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New York State Environmental Excellence Awards

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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 Division of Environmental Permits and Pollution Prevention at: or call (518) 402-9167.

Watch a webinar "Apply for a NYS Environmental Excellence Award & Get Statewide Recognition" recorded on February 24, 2016 ( (leaves DEC website) to learn about:

  • The benefits of being a NYS Environmental Excellence Award winner.
  • Tips for submitting a competitive application.
  • Successes of previous award recipients (National Hockey League and Golub Corporation/Price Chopper)
  • Previous winner's views about the importance of receiving the award.

View webinar slides (PDF) (2.1 MB)

Award Winners Celebrate Earth Day

NHL's Recycle the Game

The National Hockey League, together with the SL Green Realty Corporation (NYC's largest office landlord), is collecting used sporting equipment, getting it out of the waste stream, and donating it to local schools and non-profit organizations. The "Recycle the Game" program will begin on April 18th in celebration of Earth Week and will continue through May 2nd. Read more about the Recycle the Game program (PDF, 139 KB)

Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency Earth Day

Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency is holding its annual Earth Day Volunteer Litter Cleanup April 22nd- 23rd. Last year, about 7,500 people collected more than 100,000 lbs. of trash from roadsides, streams and public spaces. This event began nearly two decades ago and since then, volunteers have "greened" their communities by removing more than 2,000,000 lbs. of litter - that's about the same as two 747 jets.

Columbia University Car Free Earth Day

Did you know that Americans waste nearly 23 billion gallons of gas in traffic each year? Columbia University goes "Car Free" on Earth Day as part of a NYC effort to use public transportation, walk, bike or skateboard to class or work. This will help reduce noise pollution, traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Get Recognized

Become part of an elite, statewide network of award winners! Since 2004, the program has honored 72 outstanding organizations for significant environmental benefits such as:

  • reducing or eliminating more than 150,000 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 petroleum products by more than 12 million gallons;
  • reducing water consumption by more than 80 million gallons;
  • capturing at least 45 million gallons of stormwater;
  • diverting more than 240,000 tons of waste from landfills;
  • composting nearly 175,000 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; and
  • engaging many adults and students in sustainable practices at home, work and school.

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

Project topics include but are not limited to:

Photo of Omega center for Sustainable Living
Omega Center for Sustainable Living
  • 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 Division of Environmental Permits and Pollution Prevention at or call (518) 402-9167.

Picture of 2015 Environmental Excellence Award Winners
DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos with winners from
New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

2015 Award Winners:

In 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was pleased to recognize seven outstanding organizations at the 12th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony (link leaves DEC 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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