Environmental Stewardship Award

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) offers Environmental Stewardship Awards annually to businesses, industries, and organizations that have made a significant improvement in protecting our environment by preventing pollution. This non-competitive annual award program recognizes projects that eliminate or reduce the generation of pollutants or wastes at the source or projects that conserve natural resources.

Pollution Reduction Rankings Graphic

As you can see in the Pollution Reduction Rankings illustration (JPG), recycling efforts do not qualify as projects for the Environmental Stewardship Awards. While recycling does divert waste from going to the landfill, the bottom line is that the waste was still generated. The goal of source reduction is to conserve resources and not generate pollutants in the first place.


Any Kansas business, industry, community or community group, school, or organization is eligible to apply for an Environmental Stewardship Award. To determine the success of the project, the project must have been implemented at least six months prior to the application, but no earlier than January 1, 2019. Recycling projects are not eligible. Applications from prior award recipients must denote new projects.

 These environmental stewardship efforts are in addition to or exceed what is required by law; therefore, submitted projects should be voluntary efforts to minimize or prevent industrial and environmental concerns. Compliance with current environmental laws and regulations will be taken into consideration during the review process.

Apply for an Environmental Stewardship Award

  1. Award Categories
  2. Submission Process
  3. Selection Process
  4. Awards Presentation


Awards will be issued within two categories; the Environmental Stewardship Award and the Environmental Stewardship with Distinction Award. Both awards use the same award application.

Environmental Stewardship Award

The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes projects that eliminate or reduce the generation of pollutants or wastes at the source or projects that conserve natural resources.

Environmental Stewardship with Distinction Award

The Environmental Stewardship with Distinction Award goes above and beyond the Environmental Stewardship Award by meeting at least one of the following distinctive qualifications:

  • Quantitative environmental health impacts (workers or the community).
  • The project can be used by similar organizations in different locations within the state.
  • Projects encompassing multiple processes or media.

Award Recipients

  1. 2023 Winner
  2. 2022 Winner Spotlight
  3. Award Archive

Congratulations to the Award Winner

The 2023 recipient of the Environmental Stewardship Award is Kalmar Solutions, LLC located in Ottawa, Kansas, for their project Containerization – Returnable Racking. 

In 2018, Kalmar launched their Zero Waste Landfill Facility initiative and returnable racking is one project within their larger plan. The large amount of wood, cardboard and plastic brought into the facility was a safety hazard for employees, in addition to being an environmental concern. Returnable racking eliminates waste sent for incineration and mitigates the safety hazard generated by the waste. 

This project has saved an estimated 5,534,399 pounds of non-hazardous waste produced and saved an estimated $174,303. 

Kalmar Solutions conducts monthly meetings to discuss sustainability projects and future goals. They also partner with the K-State Pollution Prevention Institute (PPI) and share information within their global companies on best practices on sustainability projects. The company is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany.