emissions by replacing lead solder with an aqueous-based solder solution, and reducing the annual amount of waste sent to the landfill by 7,300 pounds.

Also, several of these companies partnered with municipal and academic institutions, and community volunteers to construct a fibercrete home. On Oct. 17, 2008, a dedication ceremony was held to present the first fibercrete home in Nogales, Sonora to the new owners, a single mother and her three children. Fibercrete, or papercrete, is a construction material that uses less concrete and sand as building components when mixed in with shredded paper to form blocks. This alternative building material reduces the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling because of its insulating nature, which reduces the need to burn wood for heating during the winter. This is important because a winter inversion layer affects air quality on both sides of the border. This project reduced the amount of paper and cardboard waste going to the local landfill by eight tons. Participants estimate that they saved 100 trees in the construction process. This number of trees can sequester 1,200 lbs. of carbon dioxide and generate 1,800 lbs. of oxygen annually.