A Portland food scraps recycler has won a regional award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Garbage to Garden won a merit award in the business category at the annual awards by the New England office of the EPA.

Garbage to Garden collects an average of 21 tons of food scraps daily from households, businesses and schools, composting the waste for use in gardens around southern Maine. The organization also educates students and others on the benefits of composting and recycling and donates compost to schools and community gardens.

The organization collects the food scraps in buckets that the organization picks up door-to-door from households, schools and others, the EPA said.

“Garbage to Garden’s curbside composting has become much greater than the sum of its parts,” the EPA said in a statement announcing the award.

Two individuals from Maine also were honored among the 25 EPA award recipients Tuesday.

John Banks was recognized with a lifetime achievement award. Banks was director of the Penobscot Indian Nation’s Department of Natural Resources when the Nation was first recognized in 1980. The department has a comprehensive water quality monitoring program and operates projects designed to reduce runoff along the Penobscot River and other bodies of water, in addition to overseeing cleanup of 440 acres of contaminated lands.

Matthew Scott of Belgrade also received a lifetime achievement award, recognizing his work as a biologist with the state and after he retired. Scott formed a volunteer program to monitor the water quality of Maine lakes and helped lead the creation of a biological monitoring program to assess water quality and a nutrient management model.

After retiring from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Scott became executive director of the Maine Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission and later led Project SHARE, creating watershed councils for five major rivers in the state. He also served on the Board of Environmental Protection, a citizen board providing oversight to the Maine DEP, for eight years.

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