The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is now accepting applications for the 2019 Environmental Excellence Awards program, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced this week.

The Environmental Excellence Awards recognize businesses, institutions, municipalities, and organizations for outstanding commitments to environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic viability. To date, New York has honored 92 committed organizations that are leading by example and inspiring their industries and communities, the agency said in a press release.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is making our environment a priority and leading the nation to ensure our natural resources are protected and developing innovative new tools are utilized to better preserve our environment for generations to come,” Seggos said. “We are proud to partner with and celebrate these organizations and businesses that are making better use of irreplaceable natural resources and helping communities adapt to our changing climate. These green leaders are setting the standard for others across New York State and the country.”

Businesses — including manufacturing, power generation, retail, agri-business, renewable energy, hospitality, sports — not-for-profit organizations; academic, health care, and recreational facilities; individuals; and local, state, federal, and Indian Nation government agencies are all eligible to apply.

DEC is encouraging organizations that are implementing innovative approaches and technologies, advancing sustainable practices, generating economic growth, harnessing the power of creative partnerships, and achieving extraordinary outcomes to apply. Competitive applications will focus on projects or programs resulting in significant environmental benefits by:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • helping adapt to climate change;
  • reducing food waste or encouraging recycling and composting programs;
  • developing “green tech” solutions;
  • implementing initiatives to “green” businesses, farms, schools, recreational, sports, health care, and hospitality facilities;
  • supporting clean energy and green infrastructure projects;
  • developing creative natural resource/habitat protection or restoration efforts;
  • improving energy efficiency;
  • implementing sustainable education and training programs;
  • improving manufacturing processes; and
  • supporting creative urban forestry or farming practices, including programs to advance “farm to table.

Completed applications for the 2019 awards must be submitted by Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in November. At that time, winners will have an opportunity to present and display information about their award-winning project or program.

Since the program began in 2004, award winners have had positive impacts on New York’s economy and have contributed to impressive improvements of New York’s environment, the agency said. Among them:

  • reducing or eliminating more than 174,000 metric tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions;
    producing at least 1.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity from solar installations and saving 214 million kilowatt hours of electricity;
  • reducing the use of petroleum products by more than 12 million gallons;
  • reducing water consumption by more than 90 million gallons;
  • capturing at least 46 million gallons of stormwater;
  • diverting nearly 350,000 tons of waste from landfills, including more than 2 tons of pharmaceutical waste and 6 tons of batteries annually;
  • composting nearly 224,000 tons of organic material;
  • eliminating the use of at least 400,000 single-use plastic shopping bags;
  • preserving thousands of acres of open space; planting thousands of trees; protecting sensitive and critical habitats; and improving the health of lakes, ponds, and other water resources;
  • engaging millions of adults and students in sustainable practices at home, work, school while recreating or attending a sporting event; and
  • generating more than $2.5 million in revenue from transforming waste into opportunities by diverting reusable materials from the landfill.
    Benefits of receiving an award include visibility as a sector leader and advancing an organization’s mission through networking and marketing opportunities.

Information about the award program and the 2019 application materials can be found on the DEC website, or by request via email to [email protected], or in writing to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Pollution Prevention Unit, 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, Albany, New York 12233-7253 or by phone to DEC’s Pollution Prevention Unit at (518) 402-8706. Applications will be accepted through April 17, 2019.

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