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Earth Day 2018: DEC, OGS announce state agencies save $28 million with sustainable practices


Fri, Apr 20th 2018 09:45 pm
Report finds green practices benefit New York's environment & economy
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Office of General Services announced green policies at state agencies have saved New York taxpayers nearly $28 million in the first six years of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration, while substantially reducing paper use and waste.
A new report released today by DEC and OGS also found 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.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Through Gov. 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." 
OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, Under Gov. 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 fiscal year 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 FY 15-16;
•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.
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 HERE, 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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