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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Andrew M. Cuomo
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that implementation of green policies at state agencies have saved New York taxpayers $13 million while substantially reducing paper use and waste, and increasing recycling.

A new report released today found that state agencies have made great strides in avoiding and minimizing the use of pesticides and increased purchasing of green products. This announcement comes in honor of Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment to protecting our environment.

“New York has a leading role in making state operations more eco-friendly by reducing waste and increasing recycling, which in turn saves taxpayers money,” Governor Cuomo said. “By using green strategies, our state agencies are setting the example that sustainability leads to both success and long term savings. As we celebrate Earth Day and reflect on the bountiful natural resources we have here in this state, I encourage every New Yorker to think about how they can contribute to a cleaner future."

Key achievements by state agencies include:

  • a 40-percent reduction in copy paper purchased by state agencies since 2011 has saved taxpayers $13 million dollars bringing total savings since 2008 to $27.4 million;
  • a 53-percent reduction in waste generated since 2008;
  • a steadily increasing recycling rate, reaching its highest level of 71 percent in both FY 12-13 and 13-14, and averaging 63 percent since 2008;
  • a steadily increasing purchase of 100-percent, post-consumer recycled content copy paper, which reached 50 percent of all copy paper in FY 13-14, an increase from 22 percent in FY 08-09; and
  • widespread adoption by agencies of non-chemical means of controlling pests on turf and ornamental plantings, a practice that protects pollinators, which reached 70 percent of all agencies in FY 13-14, an increase of 22 percent since 2011.

Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “State agencies are actively adopting a wide range of green practices, including reducing waste and toxic chemical use. Governor Cuomo’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment has led to even higher levels of performance and innovation.”

State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “New York’s experience continues to show that sustainable practices are good for the bottom line. They do not cost more, and can even save significant amounts of money, especially in the area of waste reduction.”

Claire Barnett, Director of the Healthy Schools Network said, “I applaud the Governor, and all of New York’s partners who are working together to green state operations, especially using less chemicals. As today’s sustainability report demonstrates, New York has expanded its high standards and is committed to using environmentally preferable cleaning products. Now agencies in six northeastern states, as well as schools in New York and throughout New England, can take advantage of the contract to purchase healthy products at great prices.”

Overall, 89 percent of reporting state agencies now use green cleaning products, 99 percent have implemented policies to reduce energy use, and 83 percent use Integrated Pest Management to prevent indoor pests.

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 our land, air and water. New York is a leader in combating climate change by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, protecting open space, and enhancing water quality in all regions of the state.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Cuomo made the following statement:
As we celebrate Earth Day, we recommit ourselves to protecting the environment and preserving New York’s tremendous natural resources. This is both an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of New York’s many scenic locations, and a time to reimagine our state amid the new reality of extreme weather. To paraphrase an old Native American saying, we did not inherit the Earth from our parents; we have borrowed it from our children. It is with that idea in mind that our administration continues to build a New York State that is cleaner, greener and rising to meet the challenges of a changing climate. I encourage all New Yorkers to join us in that effort – together we will ensure that our state remains a healthy and vibrant place to live and work for generations to come.

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