ALBANY - Two Central New York groups and two longtime Recycling individuals were recognized for outstanding achievements at the annual State Recycling Conference, sponsored by the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) and DEC. 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/roty_images/pete Petit, 2010.jpgPeter Pettit, of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, was named “Recycler of the Year” at the annual State Recycling Conference in Cooperstown on Nov. 18, 2010.

Pettit, recently named Chief of the Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling, works out of the Albany office of DEC. His dedication and concern for the environment has inspired his staff and those outside the department to continually strive to make improvements in the recycling field. As one of the original members of the Bureau Of Waste Reduction & Recycling, Pete has been, and continues to be, instrumental in the Department's efforts to educate New York State public, including: businesses, schools, and government officials on environmental issues.

“His contributions have benefited all of New York State's communities,” NYSAR3 President Dianne Woske said. “Pete has contributed so much, to so many programs, it is difficult to fully measure his true impact. His efforts and concern for people and the environment is always apparent in his words and actions” 

Pettit’s projects include: Internal, State & Regional Mercury Product and Management Task Forces; Toxics in Packaging Program, both Legislation and Executive Board; Section-S Legislative Initiatives; Development of Mercury Product Labeling Regulations; Program Emergency Response Coordinator Duties; Great Lakes Mercury Products Phase-Down Strategy; Product Stewardship Institute-Board Member; NYSAR3 Legislative Committee; and the DEC Green Design Team,

Pettit has also been instrumental in new legislation banning mercury products. He is actively involved in the Great Lakes Mercury Phase-out Task Force; Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse Northeast Recycling Council; the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association; and Program Emergency Response Coordination.

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/roty_images/sharon award, 2010.jpgSharon Fisher, the Town of Bethlehem’s former Recycling Coordinator, received a very special Lifetime Achievement Award at the event. Fisher served as the Town’s first Recycling Coordinator from 1990 until her retirement in mid-2010.

In presenting the award, NYSAR3 President, Dianne Woske, sdescribed Fisher’s service: “Sharon was a significant asset to recycling in her town, the Capital region, and New York State. She started working for the Town of Bethlehem over 20 years ago, becoming one of the pioneers of recycling; her work embodied the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ mantra that all recyclers espouse. Sharon took an early lead in NYSAR3 and has been one of the pillars of the organization, serving with dedication in many roles. The annual NYSAR3 conference is a tribute to Sharon's years of organizational efforts. It would be hard to overstate the importance that Sharon Fisher has had to recycling programs and the recycling community in New York State and beyond.”

Ms. Woske further described Fisher’s achievements: “Thanks to Sharon's efforts, Bethlehem's reduction and recycling diversion rates grew from 16 to 50 percent by the year 2000.  Her other achievements include: developing an award winning recycling program; securing fund awards through New York State DEC; developing an innovative household hazardous waste program; developing and implementing the very popular regional electronics recycling event held every Earth Day in the Capital Region; and establishing the Organics Recycling Program.

“Bethlehem residents and businesses were fortunate to have Sharon Fisher as the Recycling Coordinator,” said Bethlehem Town Supervisor Sam Messina. “Her two decades of dedicated service helped build Bethlehem’s recycling program to the point where it is now widely recognized as among the most successful in the state” Messina added.

NYSAR3 is not the first to recognize the Fisher’s achievements on behalf of the Town of Bethlehem.  The Town received the 2003 NYS Governor's Waste Reduction and Recycling Achievement of Excellence Awards.  This award recognizes those that have implemented innovative and outstanding programs, resulting in significant diversions of waste materials through environmentally sound, economically feasible and sustainable initiatives.

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/roty_images/OCRRA award, 2010 ROTY.JPGThe Recycling Team from the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) was named “Recycler of the Year, Team-Public Sector,” while the Fiber Procurement Team  from RockTenn of Syracuse was recognized as “Recycler of the Year, Team-Private Sector.” The conference was sponsored by the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

In 2009, due to the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency Recycling Team's daily community outreach efforts, and in spite of weak economic conditions, residential recycling increased in comparison to 2008. In total, the community recycled over 245,000 tons of material; the greatest amount recycled since OCRRA launched its county-wide recycling program 20 years ago. With its robust set of recycling and waste reduction programs, OCRRA's team of recycling specialists helps Onondaga County recycle more material on a per capita basis than any other large New York State community.

“These achievements result from the work of a team of highly dedicated, extremely capable, and tremendously enthusiastic recycling professionals,” NYSAR3 President Dianne Woske said when making the presentation to the OCRRA team. 

Recognized for the annual award was OCRRA Recycling Team members Andrew Radin (Director), Greg Gelewski, Sarah Stewart, Ann Fordock, Dave Nettle and Kristen Lawton.

The OCRRA service area of 32 towns and villages and the City of Syracuse encompasses 450,000 residents, 158 local schools, and over 30,000 local businesses. Outreach programs include the Blue Ribbon Recycler, a business-to-business program, the School Recycling Pledge, and a newsletter distributed to over 150 thousand homes. In addition, OCRRA has embraced social media, establishing a Facebook page. 

Recycler of the Year, Team-Private Sector award went to the RockTenn Fiber Procurement Team, made up of Scott Reed, Bob Carpenter, Andrea Buck, and Melanie Walrath. The result of their work is tremendous environmental and economic benefit to New York and beyond. 

The RockTenn Team focuses their efforts on establishing collaborative partnerships with businesses and communities throughout New York State. These partnerships develop mutually beneficial relationships that minimize waste and recycle a staggering quantity of cardboard. 

“RockTenn is one of New York's ‘recycling engines,’ and while the company relies upon state of the art equipment and technology to manufacture their products, it is truly these individuals from the Fiber Procurement Department, and their personal dedication to the recycling profession, that powers that engine,” Woske told the crowd of approximately 150 attendees.

As generators of used and discarded cardboard, literally millions of residents and thousands of business, large and small, benefit from the recycling service that these individuals provide. The Fiber Procurement Team is the key connection between these generators and the RockTenn facility that manufactures over 6.6 million linear feet of 100% recycled linerboard annually from post consumer raw material. Suppliers also benefited by minimizing their carbon footprint by selling to a mill close to their ship points in New York State.