(White Plains, NY) -- Just in time for Earth Day, County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced today the winners of the county’s annual awards for outstanding programs to promote waste reduction and recycling. Astorino will formally present the awards during Earth Day festivities on Sunday, April 22 at Kensico Plaza at 1 p.m.
The winners, in various categories that include governments, schools, businesses and civic organizations are: the City of Rye, the Town/Village of Harrison and the Town of Ossining; the Town of Bedford and its 2020 Waste and Recycling Committee; the City of White Plains and its Eco Neighbors; the Village of Irvington, its Green Policy Task Force and the Greenburgh Nature Center; the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson and its Conservation Commission; the Mount Kisco Elementary School, Eastchester Anne Hutchinson Elementary School, and IBM.
In addition, three Yonkers elementary school students won the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s 2012 Recycling Poster Contest.
“Recycling is a way of life in Westchester, where we recycle 52 percent of our waste, well ahead of the national average of 35 percent,” said Astorino. “This is impressive. Reducing the waste we create is another important thing we all can do to protect the environment. Some of our communities, schools and organizations are leading the way, and that’s why we are recognizing them.”
As with recycling, this is not only good for the environment but good for taxpayers.
• The 76,000 tons that the county recycled in 2011 brought in more than $7.4 million in revenues. Beyond that, the county saved $85 for every ton of waste it didn’t have to collect and dispose of.
• In 2011 each person in the county generated an average of 3.8 pounds of non-recyclable garbage per day. If everyone in the county could reduce the amount of trash they throw out each day by just one pound, it would save taxpayers over $14.5 million dollars per year.
Recyclables collected curbside – including newspapers, office paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal food and beverage containers – get sorted and baled at the county’s Material Recovery Facility in Yonkers (the “MRF”). Chemicals, hazardous wastes, tires, e-waste, etc. are collected at the county’s new Household Material Recovery Facility (“H-MRF”) in Valhalla.
WINNERS OF THE 2012 RECYCLING AWARDS
Top Municipal Recyclers
City of Rye, Town/Village of Harrison and the Town of Ossining, for having the highest recycling rates in 2011
These municipalities outpaced all other communities in their total collection of curbside recyclables (which includes paper products, plastic, glass and metal containers; electronic waste, and bulk metals. Rye City led the county with a 32 percent rate on curbside recycling. This was followed by Ossining Town with a 38 percent and Harrison with a 36 percent curbside recycling rate. (These percentages do not include yard waste or construction and demolition debris.)
Partnerships of Municipalities and Local Conservation Groups
• City of White Plains’ Take It or Leave It Shed, White Plains Department of Public Works and Eco Neighbors
Developed by the White Plains Department of Public Works at the Gedney Recycling Yard in the winter/spring of 2011 in conjunction with the “Eco Neighbors” plan (a local environmental group), the Take It or Leave It (TILI) program is a way for residents to give away usable items to their neighbors. DPW constructed a shed out of reused materials and Eco Neighbors provided artwork. Open two days a week and staffed by volunteers, TILI is credited with removing large quantities of furniture, toys, sporting goods, and various household items from the waste stream, while providing residents with reusable items free-of-charge.
• Love ‘Em & Leave ‘Em Program of the Village of Irvington and the Greenburgh Nature Center
This program promotes leaving leaves and grass clippings in place as mulch that will turn into soil. It originated with Irvington’s Green Policy Task Force and was supported by the Village of Irvington in 2010, which teamed up with the Greenburgh Nature Center to promote the program throughout Westchester. Currently over half of Westchester’s 43 municipalities are either endorsing or looking into implementing this lawn maintenance practice on municipal properties, as well as promoting the program to local landscapers, schools, businesses, and individual homeowners. It has proven to be a cost and time saving approach to managing yard waste, while also improving the soil’s ability to hold water, germinate seeds and support plant growth and health.
• Town of Bedford with its Bedford 2020 Waste & Recycling Committee
Bedford was the first municipality after Irvington to launch its own local leaf mulching campaign, called Leave Leaves Alone. Leave Leaves Alone is leading the way in northern Westchester and training landscapers to adopt mulching in place practices. In 2011, 40 landscapers went through trainings organized by Leave Leaves Alone.
• Village of Hastings-on-Hudson and the Hastings Conservation Commission
The village Conservation Commission has also strongly supported and promoted the Love ‘Em & Leave ‘Em program for several years, and experienced a 51 percent reduction in curbside collected yard waste in 2011, compared to 2010. This is most significant considering the major storm and hurricane clean-ups all municipalities had to deal with last fall.
Schools, Students & Teachers : For exceptional leadership, initiative and voluntary work to promote recycling and environmental conservation efforts within their schools
• Mount Kisco Elementary School Community Garden
More than 600 students, teachers, school administrators, parents, local officials and representatives of local non-profits collaborated in 2011 to develop a school garden on the site of an abandoned tennis court. The garden and its positive impact on the school’s curriculum continue to evolve in 2012.
• Eastchester Anne Hutchinson Elementary School Cafeteria Recycling/Composting Program
Fifth-graders and teacher Dave O’Neill at Anne Hutchinson Elementary are significantly reducing trash at the school cafeteria through aggressive recycling/composting in conjunction with a school garden.
• Westchester Winners of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Recycling 2012 Poster Contest (selected from 800 entries)
Grades K – 3: Emalie Malandro (1st Grade), Padeia School 15, Yonkers
Grades 4 – 6: Jeffrey Fukushima (6th Grade), Padeia School 15, Yonkers
Grades 7 – 9: Andy Mrose, (8th Grade), Padeia School 15, Yonkers
Business Green Initiatives
In 2011, Newsweek magazine recognized Armonk-based IBM as the "Greenest Company in America." The ranking system focused on each company's environmental footprint, environmental management processes, and the company's disclosure and reporting practices. For more than 40 years, IBM has pursued strong environmental management policies and practices that are intended to protect and enhance the environment. IBM maintains a number of facilities in Westchester County, which operate under a unified Environmental Management System that is certified against the globally recognized ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard. The IBM EMS includes, but is not limited to, programs addressing: air emissions, water discharges, soil and groundwater protection, chemical management, recycling and waste management, and energy conservation. The IBM Westchester locations also subscribe to a number of voluntary initiatives, such as, the creation of a Certified Wildlife Habitat on the Armonk campus and the promotion of employee commuting alternatives that will reduce vehicle air emissions.