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New York accelerates sustainable practices to reduce environmental impact

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

New York State is making substantial progress in reducing the environmental impact of its operations, as detailed in the 11th “Greening New York State” report by the GreenNY Council. This report is pursuant to Executive Order #22 signed by Governor Kathy Hochul in September 2022, known as “Leading by Example: Directing State Agencies to Adopt a Sustainability and Decarbonization Program.” It highlights the initiatives state agencies and authorities are undertaking to decrease energy consumption, enhance energy efficiency, minimize waste, and boost the acquisition of eco-friendly products and services, all contributing to the state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050.

The report reveals significant strides made by state agencies during fiscal year 21-22. Among the key findings are a 50% increase in composting organic matter, a commendable 91% overall recycling rate, 38 trillion BTUs of energy saved, and an impressive $286 million invested in green products and services. The SUNY system, responsible for over 40% of the state’s building space, has been particularly proactive, incorporating student-driven initiatives to reduce waste, increase composting and recycling, and make campuses more energy and water-efficient.

Furthermore, the GreenNY Council finalized two more procurement specifications focusing on lowering the environmental impact of goods and services acquired by the state government, emphasizing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and exposure to hazardous substances. The adjustments made in procurement specifications for solar photovoltaic systems and carpet cleaning products are ensuring increased efficiency and the elimination of harmful substances like PFAS. These advancements reflect New York’s continued leadership and commitment to achieving a sustainable future and a cleaner, more resilient state, with collaborations and innovations fueling progress towards the established climate goals.