Gov. Eric Holcomb has awarded the state’s top environmental award to six organizations from across Indiana.
The six recipients of the 2020 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence were announced by Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott during the 23rd annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Tradeshow Sept. 16 and 17.
The award is given every year to Hoosiers, Indiana facilities, local and state governments and organizations that have implemented innovative environmental practices.
“Our 2020 Governor’s Award winners have made great strides in improving Indiana’s environment,” said Pigott. “By using innovative environmental practices, they have reduced waste, saved money and contributed greatly to environmental protection efforts for Hoosiers.”
The awards recognized recipients in six categories:
Energy Efficiency/Renewable Resources
- Vuteq Indiana, Princeton, for “Energy Reduction Grid Tied Solar Energy System”
Vuteq Indiana’s Princeton plant assembles vehicle parts for the neighboring Toyota manufacturing plant. The company implemented a large-scale solar project in 2019, a 1.5-megawatt rooftop solar system with more than 4,440 panels. The solar power generated by the panels will provide up to 50% of the plant’s annual electricity needs.
- Indiana University, Bloomington, for “Education for Environmental Change”
Indiana University’s “Education for Environmental Change” program helped teachers learn to teach about climate change. Through a three-day workshop, university scientists helped provide data-driven classroom lessons and age-appropriate, hands-on activities to help K-12 students understand the science behind climate change and its effects. Since 2017, more than 80 educators from around the state have taken part in the program, potentially impacting around 15,000 students.
Five-Year Continuous Improvement:
- Cummins, Inc. Engine Plant, Columbus, for “Environmental Management System Projects”
Cummins has implemented five environmentally-beneficial projects at its Columbus engine plant. The company upgraded its lighting to energy efficient LED in 2017, implemented a manufacturing controls project between 2017 and 2019, implemented test cell process improvement projects from 2016 to 2019, launched a zero-waste landfill initiative between 2017 and 2018 and held a community recycling day annually since 2010.
Greening the Government
- City of Richmond Parks & Recreation Department for “Richmond Greenhouse Restoration Initiative.”
The Richmond Parks & Recreation Department’s Greenhouse Restoration Initiative removed dilapidated components from the city’s greenhouse and recycled components. The city was able to recycle nearly 24 tons of metal from the boiler house alone. The city also switched from buying plants for its greenhouse to growing plants from seeds and undertook a series of innovative and environmentally-friendly practices, like using compost instead of potting soil, tilling or raking playgrounds instead of using glyphosate, removing invasive plants and holding community plant sales.
- Elkhart County Soil & Water Conservation District, Elkhart, for “Stormwater Alliance Program (SWAMP)”
According to the state, SWAMP is a cost-share program that covers up to 75% of the total cost of each approved project. The program covers six best management practices that increase water quality. The program began in 2017 with just seven participants. It has since grown to 68 members. SWAMP has prevented more than 20,000 tons of soil from entering local waterways.
- Midwest Dairy Recycling, North Manchester, for “Dairy Recycling Program”
Midwest Dairy supplies its veal operations with calves from local dairies. While working with these dairies, Midwest Dairy learned of milk bottling companies throwing away outdated, nearly outdated, and/or damaged product. After contacting these milk bottling companies, Midwest Dairy constructed a system to collect liquid and dry products at a central location in North Manchester and redistribute the products to its veal operations across Indiana. Since the launch of the program in 2017, Midwest Dairy Recycling has recycled over 2.9 million gallons of dairy milk, 2.2 million pounds of hog feed, 444,568 pounds of plastic, and over 1.4 million pounds of baby formula.