Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

State Environmental Awards Programs


Many states use awards programs as an incentive to reward companies who adopt pollution prevention (P2) strategies. In 1981, North Carolina began the first pollution prevention awards program, calling it the Governor's Award for Excellence in Waste Reduction. The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (formerly the Illinois Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center, then renamed the Illinois Waste Management and Research Center) began giving Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards in 1987 and has the oldest continuing program.

Some other interesting facts about environmental awards programs:

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State-By-State Summary of Programs


Name: Awards in Pollution Prevention
Started: 2000?
Sponsored by: Alabama Department of Environmental Management P2 Unit
Notes: They don't seem to have presented awards in 2003 or 2004. There is a 2005 application on the web site.




AZ DEQ discontinued the Arizona Pollution Prevention Leadership Enhancement Awards. Arizona Clean & Beautiful (the Arizona affiliate of Keep America Beautiful) added a pollution prevention category to their Governor's Pride in Arizona Awards program in 1998.


None. They promote EPA's National Environmental Performance Track program to Arkansas businesses ( Case studies from Arkansas companies participating in the National Performance Track are at


Name: Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards
Started: 1993
Sponsored by: California Environmental Protection Agency and Governor's Office (Governor's Office issues the press release announcing the winners)
Notes: Award categories include Children's Environmental Education, Ecosystem and Watershed Stewardship, Sustainable Practices or Facilities, Environmental and Economic Partnerships, Comprehensive Land Use Planning, Technological and Market Innovation, and Sustainable Communities.


Name: Pollution Prevention Champions
Started: 1997
Sponsored by: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Pollution Prevention Program and the Colorado Environmetal Partnership
WWW: (links to 2005 application), (links to winners 1997-2004), (links to 2005 winners).
Notes: State also has an environmental leadership program (, which is tiered like EPA's National Performance Track.


Name: GreenCircle Awards Program
Started: 1998
Sponsored by: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
Notes: Does not appear to be competitive. There is an application process but anyone who implements one of the suggested projects receives an award. Project categories include energy conservation, transportation, pollution prevention & recycling, and promotion of natural resource conservation or environmental awareness. Descriptions of winning projects are at


No pollution prevention awards, but they do have a Young Environmentalist of the Year award. See for information about the 2005 program and Story1.asp?offset=50&PRID=1733 for information about the 2005 winner.


No specific P2 awards program. Awards programs appear to be administered by various offices within the Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies. Programs include:

Domestic Wastewater Program Excellence Awards, which are given to wastewater treatment plants and POTWs and include P2 (see

Commissioner's Agricultural-Environmental Awards, given through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (see

Jiminy Cricket's Environmentality Challenge, given through the Department of Environmental Protection and co-sponsored by the Walt Disney World Company ( environmentality_challenge/04/default.htm). Open to fifth grade classes. For infomation about the 2005 award winners, see


Name: P2AD Partnership Program
Started: 1997
Sponsored by: Georgia Department of Natural Resources Pollution Prevention Assistance Division
Notes: This program is similar to the National Performance Track. Used to have the Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards, but these are no longer listed on the website as of October 2005.


No awards program. The state does have the Hawaii Green Business Program, a partnership between the Departments of Health; and Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (see It's performance track type program. Includes water conservation, energy efficiency, and pollution prevention.


Name: Idaho GemStars
Started: 1999
Sponsored by: Governor's Pollution Prevention Advisory Committee
Notes: Membership program with three tiers of participation. No annual awards.


Name: Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards
Started: 1987
Sponsored by: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
Notes: Oldest continuing program in the U.S.


Name: Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence
Started: 1994
Sponsored by: The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), in cooperation with the Governor's Office, Lieutenant Governor's Office of Energy Policy, the Indiana Department of Administration, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Notes: Also sponsors the Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge program, which is a voluntary recognition program for local governments within the state. The program began in 2004 and is administered by IDEM in partnership with several other state agencies. The CLEAN Community Challenge asks local governments to implement environmental management systems, called Quality of Life Plans, with support from local residents and businesses. More information can be found at


Name: Governor's Iowa Environmental Excellence Awards
Started: 2000?
Sponsored by: Coordinated by the Governor’s Office, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Iowa Waste Reduction Center.
Notes: Includes energy efficiency, pollution prevention, technological innovation, natural resources protection and conservation, and environmental education.


