Governor Cuomo Announces State Agencies Save $19.6 Million With Green Practices

Office of General Services Launches GreenNY Website to Help Agencies Cut Waste, Costs.

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

Photo by: Pat Arnow, licensed under CC-BY ASA 2.0 Generic.

Albany, NY - April 28, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that green policies at state agencies saved New York taxpayers $19.6 million in the first five years of his administration, while substantially reducing paper use and waste and increasing recycling. A new report released today by the Office of General Services also found that state agencies are using green cleaning products, capturing and reusing rainwater, and generating renewable energy. The announcement comes during Earth Week, a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment to protecting our environment.
"New York is leading the nation by adopting green programs to reduce the environmental impact of government agencies while at the same time, saving money for taxpayers," Governor Cuomo said.  "By committing ourselves to reducing New York’s carbon footprint we take yet another step toward a cleaner, greener New York."
State agency achievements include:
  • 35 percent reduction in copy paper purchased by state agencies since 2011 has saved taxpayers $19.6 million;
  • Increasing recycling to 78 percent in FY 15-16 through increased recycling of construction and demolition debris by the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Department of Transportation;
  • Generating 67 million kWh of energy through on-site renewable energy installations, enough to power 6,200 homes for one year;
  • Completing the 693kW solar array at Robert Moses State Park in Suffolk County, which will generate as much electricity as the park consumes, making it the first-ever energy-neutral state park in the U.S.;
  • Increasing the composting of organic material, up 34 percent in FY 15-16 with a 20 percent increase in food scrap composting; an
  • Increasing the purchase of 100 percent, post-consumer recycled content copy paper, which reached 57 percent of all copy paper in FY 15-16, an increase of 35 percent from FY 08-09.
  • Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "State agencies continue to extend their commitment to green practices and embrace new initiatives, such as the composting of food waste. Governor Cuomo’s unwavering dedication to protecting public health and the environment continues to spur innovation and efficiency at state agencies."
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "The Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement continues its important work under Governor Cuomo’s executive order to bring a greener, more sustainable, and more efficient government to the people of New York. The committee adopted several green procurement specifications that cover items ranging from cleaning products to furniture and will guide state agencies, local governments, and schools when making green purchasing decisions. The committee also rolled out the new GreenNY website, which my digital team at OGS helped develop to create a one-stop source for information on green procurement and sustainable operations."
In addition, the state finalized new green purchasing specifications that will guide future purchasing to reduce environmental impact and exposure to toxic chemicals. Specifications include furniture, lighting, and state-funded travel. Two specifications, food containers and batteries, were tentatively approved and released for public comment. The food container specification will make New York the first state in the nation to eliminate the purchase of food containers manufactured with perfluorinated chemicals and polystyrene.
The report is available online here, along with additional resources about New York’s green operations at the State’s newly redesigned “GreenNY” website. The new site makes it easier to find green products and adopt green practices, from reducing waste to using renewable energy.
The Governor also announced the state’s new “Green Procurement” team with OGS Procurement Services that will focus on the issuance of contracts with green offerings. Earlier this month, OGS received an EPEAT award for excellence in sustainable electronics procurement from the Green Electronics Council for requiring desktop, notebook and tablet computers purchased through the State’s aggregate buy program to meet highly protective environmental criteria.
Claire Barnett, Executive Director of the Healthy Schools Network said, "Healthy Schools Network applauds the ‘silo-busting’ leadership of New York in harnessing 73 agencies into a single force for green procurement success. The 5th annual Progress Report has more detail and more successes in green cleaning, recycling, and IPM. We also support the state’s interest in advancing safer disinfectants—products approved by EPA but also products that do less harm. Kudos Green NY!"
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.