Contact: Barbara Skoglund, 651-296-5965
Saint Paul, Minn. - The Governor's Award for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention was awarded to six businesses at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Air, Water and Waste Environmental Conference. In its 16th year, the annual Governor's Awards honor superior environmental achievement by Minnesota's businesses, nonprofits and private institutions.
In addition, 13 governmental organizations were honored with MnGREAT Awards. The Minnesota Government Reaching Environmental Achievements Together (MnGREAT) Awards recognize environmental achievements by government employees or organizations in the areas of pollution prevention, toxicity reduction, waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, recycling and composting.
Governor's Award Winners:
Allina Medical Laboratories, Metro Hospitals: completed a chemical inventory, eliminated many toxic chemicals and saved more than $31,000 annually.
Green Institute's ReUse Center and DeConstruction Services, Minneapolis: facilitates the reuse of construction materials and diverts tons of materials from landfills. More than 60,000 transactions a year save customers and donors roughly $30 million.
Northern Engraving Corporation, Spring Grove: systematically found and reduced waste and emissions, saving $100,000 in one year by reducing hazardous waste and air pollutants, switching solvents and recycling materials.
Sappi, Cloquet: systematically analyzed chemical processes at their plant to optimize energy use. They use 95 percent renewable energy, reuse water, decreased air pollutants and save more than $6 million a year.
Tastefully Simple, Alexandria: makes the environment an integral part of daily business operations by continually assessing and addressing methods by which they can benefit the environment.
Tennant Company, Golden Valley: implemented numerous, diverse waste-reduction efforts. They save more than $1.4 million a year by conserving energy and water and reducing solid and hazardous waste.
Carlton County Transportation Department: carefully demolished a 1940s era concrete building, recycled many components and sent only 1.5 tons of material to the landfill out of a potential 480 tons.
City of Mankato: partnered with Calpine Corporation to reuse treated wastewater. Calpine Corporation uses water that normally would be discharged into the Minnesota River a second time, resulting in better water quality, reduced phosphorus and better aquatic habitat.
City of Plymouth: expanded its Public Safety and City Hall while keeping the environmental footprint to a minimum. Plymouth's green building efforts conserve the energy equivalent to unplugging 25 homes.
Elk River Energy City: installed a landfill gas-to-electric generating plant, generating approximately $2.2 million worth of electricity from an otherwise unexploited source, reducing the need for more or larger power plants. They earned a second award for Energy House III. The model provides homeowners and builders with a template of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies that can be applied in any residential house.
Heron Lake Watershed District: formed Watershed Assistance through Education and Resources (WATER) in 1996. A comparison of 1992 results to 2005 shows that phosphorous concentrations have decreased 61 percent, and suspended solids have decreased by 17 percent from two inlets to Heron Lake.
Metropolitan Council Environmental Services: built a new Solids Management Building that reduced air emissions of many pollutants by 95 percent, reduced natural gas usage by 80 percent and saved $600,000 annually in avoided electricity costs and greenhouse gases.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Environmental Services: developed a technique to treat excavated petroleum-contaminated soil. Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil have been treated, reused and kept out of the landfill by using this technique.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: worked with dozens of public and private partners to create the first-of-its-kind Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Unique exhibits allowed approximately 350,000 visitors to interact with cutting-edge displays on renewable energy, new fuels and vehicles, green buildings, and other sustainable topics.
Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District: built a facility that not only has a minimal ecological impact but also incorporates several green building designs. The new facility increases water quality in the area, conserves energy and water, and incorporates recycled products into the building all while maintaining economic efficiency.
Redwood County Environmental Office: developed the Mobile Environmental Education Transport (MEET), a custom-built, 30-foot enclosed trailer that contains many hands-on environmental educational tools.
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community: built the most advanced wastewater reclamation facility in Minnesota. Approximately 85 million gallons of water will be saved each year at this model facility. Biosolids will be reduced by 1.1 million pounds annually, saving $200,000 and water pollutants will drop 25,000 pounds per year.
Western Lake Superior Sanitary District: began a food waste composting drop-site program, as part of its continuing effort to recover and divert all organic material from the district's garbage. The project is the first of its kind in the U.S.
More information about the Minnesota Governor's Awards for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention and the MnGREAT Awards can be found at www.pca.state.mn.us/oea/p2/govaward.cfm.