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For Release: Monday, February 13, 2017

DEC Accepting Applications for 13th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards

Annual award recognizes businesses, institutions, governments and organizations for innovative projects

Applications accepted through April 14, 2017

Register now for the February 28 instructional webinar for tips to complete a competitive award application

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting applications for the 2017 Environmental Excellence Awards program, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. The Environmental Excellence Awards program recognizes businesses, institutions, governments, and organizations for outstanding, innovative, and sustainable projects or programs that are contributing to a healthier environment and economy.

"New York State is a national environmental leader; home to myriad new and exciting programs being implemented by organizations to reduce energy use, better use irreplaceable natural resources, and help communities adapt to our changing climate," said DEC Commissioner Seggos. "The Environmental Excellence Awards showcase the individuals, organizations and businesses that are setting the example for others across New York State and the country."

Businesses (i.e., small, medium and large businesses, manufacturing, power generation, retail, agri-business, hospitality, sports, etc.); not-for-profit organizations; academic, health care and recreational facilities; individual(s) and local, state, federal and Indian Nation government agencies are all eligible to apply.

DEC is interested in receiving applications from organizations that are implementing innovative approaches and technologies, advancing sustainable practices and generating economic growth, harnessing the power of creative partnerships, and inspiring others to undertake like-minded projects.

Competitive applications will focus on projects or programs that are achieving significant environmental benefits through:

  • greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate change adaptations;
  • food waste reduction efforts, recycling and composting programs;
  • "green tech" solutions;
  • initiatives to "green" businesses, farms, schools, recreational, sports, health care and hospitality facilities;
  • clean energy projects and energy efficiency improvements;
  • green infrastructure projects;
  • creative natural resource/habitat protection or restoration efforts;
  • education and training programs; and
  • manufacturing process improvements and creative urban forestry or farming practices, including programs to advance "farm to table."

A DEC webinar on Tuesday, February 28, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. will provide details about the awards program and how to submit a competitive application. Participants will also hear from previous award recipients about the importance and benefits of being one of 80 awardees that are leading by example in their sector and community. Those interested in attending the webinar must register online at the NYS Environmental Excellence Awards registration web page. (link leaves DEC website)

Completed applications must be post marked no later than Friday, April 14, 2017. Award winners will be honored at a ceremony in November 2017. At that time, winners will have an opportunity to present and display information about their award-winning project or program. Benefits of receiving an award include visibility as a sector leader and advancing an organization's mission through networking and marketing opportunities.

"Being recognized by New York State as an Environmental Excellence Award was a source of tremendous pride for our employees, customers, vendors and other numerous stakeholders. The award lent credibility to our innovative, ecologically sustainable business model, helped grow our brand recognition and no doubt has contributed to the growing interest in sustainable urban farming across our state and indeed the country," said Viraj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO, Gotham Greens.

"Receiving a NYS Environmental Excellence Award for our educational programming was a huge step for us. Our mission, since 1978, has been to divert valuable items from the waste stream while supporting the arts and cultural community. The DEC's recognition of the significant role we were playing in educating and transforming the field was key to our continued growth in this area," said Harriet Taub, Executive Director, Materials for the Arts.

Since the program began in 2004, 80 award winners have had positive impacts on New York's economy and contributed to impressive improvements of New York's environment, such as:

  • 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 306,000 tons of waste from landfills, including more than 2 tons of pharmaceutical waste and 6 tons of batteries annually;
  • composting nearly 190,000 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 and protecting sensitive and critical habitats;
  • 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.

Information about the award program and the 2017 application materials are available on DEC website, by email to awards@dec.ny.gov, or by writing to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Pollution Prevention Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-7253 or by phone to DEC's Pollution Prevention Unit at (518) 402-9469.

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