Karen Sullivan- Recycling Leadership, Lifetime Achievement

Karen Sullivan of the Otsego County Department of Solid Waste & Recycling has been recognized as a key component of making Otsego County more sustainable. She is responsible for helping to start the ReUse Center in 2017, inititating the mattress recycling program in the county and building the Annual Hazardous Waste Collection initiative. The  Annual Hazardous Waste Collection initiative has been running for over 20 years now, and allows residents of the County to bring in any paints, solvents or toxic chemicals to two sites in the county for recycling.

Karen Khor- Recycling Leadership, Private Citizen

Karen Khor has been a volunteer for the Town of Mamaroneck’s environmental committee for the last 3 years, recruiting hundreds of Food Waste Recyclers in the area. She helps to coordinate efforts with the school district to significantly reduce solid waste and further waste prevention efforts. With her continued efforts, the Town of Mamaroneck was part of 10 New York State communities considered "Models for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Building Local Climate Resilience." The town was the only municipality in all of NYS to meet the criteria to be deemed a "Climate-Smart Community"  for a second time. 

TOMRA New York Recycling (TNYR) - Recycling Leadership, Private Sector

TNYR changed New York’s deposit program, moving it from the past of manual operation into the present creating a far more efficient system by using more efficient logistics and automated collection. Their pick-up service covers 46 New York counties and the entirety of Vermont, serving 338 distributors and 5.9 million people in total. By consolidation of pick-up services, there is no need for individual brand owners and small operators to collect, saving in fuel and reducing total carbon emissions. Since beginning, TNYR has recycled over 31 billion drink containers, 16.5 billion being aluminum, 4.7 billion glass, and 8.2 billion being PET containers. They recycle about 2 billion pounds of cans annually, making a large impact on New York.

ESF - Recycling Leadership, Education

ESF has set the standard for universities high with the leaps and bounds they continue to make in an effort to meet their goal of becoming a zero-waste campus by 2025. They have made great advances in their waste diversion efforts, increasing 14% from 34% to 48%, and by weight increased recycling by 46% and decreased trash by 34%. The university specifically acknowledges the help of custodial and grounds staff to revamp the program as without their participation and willingness to take on more work this program would not have seen the amount of success it has. The students were also incredibly receptive of the new changes, with student groups volunteering to raise awareness and make the transition to a less waste-full campus much easier. The school hopes to continue to raise awareness and make progress to achieve their zero-waste goal.

Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority - Recycling Leadership, Innovation

The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority created the food waste diversion program, Food2Energy, that processes food scraps by turning it into energy and diverting it from the regional landfill. They have recovered over 4,000 tons of food waste for energy as of 2020. Food waste makes up 22% of all municipal solid waste created in the regional lnadfill, so diverting food waste will make a large impact on the environment when it is used for energy instead of taking up space in a landfill. The program utilizes anaerobic digesters to create electricity from de-packaged food thats mixed with water and emulsified.