City celebrates green innovations with Environmental Excellence Awards
Ottawa – City employees responsible for expanding Ottawa’s Blue Box program to recycle more types of plastics and divert this material from landfills, today received the 2012 Environmental Excellence Award in the Community category, while staff working to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the City’s fleet through the Electrical Vehicles Introduction project are the Internal category winners in 2012.
Councillor Maria McRae, Chair of the City’s Environment Committee, and City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick honoured the winners at a special presentation today at Environment Committee along with honourable mentions for a range of environmental initiatives to use sustainable products and processes.
“Our City is a leader amongst Canadian municipalities in sustainability and environmental initiatives that are making Ottawa a greener and better place to live,” said Chair McRae. “All the nominees and the winners of this year’s awards are providing a great service to our residents and to our future generations,” she added.
“The City is fortunate to have committed and innovative employees who are helping residents to be greener and more environmentally conscious,” said Kirkpatrick. ““These types of innovative programs help residents take actions that produce positive, long-lasting results for the future.”.”
This winning team developed a business case to support expanding the types of materials accepted in the Blue Box program. The inclusion of additional materials makes the Ottawa Blue Box Program more user-friendly (all plastic containers are now accepted), and this, in turn, increases overall citizen participation. As a result many more people are participating in the Blue Box Program and more materials are being collected for recycling.
In 2011, Fleet Services introduced the first electric vehicles into the City's fleet, acquiring four Zambonis and one electric car (Volt). Electric vehicles are recognized as significant contributors to reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gases. Electric vehicles cost less to repair over their lifetime and the initial capital costs are offset over the lifetime of the vehicle through reduced operating costs. The use of electric Zambonis has the added benefit of reducing the need for and cost of additional air ventilation systems in arenas to address current propane powered Zamboni exhaust fumes.
This year, 15 nominations were received in the Internal and Community categories with a total of 112 nominees. The Environmental Excellence Awards honours the innovation, leadership and efforts of employees who have made significant contributions in advancing the City’s commitment to a greener and more environmentally friendly and sustainable municipality.