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New York State Environmental Excellence Awards

Environmental Excellence Award Winners Host Earth Day Events

Family Earth Day logo

The University at Albany will be hosting Family Earth Day from 11AM - 2PM on April 22nd at University Hall. The event, which is geared toward children and families, offers a wide range of activities including a land-planning challenge, a solar oven, a visual about glaciers, arctic creatures mobiles and a traveling nitrogen game that teaches students about how clouds are formed. A weather balloon will be launched and there will be a visit by the Weather Friends. The day will also showcase the New York State Mesonet system, an early warning detection system with sites throughout New York. More information on University of Albany website

kids with trash

Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency's (OCRRA) annual Earth Day Litter Cleanup on April 21-22. There are more than ,400 people representing more than 200 groups already signed up! For the past 26 years, OCRRA has been organizing a county-wide volunteer effort to clean up litter in public spaces. The event has resulted in more than 2.4 million pounds of litter collected since the program began -that's more than the weight of two 747 jets! Information about signing up can be found on OCRRA's website.

MFTAMaterials for the Arts (MFTA): will open its doors for a behind the scenes tour of the 35,000 square foot reuse facility as part of Open House NY's Getting to Zero series. MFTA event information . On April 20th, MFTA's "Third Thursday" event will showcase visiting artists and give attendees a chance to create their own art using fabric and textile remnants. On April 21st, MFTA representatives will be on hand at Madison Square Park engaging visitors in reuse artmaking projects and providing tips reusing materials and donating surplus goods in NYC.

Environmental Excellence Award

The Environmental Excellence Awards are given annually in recognition of outstanding, innovative and sustainable projects or programs and unique partnerships that are contributing to a healthier environment and economy and serving as models of excellence. Award winners are an elite group of committed organizations leading by example as serving as models of excellence within their industry and community.

Eligible applicants include businesses (i.e., small, medium and large businesses, manufacturing, power generation, retail, agri-business, hospitality, sports, etc.); not-for-profit organizations; education, health care and recreational facilities; individual(s) and local, state, federal and Indian Nation government agencies.

Winners are honored each year at an awards ceremony. The ceremony, which is usually held in late November or early December, allows winners to present and display information about their award winning project or program. Some benefits of receiving an award include visibility as a sector leader and furthering your organization's mission through networking and marketing opportunities. For additional information, contact the Pollution Prevention Unit at: or call (518) 402-9469.

Get Recognized

Become part of an elite, statewide network of award winners! Since 2004, the program has honored 80 outstanding organizations for significant environmental benefits 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 and while hiking or attending a Yankees baseball game and
  • generating more than $2.5 million in revenue from transforming waste into opportunities by diverting reusable materials from the landfill.

Get Inspired

Award-winning projects showcase applicants who are:

  • Implementing innovative approaches and technologies
  • Advancing sustainable practices and generating economic growth
  • Harnessing the power of unique partnerships
  • Achieving extraordinary outcomes
  • Inspiring others to undertake like-minded projects
Picture of Finger Lakes ReUse honored in 2016
Finger Lakes ReUse honored in 2016

Project topics include but are not limited to:

  • Green infrastructure projects
  • Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Adaptations to climate change
  • Cutting-edge, "clean-tech" and pollution prevention technologies
  • Initiatives to "green" businesses, farms, schools, health-care and recreational facilities, etc.
  • Innovative wind, solar or biomass projects
  • Creative natural resource/habitat protection or restoration efforts
  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • Innovative education/training programs
  • Innovative waste reduction and recycling efforts
  • Manufacturing process improvements
  • Creative approaches to advance "grown locally" or "farm to table"

For details about award winning projects, read the case studies below. Case studies about award-winning projects in the business and government sectors are being developed and will be posted upon completion. If you would like more information about business and government award winners, contact the Pollution Prevention Unit at or call (518) 402-9469.

2016 Award Winners:

Picture of Solar Wall - Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot (NYC) honored in 2016
Solar Wall - Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot (NYC) honored in 2016

In 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was pleased to recognize eight outstanding organizations at the 13th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony (link leaves DEC's website) for their state-of-the-art programs and commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic viability.

More about New York State Environmental Excellence Awards:

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