Lifetime Achievement Award – Debby Lee Cohen

Debby Lee Cohen is the Executive Director and Founder of New York City based Cafeteria Culture (CafCu). Cohen has worked on this project in hopes to reduce the waste produced by school lunches. Her work included implementing extensive recycling programs and projects into New York City schools. She was able to educate many students on adding green and ecofriendly practices into their everyday lives. CafCu has created popular waste reduction and recycling educational materials including a film called “Microplastic Madness”. This film is used to educate younger people and their communities that it is necessary to remove plastic out of our waste for a cleaner planet.


Citizen Leadership Award – Janice Lewandusky

Janice Lewandusky works for the Eastern Rensselaer County Community Warehouse (ERCCW), a non-profit organization that looks to decrease the number of reusable items in waste disposal. She has educated herself about Eastern Rensselaer County Solid Waste Management Authority’s (ERCSWMA) household hazardous waste collection days so she can direct the community to that program rather than the landfill. Lewandusky’s four years at the Warehouse have resulted in an increase in materials being properly managed and business-sustaining revenues have increased by about 30%. Additionally, Lewandusky has coordinated the Fox23 Coats for Kids program for the past several years. Janice has been an integral part of the ERCCW and ERCSWMA systems.


Public Sector Leadership Award – Michael Garland

Michael Garland has worked with The Monroe County Recycling Center (MCRC) and Waste Management (WM) to adapt and transform technology and operations to ensure a greener environment for residents. Together, Garland and these organizations were able to upgrade MCRC to a mixed recycling system. MCRC’s ability to process mixed recycling has enabled a one-bin system for residents. MCRC and WM continue make moves to ensure a cleaner environment for future generations with its latest installation of a new Optical Container Sorting System. This four-million-dollar system, fully funded by WM, replaces hand sorting. The Optical Sorting System will make it possible to process an additional 5,000 tons of waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.


Private Sector Leadership Award – Lauren Sweeney

Lauren Sweeney is the founder of DeliverZero, the ecofriendly food delivery service that is looking to end single-use plastic waste. DeliverZero creates a system of food containers that are returned and reused. These containers give both customers and restaurants the option to make takeout more ecofriendly. The company predicts that when their solution replaces one-million single-use containers, over 25 tons of packaging waste will be diverted from landfills, over 440,000 gallons of water will be saved and 110 tons of GHG emissions will be avoided. DeliverZero is also good for small businesses. They save restaurants 40% on packaging costs and a recent survey found that 86% of customers ordered from a restaurant they had never tried before because they were on DeliverZero.


Educational Institution Leadership Award – Kate Spector

Kate Spector, the Oswego County Division of Solid Waste, and SUNY Oswego partnered in October 2021 to start a composting project at the college. Through continuous monitoring and feedback, the pilot program has successfully diverted 50,000 pounds of food waste from landfills and incinerators, as well as assisting Bristol Hill Transfer Station’s pursuit in becoming a designated organics recycling location. Reception and feedback have encouraged other innovative composting expansions on campus. Spector and the pilot project provided composting services for both the Employee Appreciation and Campus Opening Picnics.