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Kentucky businesses and organizations win environmental awards

Frankfort, Ky. The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) honored the six recipients of its 2015 Environmental Excellence Awards during the Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment.

Through this awards program, the department recognized the efforts and activities of individuals, businesses or organizations that are committed to protecting and improving Kentucky’s environment.

The 2015 award recipients are:

KY EXCEL Champion Award: Central Motor Wheel of America (CMWA). CMWA, of Paris, set a goal to have zero-waste-to-landfill by Jan. 1, 2017, but accomplished this goal in Aug. 2014. Facility employees are trained and given visual reminders and containers for recycling. The company’s goal was achieved due to employees’ participation and management’s willingness to increase spending by sending nonrecyclables, such as food scraps, restroom trash and nonhazardous paint filters, to Covanta, in Indianapolis, where wastes are converted to energy.

Community Environmental Luminary Award: Highland CemeteryFort Mitchell’s Highland Cemetery established a Wildlife Enhancement Trust Fund to preserve and enhance 150 acres of undeveloped cemetery property, including four miles of nature trails. There are no-mow zones and nest boxes that attract a wide variety of wildlife species, including bluebirds, wrens, kestrels, chickadees, screech owls, great horned owls, squirrels and raccoons. Dead trees have been left standing to provide food, nesting and den sites for the wildlife.

Resource Caretaker Award: American Cave Conservation Association. The American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA), a member of KY EXCEL, is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to educating stakeholders about the need to protect Kentucky’s sensitive karst ecosystem. ACCA was responsible for supervising and supporting college student teams in cleaning tons of household debris, discarded building supplies, rotting furniture, moldy clothes and dirty diapers from illegal dumps that threaten the upper Green River Watershed, one of the country’s most diverse biospheres. Thousands of pounds of aluminum cans, appliances, tires and automobile parts were collected and recycled.

Environmental Pacesetter Award for an Individual/Organization: GleanKY. GleanKY’s mission is to gather and redistribute excess fruits and vegetables to nourish Kentucky’s hungry. This is done by collecting produce from farms, orchards, farmers’ markets, grocery stores and personal gardens and donating it to more than 50 feeding programs in Central Kentucky. Not only does this feed the hungry, but it keeps methane-producing rotting food out of landfills. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Environmental Pacesetter Award for a Small Business: YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. YKK (U.S.A.) Inc., in Lawrenceburg, purchased a property with several environmental issues and voluntarily proceeded in the remediation of those inherited environmental concerns, spending millions of dollars. In 2005, YKK became one of the first companies to be certified under ISO 14001 Environmental Standards. YKK funded and constructed a nature-habitat trail with benches, which it still maintains, at a local elementary school. Each year, YKK celebrates International Environment Day by planting trees, installing birdhouses, building nature trails and protecting the environment.

Environmental Pacesetter Award for a Medium to Large Business: Leggett & Platt Inc., Branch 0002, Winchester Spring. Leggett & Platt Inc., a manufacturer of bedding components for mattresses and box springs, uses significant amounts of recycled materials in its manufacturing processes. Its waste-stream management focuses on maximizing recycling and minimizing the need to landfill, with garbage pickups once a quarter versus every other day. In 2014, the company recycled 1,760 pounds of aluminum cans, 3,943 pounds of plastic bottles, 2,699 pounds of plastic packaging materials, 60,719 pounds of paper/cardboard, 46,393 pounds of fabric and 1,052,940 pounds of scrap steel. The company also has projects to cut energy usage and promote community cleanups and vehicle fuel efficiency.

“The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection is pleased to recognize some of the environmental leaders in Kentucky and use their achievements as examples to others,” said R. Bruce Scott, DEP commissioner. “Our department is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the Commonwealth’s environment, and we are happy to honor others’ strong commitment to environmental stewardship.”