New York State reports overall recycling rate of 90%

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Foam container

A styrofoam take-out container is viewed in a trash can in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — On Earth Day 2021, New York State agencies issued the 2019-2020 Greening New York State Report, documenting progress made to reduce the environmental footprint of State operations.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, one of the highlights of this report was the overall recycling rate of 90% statewide. Additional highlights included a record of over $212 million in green products and services and 4.4 million miles driven by the New York State zero emission vehicle fleet.

“The Greening New York State Report documents how State agencies are leading by example,” stated DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Our actions are reducing energy use, preventing waste, reducing the use of hazardous substances, and demonstrate how entities–large or small–can serve as good environmental stewards. I commend the work of the GreenNY Council as they advance new green purchasing specifications that will accelerate the shift toward a green economy that benefits all New Yorkers and our shared environment.” 

In addition to the report, the Executive Order 4 Interagency Committee approved four new green purchasing specifications and tentatively approved 21 additional specifications. Approved specifications included:

  • Apparel and textile materials
  • Coating removal products
  • Laundry detergent
  • Garment cleaning

Specifications given tentative approval include:

  • Appliances and commercial kitchen equipment (specifications for 15 different types of equipment)
  • Cookware and bakeware
  • Foam insulation
  • General-purpose cleaners (updated)
  • Hand soaps and cleansers, and personal antiseptic and cleansing products (updated)
  • Lower-carbon concrete
  • Refrigerant-containing equipment

The DEC claimed that this specification will lower the environmental impacts of goods and services purchased by the New York State Government.

The 2019-2020 Greening New York State Report was developed by the GreenNY Council and co-chaired by the Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Power Authority, Office of General Services, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Leaders also issued statements on the 2019-2020 report. Each statement is included in quotes below.

“The progress state agencies have made showcases how our collective and coordinated efforts will lead to lower emissions, advancement of clean energy, and a greater quality of life in communities across New York. As the State continues to pursue its ambitious climate goals, we want to demonstrate to others the value generated from the clean energy actions of today will protect future generations from the impacts of climate change.” 

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris

“Thinking green is a way of life for state agencies committed to advancing the state’s ambitious climate and sustainability goals. The details of today’s report are clear evidence of across-the-board progress in reducing energy use, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The GreenNY Council’s leadership has helped highlight numerous environmental initiatives and formalize green purchasing practices that will help create a cleaner and greener New York. NYPA, through energy-saving initiatives like BuildSmart 2025, is setting an example for what sustainability looks like on a statewide level.”

NYPA President and CEO Gil Quiniones

“With our award-winning achievements in green procurement and our expanding use of renewable energy sources for our facilities, OGS is proud of the progress we’re making as part of Governor Cuomo’s GreenNY team. Together, OGS and our partner agencies are leading the way toward a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable New York State.”

OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito

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