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For Release: Friday, April 20, 2018

DEC and OGS Announce NYS Agencies Save $28 Million With Sustainable Practices

Report Finds Green Practices Benefit New York's Environment and Economy

Part of New York's Weeklong Celebration of Earth Day

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of General Services (OGS) today announced that green policies at state agencies have saved New York taxpayers nearly $28 million in the first six years of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's administration, while substantially reducing paper use and waste. A new report (PDF, 4.27 MB) released today by DEC and OGS also found that state agencies are protecting pollinators by avoiding the use of pesticides, reducing toxic chemical exposures through green cleaning, and saving energy through efficiency measures and greening employee travel. The announcement was made during the State's weeklong celebration of Earth Day.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Through Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is implementing proactive programs and policies to reduce waste, prevent pollution, and protect public health and the environment. It's clear from the report that our actions are having benefits for the environment and economy of New York and I applaud the hard work and dedication of the interagency committee on sustainability for their continued effort to foster this important progress."

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is paving the way and providing a model for other states to follow. I am particularly proud that in May 2017, New York was awarded the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council's highest honor for its efforts to establish a comprehensive sustainable purchasing program.

State agency achievements include:

  • 77 percent recycling rate due in part to high rates of construction and demolition debris recycling by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the State Department of Transportation;
  • Purchasing 100 percent post-consumer recycled content copy paper, more than half of all copy paper purchased in FY 16-17, more than double the amount purchased in FY 08-09;
  • 24 percent reduction in copy paper purchased since 2011, which has saved taxpayers nearly $28 million;
  • 11 percent reduction in the amount of waste generated from Fiscal Year 15-16;
  • Completion of the Olympic Regional Development Authority's 5.3 mWh solar array for Gore Mountain Ski Resort, the largest solar installation at a ski resort in the country;
  • On-site generation of 68.4 million kWh of renewable energy, enough to power more than 6,300 homes for one year; and
  • Implementation of the DOT's award-winning pollinator protection project along Interstate 1-390 in Livingston County.

State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "Governor Cuomo has been leading the way in terms of integrating sustainability policies and practices into the State's transportation projects. The Department shares this unparalleled commitment to improving the quality of our transportation infrastructure in ways that minimize impacts to the environment and facilitate economic growth in a sustainable manner."

In addition, the state announced the finalization of one amended specification on food containers, and the tentative approval, pending public comment, of eight new draft green purchasing specifications and five amended specifications that will guide future purchasing to reduce environmental impact and exposure to toxic chemicals. The new draft and amended specifications are for imaging equipment, paint, adhesives, lubricants, trash bags, janitorial paper, deicers, brake pads, floor coverings, reusable bags, state funded lodging, and indoor and outdoor pest management. These new purchasing specifications will reduce environmental impacts, including exposures to toxic chemicals, in their product class.

The report is available online (PDF, 4.27 MB), along with additional resources about New York's green purchasing and operations on the State's "GreenNY" website.

Programs to reduce waste, improve energy efficiency, avoid the use of toxic chemicals, and conserve water in State operations are part of a larger strategy to protect New York's land, air and water. New York is a leader in combating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting open space, and enhancing water quality across the state.

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