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Pollution Prevention

Pollution Prevention > Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence > Governor's Award Categories Governor's Award Categories

The Governor's Awards consists of the following seven categories:

Energy/Renewable Resources

This category is for projects or programs that prevent pollution by either reducing energy use or by producing energy using zero- or very-low-emission technologies. It includes efforts to significantly increase the energy efficiency of buildings or equipment, the use of environmentally-benign energy production technologies, and the use of innovative technologies that will reduce dependence upon traditional fossil-fuel-based energy sources.

Greening the Government

This category recognizes individuals, facilities or agencies within local, county or state government who facilitate the development of efforts to improve the environmental performance within their own operations. Nominees can include specific programs, such as an environmental education program for government employees, an internal recycling collection program, a program for purchasing recycled-content and environmentally preferable products, the implementation of pollution prevention and energy efficiency strategies, or the development of programs to reduce impacts of employee transportation to and from the workplace. In order to be eligible in this category, the project/program must demonstrate how the specific environmental program fits into a broader comprehensive Greening the Government effort, which includes at least three in-house, environmentally-focused program areas. Additional consideration will be given to programs/projects that involve the collaboration of several agencies/entities.

Land Use

This category recognizes projects that incorporate innovative and effective methods or practices to preserve or improve land use. Examples of projects could include the revitalization of underutilized or contaminated land, the preservation of green space, or the reduction of sprawl. Specific examples include Brownfield’s redevelopment; increasing density/decreasing lot size; building public space; turning abandoned landfills into parks, preserves, or other productive uses; implementing innovative smart growth policies or comprehensive plans; and preserving farmland. Special consideration will be given to projects that prevent pollution or include extensive public participation. Additional consideration will be given to programs/projects that involve the collaboration of several agencies/entities.

Outreach or Education

This category recognizes excellence in education or outreach programs that promote environmental stewardship or result in enhanced environmental protection. Examples of programs could include creative school presentations and assemblies, hands-on group activities, green marketing techniques, or business outreach and media campaigns. One-day events are not eligible. Collaborative efforts are encouraged, and will be given additional consideration.

Pollution Prevention

This category is for entities who have implemented one or more pollution prevention projects in the last year. The project must meet the definition of pollution prevention to be eligible. A facility in this category has reduced the use of hazardous materials or the risk of an accident involving the release of a hazardous material through pollution prevention. Examples of projects in this category could focus on one or more of the following: input change, product reformulation, and production process redesign and/or modification.

Projects are frequently submitted in the Pollution Prevention category that do not meet the definition of pollution prevention and are therefore not eligible. The most common ineligible projects include those involving treatment of waste or releases after waste is generated; recycling water or other waste materials; and overall general environmental management practices rather than a specific project that resulted from an environmental management system.

If you are unsure whether your project meets the definition of pollution prevention, please contact the IDEM Office of Compliance Support at (800) 988-7901 for additional assistance.


This category recognizes outstanding reuse or recycling programs that use innovative methods to reduce the amount of waste sent for final disposal. Projects can address residential, commercial, or industrial waste streams or “buy recycled” purchasing initiatives. The nominated project should be comprehensive and include source reduction, reuse, recycling and buying recycled components. Examples of such projects could include commercial business operations that have fully integrated waste reduction operations, entities that have achieved a documented 50 percent recycling rate, programs that have created extensive “buy recycled” purchasing policies and practices, and schools that have implemented comprehensive recycling/waste reduction programs. Additional consideration will be given to programs/projects that involve the collaboration of several agencies/entities.

Five Years Continuous Improvement

This category applies to any business or industry that has achieved proven environmental results through a comprehensive environmental management system, such as ISO-14001. Those eligible for this award may not have an individual project that meets the high standards for a Governor’s Award in one of the other award categories, but rather the compilation of several projects resulting from an environmental management system has led to significant environmental benefits. Nominees must verify that the environmental management system has been in place at the facility for at least five (5) years. Only those applications demonstrating exceptional continued environmental excellence through proven results will be considered for an award.