Learning from others: tips for locating P2 case studies

September 19th, 2017 by

Case studies are extremely valuable to pollution prevention technical assistance providers, but they can sometimes be difficult to find. Here are some search strategies for locating them, which you can use in WorldCat, literature databases, Google Scholar, or your favorite search engine.

  •  Try variations on your search terms.
    • Synonyms for pollution prevention include: waste reduction; waste minimization; source reduction; and cleaner production. Lean manfacturing may also yield relevant results.
    • Synonyms for case studies include best practices and success stories.
  • Use Google’s site: operator to locate case studies on specific web sites.

You can find links to P2 case study compilations on the Case Studies page of the P2 101 LibGuide.

 

 

Interns: A secret weapon to curb corporate pollution

September 18th, 2017 by

This piece, written by Cyrus Philbrick and Laura Barnes, originally appeared on GreenBiz in January, 2016 as a P2 Impact column.

In 1989, as part of a new program, the Illinois EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention placed a single student intern at an electroplating facility.

That student wrote a thorough report of pollution prevention (P2) recommendations. In 2004, one of the facility’s managers said that they were still using the report.

“Fifteen years later, they were still working through the list to implement one recommendation at a time,” said Richard Reese, director of the IEPA intern program. “That’s remarkable. And it shows some of the long term value of the program.”

Although many businesses and organizations want to become more sustainable, they often lack the time and money to implement specific projects. In many states around the country, intern programs are filling this demand by placing engineering and environmental science students at companies to conduct focused research on specific pollution prevention and energy efficiency projects.

As of November, about 44 pollution prevention internship programs exist in states around the country. IEPA currently places about 15 students per year at manufacturing facilities, trade associations, business development centers, government facilities and military installations. [update:  IEPA’s P2 intern program was discontinued in late 2016]

Each intern selected for the program is required to attend a one-week training class, which covers topics such as: net zero waste; energy efficiency (lighting, boilers, HVAC, motors/VFDs and air compressor systems); water conservation; process mapping; and renewable energy. Once on the job, the intern must adhere to a work schedule, follow company policies and regulations, work with other staffers and prepare bi-weekly progress reports.

Intern programs benefit students and businesses alike. Roger Price, director of the PennTAP intern program at Penn State University, praises the way the program lets students put theory into practice.

“The intern program allows students the first glimpse of how what they’ve been trained to do, to think and problem solve, applies to real world problems,” Price said. “I often hear them say, ‘Oh, now I see!’”

Measuring results

Bruce Dvorak, director of the Partners in Pollution Prevention (P3) program of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), gave numerous concrete examples of the ways that Nebraska businesses have benefitted from having dedicated student assistance with specific problems.

In one case, an ethanol plant traditionally had sent its waste sludge to a local landfill. The company had considered applying the sludge to farm fields but was concerned about running afoul of state environmental or agricultural laws.

A UNL intern helped the company sort through the legal, economic and environmental ramifications of the company’s waste disposal. By networking with both the state Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Quality, the intern uncovered a simple solution. Bio-solid sludge qualified as wet distiller’s grain and could therefore be sold as animal feed. Recycling the sludge eliminated sending 9 million pounds of it to the landfill each year.

Intern programs also appear to have long-term positive impacts on students and for the companies that eventually employ them.

“The greatest impact of the P3 program is the potential contribution student interns will make as they join the workforce,” Dvorak said.

Based on a series of studies conducted on his P3 Program as well as others, Dvorak suggests that students that have completed intensive intern programs are more likely to apply source reduction principles in their workplace and are more able to quantify the impact of implementation.

Businesses realize significant savings by implementing recommendations. In 2011 and 2012 alone, the IEPA program helped facilities save over $1.9 million in operating and disposal costs. Through recommendations implemented between 1997 and 2014, the UNL P3 program saved businesses an estimated $21.8 million.

“Interns have paid for themselves in every capacity,” said Chris Meyer, a plant manager at Eaton B-Line out of Troy, Illinois. “In what they implement while here, and also what they leave us with.”

Last summer, a student intern at Eaton B-Line, which manufactures and supports wiring components, helped institute a program to separate outgoing waste. The program has allowed the company to reclaim oils that it can reuse rather than pay to have them disposed of.

