Multi-Agency Report Finds Green Practices Benefit New York's Environment and Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that green policies at state agencies have saved New York taxpayers nearly $29.2 million in the first seven years of his administration, while substantially reducing paper use and waste. A new report released today by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of General Services found that state agencies tripled their generation of solar energy in the past two years and doubled their composting of organic waste in the last five years. Agencies have also taken notable measures to eliminate the purchase of bottled water, buy recycled content products, protect pollinators and reduce hazardous chemical exposures through green cleaning.
"New York is leading the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing clean energy sources," Governor Cuomo said. "We are bringing these sustainable practices into our state agencies by making their operations more eco-friendly, reducing waste and increasing recycling - saving taxpayer dollars in the process."
"Our state agencies are working to make sure we're environmentally conscious while saving taxpayer dollars," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "These efforts support our aggressive clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change for a cleaner and greener environment for future generations.
State agency achievements include:
- Copy paper purchasing has decreased 53 percent since State Fiscal Year (SFY) 08-09, saving the State $29.2 million in the first seven years of the Cuomo administration, $55.4 million since reporting began, and $8 million per year.
- Executive agencies have virtually eliminated the purchase of bottled water, and 80 percent of authorities have also eliminated or restricted use to special circumstances.
- The purchase of 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, processed chlorine-free copy paper has doubled since SFY 09-10, from 22 to 46 percent of all copy paper purchased in SFY 17-18.
- The recycling rate for SFY 17-18 is 70 percent, compared to 50 percent first measured in SFY 08-09, and the number of agencies composting organic waste has more than doubled since SFY 12-13.
- The State's green purchasing program won national awards in both 2017 and 2018.
- 9 million kWh of solar energy were generated for agency use in SFY 17-18, more than triple the previous year.
- Four mini-bids released under the State's new Solar Power Purchase Agreements contract in SFY 17-18 have the potential to more than quadruple agency solar output by generating an estimated 56 million kWh of energy per year.
In addition, the state announced the finalization of 11 new and amended green specifications for the purchase of batteries, brake pads, imaging equipment, janitorial paper, paint, pest management (for both indoor and outdoor spaces), prepackaged snowmelt and deicing products, reusable bags, state-funded lodging and trash bags. These new purchasing specifications will reduce environmental impacts, including exposure to hazardous chemicals, in their product class.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo's initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition New York State to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040, and eliminate single-use plastic bags are providing national leadership at a crucial time in our nation. I am proud of the work state agencies are doing to lead by example by reducing energy use, cutting waste, and using green products that avoid the use of hazardous chemicals."
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "Following the Governor's charge in June 2017 to redouble the fight against climate change and maintain the State's commitment to the Paris Climate agreement, OGS Procurement Services took action, establishing multiple new contracts to help agencies generate solar power, switch to LED lighting, and charge plug-in electric vehicles. We are proud of these successes and committed to continuing to lead by example."
Issued in 2008, Executive Order No. 4 (EO 4) charges the Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement with developing green procurement specifications for use by state agencies and public authorities. When choosing priority categories and developing green specifications, EO 4 directs the committee to consider, among other factors, commodities, services and technology that reduce or eliminate the health and environmental risks from the use or release of toxic substances; minimize risks of the discharge of pollutants into the environment; minimize the toxicity of packaging; protect public health and the environment, including children; and embody pollution prevention and sustainable production.