From big business to small community initiatives, this year’s Emerald Awards showcased an impressive selection of Central Ohio focused projects aimed to improve the awareness and impact of environmentalism. Nine coveted awards honoring environmental excellence in Franklin County were presented at SWACO’s fifth annual Central Ohio Emerald Awards luncheon on Thursday, May 13, at the Aladdin Shrine Center at Easton, Ohio.

“We congratulate our award winners as well as all the nominees for the 2010 Central Ohio Emerald Awards,” said SWACO executive director Ron Mills. “These community leaders understand that going green brings a better life for all of us in Greater Columbus. I hope these examples will act as motivation for many other local businesses, non-profits and students to step forward and begin to work on waste reduction and recycling programs. “

Board of Trustees
This year’s highest honor, the Board of Trustees Award, was given to G & J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers of Columbus for the example that they have set for PepsiCo operations nationwide. In the last year, G & J Pepsi has cut waste to landfills by 17 percent, reduced by 589,000 gallons the wastewater sent to treatment plants, and has installed new routing software that has saved more than $1 million in fuel costs.

Leadership
Donatos Pizzeria received the 2010 Emerald Award for Leadership. With a commitment to become “landfill free,” Donatos manufacturing and home office reduced total landfill waste by more than 99 percent. That includes the recycling of 342,000 pounds of scrap pizza dough into animal feed.

Chairman’s Award
The Chairman’s Award was presented to Mayor Michael B. Coleman for the many environmental initiatives that he has implemented in the City of Columbus. Among those projects; the 1,600-member “Green Spot” marketing program and the Litter Clean-Up finalist, KickButt Columbus!

Young & Green
The “Young & Green” Award was created this year by the SWACO Board of Trustees to honor students ages 12-18. This award was given to Amelia Pierson of Westerville North High School for creating her own school hall passes printed on paper that she makes.

Partnership
The Emerald for Partnership for 2010 is presented to the Columbus Clippers for the development of their eco-friendly baseball stadium, Huntington Park. Working with Rumpke, the Clippers recycled 220 tons of paper, cardboard, plastics and even the grass clippings. The stadium also features many “green-focused” amenities including open air corporate suites with ceiling fans instead of air-conditioned rooms.

Innovation
E3: Columbus is the 2010 recipient of The Emerald for Innovation, and is a coordinated federal and local initiative that is designed to offer solutions for improved sustainability. Partnering with American Electric Power; the City of Columbus; TechSolve; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Energy, and the Department of Commerce, this pilot program is expected to be replicated across the country saving large amounts of energy, cutting waste and reducing emissions.

Litter Clean-Up
The City of Whitehall and Mayor John Wolfe have been recognized with the Litter Clean-Up Emerald Award. Partnering with the city, more than 525 volunteers assisted in picking up litter along Whitehall streets and alleys as well as city parks. Through their efforts, 345 bags of trash were collected during a one day event.

Environmental Education
In the Emerald category of Environmental Education, the City of Columbus, GreenSpot Program, was selected. GreenSpot is an educational program that engages residents and businesses in the City of Columbus by issuing window decals to identify environmentally friendly locations. Currently, there are over 1,600 certified GreenSpot areas, and the free program is now being offered to anyone in central Ohio.

Entrepreneurship
The Emerald winner in the Entrepreneurship category is Daniel Weisenbach, founder of Weisenbach Recycled Products. Dan’s Columbus Company collects one ton-a-month of hard-to-recycle local glass and processes it into new trophies.

The presenting sponsor for the 2010 Central Ohio Emeralds is gridSMART from AEP Ohio. Additional support is provided by G & J Pepsi-Cola Bottling, Ohio Mulch, Kurtz Brothers, Rumpke, Battelle, Coca-Cola North America, Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. and Ohio CAT.