Broward County businesses committed to protecting the environment are being encouraged to apply to be recognized by the county’s Emerald Award Environmental Excellence Program. Created by the Broward County Pollution Prevention, Remediation and Air Quality Division, the program honors businesses, government organizations and individuals who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to protecting and preserving the environment.

The trophy for the Business of the Year will be presented by the Broward County Commission at the annual awards presentation and reception in April 2012.

“We encourage consumers and other businesses throughout the county to patronize local businesses that respect the environment and qualify for an Emerald Award,” said Kay Sommers, team leader of the program.

Businesses that apply for an award are required to be free of environmental enforcement actions for a full year prior to the date the application is submitted.

Companies may qualify for an award in the following categories, which may include additional requirements:

Pollution Prevention/Hazardous Waste Reduction: Facilities, business and government entities that excel in reducing or eliminating pollution or waste, while increasing the efficient and sustainable use of resources at the source, instead of at the end-of-the-pipe or stack, must have a Hazardous Material Management Facility license to be eligible for an award in this category.  Example: using a less toxic parts cleaner instead of mineral spirits.

Recycling: Facilities, business, or government entities that make a significant contribution to reducing solid waste that is deposited into a landfill by recycling at least 30 percent of all solid waste generated at one location. Example: collecting scrap metal and having it picked up for reuse, rather than throwing it away.

Green Practices/Innovation: Companies or organizations that sell, manufacture or produce products and services that generate less toxic pollution and waste, conserve natural resources and habitats, encourage sustainable behavior, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion.

This category also recognizes entities that institute the use of technology upgrades or changes to processes in order to generate less waste, become more energy efficient, or to conserve natural resources. Example: selling recycled paper or selling less toxic cleaners or retrofitting your lighting system to reduce your electricity demand.

Climate Change Leader: A private or public organization that demonstrates great strides in addressing climate change and measurable activities that achieve operational and community benefits, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the promotion of behavioral change to employees and customers. Organizations with established annual reduction targets will also be evaluated based on their progress toward meeting the reduction target.

NatureScape Broward: Recognizes certified businesses, municipalities, schools, government facilities and homeowners that have created and maintained landscapes that are drought-tolerant, provide food, water, and shelter for wildlife and use best landscape management practices.

Applicants who successfully fulfill the requirements for any of the categories become eligible for an Emerald Award Certificate. Recipients’ names and addresses will be placed on the Emerald Award Web site and they will receive exposure recognizing their achievements.

At the end of the calendar year, all Emerald Award Certificate recipients will be reviewed and the recipients that excel in each category may be selected for an Emerald Award Trophy.

Trophy winners will be invited to an awards ceremony and reception, where an Environmental Business of the Year Emerald Award will be presented to the one recipient who has excelled in efforts to protect the environment.

Applications are due by Nov. 30. 

For more information on qualifying for an award, call Sommers at 954-519-1257, e-mail or visit prevention and click EMERALD AWARDS