Asheboro, NC - An employee at the North Carolina Zoo received a 2012 Sustainability Award from the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) Wednesday in Raleigh.

Lula Dingess, an environmental services supervisor at the zoo, was recognized for her efforts to reduce waste and for resource utilization with a plan to cluster litter receptacles. She was one of three first-place award recipients.

Her plan reduced the number of trash cans and recycling containers in the park, allowing the zoo to use 13,000 fewer garbage bags in 2012---a move that saved the zoo more than $3,600.

The awards were presented by DENR Deputy Secretary Brad Ives as part of the 2013 Sustainability Conference held in Raleigh.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.