Lipton takes governor’s award

Published 9:43 pm Friday, April 9, 2010

The Suffolk location of Lipton Tea continues to reap honors and awards for its environmental sustainability program.

Gov. Bob McDonnell this week announced the winners of the 2010 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards. Lipton was one of four gold medal winners of the awards, which are given in three categories.

Lipton won in the environmental program category for its sustainability improvement program, which includes a zero-landfill initiative, energy reductions and other improvements.

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“This is just another piece of significant recognition, which we’re really proud of,” Suffolk plant manager Ted Narozny said. “I believe the reason we took the highest award was employee involvement, which was recognized as best in class, and the sharing we’ve been doing with local businesses and partners in the community.”

Narozny attended an awards ceremony Wednesday at the Environment Virginia 2010 Symposium in Lexington to receive the award on behalf of the facility’s employees.

The awards recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in three categories: environmental projects, environmental programs and land conservation. They are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and individuals.

The Suffolk plant, which manufactures Lipton tea bags, pyramids, dry mix and to-go sticks, began its sustainability program with several goals in mind. Workers accomplished one significant goal — eliminating landfill waste — in September.

The facility now recycles about 70 percent of its waste. About 22 percent gets composted at McGill Composting in Sussex, and the remaining 8 percent is converted to renewable energy at the Southeastern Public Service Authority’s waste-to-energy plant.

“It is critical that all Virginians work to better protect our environment,” McDonnell said. “This begins with promoting green initiatives and conservation throughout the state. The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards represent some of the best activities in Virginia that focus on protecting our natural resources. I congratulate all the winners, and all the entrants in the competition, for their ongoing commitment to bettering Virginia’s environment.”

Other winners of the awards were:

James Madison University in the environmental program category, for the work of its Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World.

Wetlands Studies and Solutions Inc., of Gainesville, in the environmental project category, for its new green headquarters building.

In the land conservation category, protection of Crow’s Nest Peninsula by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Stafford County, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and the DEQ Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program.

Award winners were chosen based on criteria including environmental benefit, stakeholder involvement, public outreach and innovativeness.