“Interns also leave us with a tremendous amount of improvement ideas that we can implement over time,” Meyer said. “They have helped reduce our carbon footprint and put us in a better position to be a better partner with both our environment and our community.”

Dvorak estimated that the UNL P3 program saves each participating business about $90,000 per year.

“The standard deviation on that number is huge,” Dvorak said. “About one-third to one-half of the recommendations that are implemented don’t have a measurable positive payback. But there are other indirect benefits, beyond cost, that motivate the company to implement changes.”

Dvorak also notes that interns often provide more cost savings to businesses than studies have been able to show. When quantifying the impact of intern recommendations, he typically considers only those recommendations implemented in the first year or two after interns leave.

“We know it’s not uncommon for businesses to implement changes three or four or five years later,” he said. “So in many cases intern recommendations continue to pay off years after the intern’s time at that organization ends.”

In the case of the company that continued to implement changes 15 years after an intern’s departure, Reese said, “I think that facility is happy with their investment in that student.”

For further suggestions and information about internship programs, contact your regional pollution prevention center via the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx).

Celebrate Pollution Prevention Week (September 17-23, 2017)

September 15th, 2017 by

In 1990, Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act. Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, celebrated during the third week of September each year (September 17-23, 2017),  highlights the efforts of EPA, its state partners, industry, and the public in preventing pollution right from the start. Here at GLRPPR, we’ll be publishing a P2 related blog post each day (starting Monday) and will also be spreading the P2 message on Twitter using the hashtag #P2Week.

The  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have information about events occurring throughout the country. The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable also has a handy P2 Week Toolkit from 2014 for organizations looking for ways to participate.

Within the region, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will hold its 20th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show on September 19-20 in Plainfield, IN. The theme is “Celebrating 20 Years of Pollution Prevention in Indiana.” The conference will also include presentations of the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence. Managing Risk Through Pollution Prevention, a full-day workshop held on the day before the IDEM conference, will lead companies to a better understanding of environmental risk management and how to reduce those risks with pollution prevention techniques. The day will combine lecture with hands on exercises to lead the group towards identification of specific practices they can undertake at their facilities to reduce risk.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has compiled a P2 Week Planner, which includes a sample resolution and press release.

Is your organization doing something for P2 Week? Let us know in the comments.

GLRPPR e-mail lists migrate to GLIN’s Google Groups

July 24th, 2017 by

GLRPPR’s mailing lists, Roundtable and P2Tech, have been managed by the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) for many years. Last week, GLIN began migrating these lists to Google Groups. If you’re a member of either of these lists, you should have received messages notifying you of this change.

You should have received invitations to join the new groups. If you haven’t seen them, check your spam/junk folder. Sometimes mail programs filter them there.

The posting addresses for these groups have not changed. They are:

Roundtable: roundtable@great-lakes.net
P2Tech: p2tech@great-lakes.net

If you want to read messages or post from the web (you have to be a member), go to:

Roundtable: https://groups.google.com/a/great-lakes.net/forum/#!forum/roundtable
P2Tech: https://groups.google.com/a/great-lakes.net/forum/#!forum/p2tech

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Barnes.

Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show and P2 and Risk Management Workshop, September 19-20, 2017

July 17th, 2017 by

The 20th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Tradeshow will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at the Palms Banquet and Conference Center in Plainfield, Indiana. This year’s conference theme is “Celebrating 20 Years of Pollution Prevention in Indiana.”

For the twentieth year, the Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention (Partners) are hosting a statewide pollution prevention conference and trade show. Conference topics will range from new and innovative pollution prevention technologies being used in Indiana to training on how pollution prevention (P2) can save facilities money.

This year’s conference features keynote speakers Mr. Tom Neltner, Chemicals Policy Director of the Environmental Defense Fund and Mr. Sam George, managing partner for Rivergreen Water Recycling. Mr. Neltner was a principal founder of the Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention and will share his perspective on the early days of the Partners for Pollution Prevention. Also a principal founder of the Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention, Mr. George will share his thoughts, from a manufacturing perspective, on the founding and early history of the Partners for Pollution Prevention and how it’s changed over the last 20 years.

The Partners Conference will also feature two concurrent breakout sessions and a tradeshow of exhibitors displaying their products and services to promote P2.

Cost: $100 (early-bird, ends August 15); After August 15, $125.

Register for the conference.

Pre-conference workshop

Managing Risk Through Pollution Prevention will be held at The Palms on September 19. This one day workshop will lead to a better understanding of environmental risk management for businesses and how to reduce those risks with pollution prevention techniques. Although all medias will be covered, there will be an emphasis on wastewater treatment risks and mitigation. The day will combine lecture with hands on exercises to lead the group towards identification of specific practices they can undertake at their facilities to reduce risk.

Cost: $150

Register for the workshop.

 

US EPA issues final TSCA framework rules

July 7th, 2017 by

Read the full story in Chemical Watch. Hat tip to Mary Buetow of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute for the pointer. Check out their bi-weekly Greenlist Bulletin.

Three final framework rules under the new TSCA, as well as scoping documents for the first ten substances subject to risk evaluation, were due to be issued by the US EPA within a matter of hours as Chemical Watch went to press today.

The release of the documents comes on the one-year anniversary of passage of the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – and on its statutory deadline for actions that must be completed within a year of the law’s passage.

The rules are:

  • the prioritisation rule, which outlines the process by which the EPA will prioritise existing chemicals for evaluating their risks, including the criteria for designating chemical substances as high-priority or low-priority substances for risk evaluation;
  • the risk evaluation rule, describing how the agency will evaluate the risk posed by existing substances to determine whether they present an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment; and
  • the ‘inventory reset’ rule, which lays out how the agency will designate substances on the TSCA inventory as ‘active’ and ‘inactive’.

See also:

Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable conference presentations now available

May 11th, 2017 by

Did you miss the Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Minneapolis last week? If so, you’ll want to check out the presentation slides and other resources, which are now available on the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable web site.

The conference featured Pollution Prevention 101 training, workshops on client engagement and materials substitution, and a hands-on technical tools session.

New data summary report: Spotlight on Illinois’ Manufacturing Sector

March 9th, 2017 by

In 2015, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) began a project to analyze data from U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), Greenhouse Gas Emissions database, and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database to determine the impact of manufacturing on the economy and environment of the six states in U.S. EPA Region 5. GLRPPR’s most recent paper summarizes findings for Illinois’ manufacturing sector (NAICS 311-337).

The full report, The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data, is available in IDEALS, the University of Illinois’ institutional repository.

 

Registration now open for 2017 Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Minneapolis

March 7th, 2017 by

email-savethedate

Registration is now open for the 2017 Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. The conference will be held in Minneapolis on May 2-4, 2017.

Sessions include:

  • Pollution Prevention 101 pre-conference training (half day)
  • Tour of Ecolab’s Schuman Campus in Eagan, MN (half day)
  • A full day of facilitated large and small group discussion centering on U.S. EPA’s National Emphasis areas.
  • Interactive workshops on engagement, and materials substitution
  • Hands-on training with a variety of online P2 tools.

For more information and to register, visit the conference web site.

Use EPA’s Safer Choice label to make better purchasing decisions

January 25th, 2017 by

saferchoice_rgbFinding products that are safer for you, your employees, your family, and the environment should be easy. That’s why EPA developed the new Safer Choice label. Products with the Safer Choice label help consumers and commercial buyers identify products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance.

More than 2,000 products currently qualify to carry the Safer Choice label. You can find products for your home at retail stores, as well as products to use in facilities like schools, hotels, offices, and sports venues.

Participation in the Safer Choice program is voluntary. Companies that make products carrying the Safer Choice label have invested heavily in research and reformulation to ensure that their products meet the Safer Choice Standard. These companies are leaders in safer products and sustainability.

Products have to meet stringent criteria in order to earn the Safer Choice label. In addition to product ingredients, the program also considers product performance, pH, packaging and more to ensure that products with the label are safer for you and your family. Once a product meets the Safer Choice Standard, EPA conducts annual audits to ensure that they continue to do so.

You can search for products that meet the Safer Choice Standard here. If you’re a manufacturer who wants learn more about qualifying for the program and applying for certification, EPA has more information here.