The 2021 Award Winner

Ellen Keefe - Westmoreland Cleanways & Recycling


2021 Daniel G. Weisenbach Environmental Stewardship

Harrisburg, PA – The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Daniel G. Weisenbach Environmental Stewardship Award.  This award was created to honor the memory of one of the country’s truest innovative leaders in environmental awareness and recycled products, Dan Weisenbach.  A tireless leader in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and all over the country, his commitment to recycling was admired by all.  It is our hope that all winners of this award will carry on his work ethic and passion for recycling and sustainability.

Designed to recognize the most outstanding recycling and composting programs, this award seeks to recognize exemplary performance by municipalities, businesses, individuals, or organizations throughout Pennsylvania in the areas of recycling, waste reduction, reuse, and composting programs.

This year, PROP is pleased to announce the winner of this award is Ellen Keefe. Ms. Keefe has been the Executive Director of Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling for the past 13 years and held various other roles within the organization for numerous years prior. Her peers have credited her leadership and commitment with the unprecedented growth of the organization and the development of new recycling opportunities.

Striving to provide the best services possible to county residents, businesses, and municipalities, she was responsible for the expansion of a 2 person operation to an operation that employed 5 full time employees and 5 seasonal employees and tripled the amount of educational programs. Ms. Keefe was also responsible for the expansion of the county’s 3,400 square foot recycling center to an eight-acre property with 20,000 square feet of available warehouse space for the recycling center.

The Covered Devices Recycling Act of 2010 led Ellen Keefe to host drop-off collection events that became so successful, the county opened their first recycling center, accepting these hard to dispose of electronic items. Soon the center began accepting appliances, scrap metal, tires, glass, used motor oil, lead acid batteries, fluorescent and specialty bulbs, paper, cardboard, and books.  Thanks to a grant from the Food Recycling Coalition, the county was able to accept block and food grade polystyrene collection.  Perhaps one of the best indicators of the success of her programs is in the numbers. During the first full year of operation in 2015, the center averaged 470 cars per month. That number grew to 960 a month in 2020.     

PROP is proud to recognize the tenacity and innovation that led Ellen Keefe to become a top industry leader who has proven to be well equipped to navigate the ever-changing recycling industry by modifying existing programs and adding new ones.