Name: Kansas Pollution Prevention Awards and Recognition Program
Started: 1994
Sponsored by: Kansas Department of Health and Environment


Name: Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards
Started: 1997?
Sponsored by: Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet
WWW: 2003+and+2002+EEA+winners.htm
Notes: It's unclear whether awards have been presented since 2003.


Name: Governor's Environmental Leadership Awards
Started: 1997?
Sponsored by: Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Governor hosts the program.
Notes: Companies must be members of the Louisiana Environmental Leadership P2 Program.


Name: Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence
Started: 1994
Sponsored by: Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Notes: Includes awards for STEP-UP (performance track program), environmental stewardship, public health & the environment, educational outreach, greenhouse gas reduction, and pollution prevention.


Name: Tawes Award for a Clean Environment
Started: 1977
Sponsored by: Maryland Department of Environment and Maryland Petroleum Council
WWW: citizen_participation/tawes_awards2003.asp
Notes: The Tawes Award is an environmental recognition program sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Petroleum Council (MPC) in the name of late Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes, who was also the state's first secretary of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The award is open to any individual, civic, community, or non-profit entity that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to enhance Maryland's environment over a period of time or with a single project. More of an environmental stewardship award than a pollution prevention award.


Name: Governor's Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Toxics Use Reduction
Started: 1994
Sponsored by: Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute
Notes: Established in 1994 to recognize and award outstanding achievement in Toxics Use Reduction. Awards go to industrial or commercial businesses, public or private institutions, nonprofit organizations, community groups or other public and private enterprises or individuals who have demonstrated leadership and outstanding results in toxics use reduction. Winners are recognized for their role in reducing at the source the use, generation or release of toxic substances. Not clear if this is still an active program. Last winners listed are from 1998.


Name: Clean Corporate Citizen
Started: 1996
Sponsored by: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Notes: Established by statute. Isn't an awards program per se. Rather, companies participate on an ongoing basis and receive public recognition of their participation. DEQ also has an award for DEQ staff to encourage regulatory integration of P2.

Name: Green Chemistry Governor’s Award
Started: 2008
Sponsored by: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Notes: The Governor's Awards recognize advances that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, or use, or that promote activities which support or implement those technologies and efforts. Awards are open to individuals, groups, and organizations, both non-profit and for profit. The program was established by the Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable, and it celebrates innovations using green chemistry in Michigan. Eleven awards have been presented in the first three years of the program.


Name: The Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention
Started: 1991
Sponsored by: Governor's Office (by statue (1990 Minnesota Toxic Pollution Prevention Act) the award comes from here) and the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance

Name: Minnesota Environmental Initiative Awards
Started: 1994
Sponsored by: Minnesota Environmental Initiative
Notes: The Environmental Initiative Awards honor innovative projects that have achieved extraordinary environmental outcomes by harnessing the power of partnership. MEI believes that partnership is an effective way to find solutions to Minnesota's environmental problems. Many of Minnesota’s most innovative environmental projects have succeeded through collaboration, often involving partners from business, nonprofit, and government sectors. MEI established the Environmental Initiative Awards in 1994 to honor these projects and their many partners, to inspire other organizations to create similar successful projects, and to encourage innovative collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving. Awards are given in five categories: Energy and Climate Protection; Environmental Education; Green Building, Development, and Land Use; Green Business and Environmental Management; and Natural Resource Protection and Restoration.




Name: Governor's Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention Awards
Started: 2000?
Sponsored by: Missouri Chamber of Commerce (applications go here), Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and Choose Environmental Excellence
Notes: Has a technology innovation category. Other categories include statewide P2, management systems, market development, outreach and education, technical assistance, and land use. Not clear if this is still an active program. Last application available is for the 2004 awards.


Name: EcoStar Awards
Started: 1996
Sponsored by: Montana Pollution Prevention Program
Notes: A P2 certification/recognition program. Includes energy efficiency and pollution prevention.





New Hampshire

Name: Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention
Started: 1993
Sponsored by: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services P2 Program
Notes: Includes a technology category. Descriptions of eligible projects include energy efficiency and recycling.

New Jersey

Name: New Jersey Environmental Excellence Awards
Started: 1999
Sponsored by: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology, and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities
Notes: Categories include clean air, clean water, environmental education, environmental leadership, environmental stewardship, health ecosystems, innovative technology, land conservation, and safe & healthy communities.

New Mexico

Name: Green Zia Environmental Excellence Program
Started: 1999?
Sponsored by: New Mexico Environmental Alliance
Notes: Participants in the program are eligible for awards from the governor each year.

New York

Name: New York State Environmental Excellence Awards
Started: 2004
Sponsored by: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Notes: Started in 1994 as the New York State Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention (see In 2004, incorporated into the Environmental Excellence Awards. Looks for projects that demonstrate innovation, sustainability, and partnership. Includes projects that address pollution prevention, waste reduction and recycling, stormwater management, watershed planning, energy efficiency, brownfield redevelopment, habitat protection and restoration, land conservation, and other environmental protection initiatives.

North Carolina

Name: North Carolina Environmental Stewardship Initiative
Started: 2000?
Sponsored by: North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of P2 and Environmental Assistance
Notes: A performance based program similar to EPA's National Performance Track. North Carolina's Governor's Awards for Excellence in Waste Reduction were awarded from 1981-1999. See for more information.

North Dakota



Name: Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards
Started: 1993-1999 (don't appear to be any awarded since then)
Sponsored by: Ohio EPA Office of P2?
WWW: (Has case studies and factsheets but no info about awards program)

Name: Governor's Award for Excellence in Energy
Started: 1994
Sponsored by: Ohio Department of Development, Office of Energy Efficiency
WWW:'sAward.htm; Summaries of previous award recipients at and 04%20WINNERS%20TEMPLATE%20MASTER%20DOC.pdf (2004).
Notes: Honors individuals, businesses, industries and organizations that have improved Ohio's economic competitiveness and its environment through the effective, efficient, and innovative use of energy.


Name: Environmental Performance and Recognition Program
Started: ?
Sponsored by: Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Customer Service Division Pollution Prevention Program
Notes: Performance track program based on the Malcolm Baldrige Business Performance Excellence Criteria and the Oklahoma Quality Award Foundation ( program. Used to have Excellence in Pollution Prevention Awards and Recognition (, which appears to have ceased in 2002.


No P2 awards. However, they do give Waste Reduction Awareness Program Awards to schools and individuals to encourage recycling, in partnership with the Association of Oregon Recyclers (see Also has a page of links to recognition programs within Oregon as well as nationally ( Most of these deal with recycling.


Name: Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence (1994-1995 -- Governor's Waste Minimizations Awards)
Started: 1996
Sponsored by: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance (applications go here but the governor's office gets top billing on the application).
WWW: Applications located on the Pennsylvania DEP web site. Search for "awards" in the search box on the main page to locate the current year's application. The 2001 award winners are at For a list of winners, see Latest awards appear to be from 2004.
Notes: In 2001, started Governor's Award for Sustainability. Award categories include resource protection, land use, energy efficiency, and education & outreach. Pennsylvania DEP also awards the Phoenix Awards for Brownfields Redevelopment.

Rhode Island


South Carolina

Name: Governor's Pollution Prevention Award
Started: 1991
Sponsored by: The Technical Advisory Committee for the Hazardous Waste Management Research Fund (within the University of South Carolina Institute for Public Service and Policy Research ) reviews entries, select finalists and recommends winners to the Office of the Governor.

Name: South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP)
Started: 1998
Sponsored by: SCEEP Advisory Committee made up of SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Sierra Club, Woman League of Voters, Trade Associations, Chamber of Commerce and academia; oversight is with the University of South Carolina Institute for Public Service and Policy Research.
Notes: Membership is based on a 2 year renewal cycle.

South Dakota



Name: Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards 
Started: 1986
Sponsored by: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Supported by the Governor's Office
Notes: The awards are presented to individuals and organizations making significant contributions to the protection and improvement of Tennessee's natural resources and wildlife.


Name: Texas Environmental Excellence Awards
Started: 1993
Sponsored by: Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission. Presented on behalf of the Governor of Texas and the TNRCC Commissioners.


Name: Environmentalist of the Year
Sponsored by: Environmental Research and Education Foundation
Notes: $50,000 cash award. Nominations are sought internationally. Both individuals and corporations are eligible.


Name: Vermont Governor's Awards for Environ

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