Archive for the 'Behavior change' Category

P2 Intern Programs Help Businesses Reduce Waste and Save Money

Thursday, September 24th, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015Although many businesses and organizations want to become more sustainable, they often lack the time and the money to implement specific projects.  This is where P2/E2 intern programs can help. The programs place engineering students at companies and organizations to conduct focused research on specific pollution prevention and energy efficiency projects.

The programs are win-win for organizations and students. Interns have the opportunity to evaluate and potentially implement pollution prevention and energy efficiency solutions in a real-world setting, while companies realize significant savings by implementing the intern’s recommendations.

Within U.S. EPA Region 5, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program both have long-running, successful intern programs.

Illinois EPA

Each year, Illinois EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention recruits upper-level university students to work on both pollution prevention (P2) and energy efficiency (E2) projects during the summer.  The purpose of the program is to help facilities identify, research and pilot P2 technologies and practices. In the area of E2, companies can realize overhead cost savings due to increased energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The interns provide technical assistance at a relatively modest cost and bring a fresh perspective to the organization. In 2011 and 2012, the program helped facilities save over $1.9 million in reduced operating and disposal costs.

While students have been placed primarily at manufacturing facilities, they have also worked at small business development centers, trade associations, local government facilities, environmental groups and military installations. Each student selected for the program is required to attend an initial P2 training program in Springfield. The student spends the remainder of the 12-week summer session working as a temporary full-time employee at the sponsoring facility. Students typically have backgrounds in engineering or environmental management.

Each intern student selected for the program is required to attend a one-week training class, which covers topics like: 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 management and staff; and prepare bi-weekly progress reports.

To participate in the program, host facilities must provide a well defined project(s), student supervision, work space, safety training, employee cooperation and workers’ compensation. Depending on program funding availability, the facility may also be responsible for paying a portion of or the entire student salary, which averages approximately $2,700 a month for a 12 week period (one week of training and 11 weeks in the field).

Illinois EPA recruits qualified students, trains interns on pollution prevention techniques, matches interns with host facilities, establishes contracts with interns, reviews progress reports, and provides technical support.

Project technical summaries for completed internships are available at http://www.epa.illinois.gov/topics/pollution-prevention/p2-internship/projects/index.

For more information on the IEPA Intern Program, contact Richard Reese.

MnTAP

Each summer, MnTAP recruits and hires junior and senior college students who have strong technical backgrounds and leadership abilities to work on waste and energy reduction projects at companies in Minnesota. Typically, six projects are funded each year in locations around the state. Each year’s projects are different; they address different challenges within a number of different industries. Therefore, project specifics vary year-to-year.

Students who participate in the program are expected to:

  • Attend a full-day orientation and training on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.
  • Determine how waste is currently produced and energy is used in company processes. Gather data from reviewing reports and running tests.
  • Identify what other companies are doing in regards to the project. Contact vendors about best available technologies. Research and evaluate options for reducing waste and/or energy use.
  • Work with the company’s management and employees to determine feasibility of different waste and/or energy reduction options. Develop a cost comparison between the use of existing procedures and new ones.
  • Write a final report and present project results.

Interns work on site at the company facilities under the supervision of the company and MnTAP staff. Positions are full-time for three months, starting at the conclusion of spring semester or quarter. Interns are paid $13.00 per hour during the 500 hours of summer employment. They are also  awarded a $1,000 stipend at the completion of their project. The stipend is contingent upon the completion of project deliverables such as a final report, presentations, and other duties as requested by MnTAP and the company. Cumulatively, pay equals approximately $15.00 per hour when averaged over the three months of the project.

To qualify for the intern program, companies must be located in Minnesota; interested in reducing industrial waste; willing to make operational or procedural improvements to accomplish a waste reduction or energy efficiency goal; and be able to develop a project idea that applies to other Minnesota businesses. Companies are asked to provide an on-site supervisor as an in-kind contribution and contribute 10% of the total project cost ($3,000) to help support the intern program. These funds are used to offset project costs such as student compensation.

Project technical summaries for completed internships are available at http://www.mntap.umn.edu/intern/pastproj.htm.

For more information on the MnTAP intern program, contact Linda Maleitzke.

Related Resources

Project spotlight: MPCA’s BPA/BPS in Thermal Receipt Paper project

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015This project encourages Minnesota businesses to voluntarily reduce the amount of thermal receipt papers they use and distribute to their customers. These papers typically contain relatively high concentrations of the chemical Bisphenol-A or related chemicals.

The project specifically targeted the hospitality sector, paper recyclers, and other interested partners. The goals of the project were to:

  1. test samples of papers from business partners and estimate how much BPA is contained in the thermal papers used by participating partners
  2. provide information to assist MPCA in setting guidance on best end-of-life management for thermal receipt paper
  3. assist partners in switching to paperless point-of sale systems, or as a second-choice option, implement other exposure-reduction strategies
  4. share the case studies of partner businesses and promote use of paperless systems to other Minnesota businesses

Bisphenol-A is commonly used in a variety of applications including in hard polycarbonate plastic resins, in epoxy resins for adhesives, sealants, and food can linings, and in flame retardants. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is also on the Minnesota Department of Health’s list of Priority Chemicals.  BPA is a reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic. It has been found in a majority of American adults and children and in Minnesota’s groundwater and lakes and streams.

The most common substitute for BPA in thermal papers ─ bisphenol S, or BPS ─ has shown the same sort of endocrine disrupting behavior in studies as BPA. No alternative thermal paper developer is known to be safer.  An increasing number of retailers are offering receipts digitally via email or text, instead of on paper.

mpca-center-colorNineteen voluntary partners worked with Stratford Companies, MPCA’s contractor,  to test their thermal receipt papers for BPA and BPS content and implement changes to their point-of-sale systems and operating procedures to reduce the amount of thermal paper they use and the amount of BPA or BPS to which their employees are exposed. The hospitality sector includes restaurants and coffee shops, event centers, parks, resorts, hotels, etc.

The MPCA offered Minnesota hospitality businesses the opportunity to apply for grants under the “Hospitality Business Transition to Paperless Receipt Grant Project”. The grants were used to reimburse up to $1,000 of costs for digital receipt subscription services to eligible applicants.

The project produced several case studies, mainly from smaller businesses. Some of the consumer best practices from these case studies include:

  • Choose paperless receipts, if possible.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching receipts, especially before preparing or eating food.
  • Don’t give kids receipts to hold or play with.
  • Store receipts separately in your purse or wallet.

For more information on the BPA/BPS in Thermal Receipt Paper project, contact Madalyn Cioci.

Project Resources

Other Related Resources

 

Program Spotlight: Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015Cassie Carroll, Associate Sustainability Specialist and coordinator for the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards, contributed this post about the history and impact of the program. If you would like to spotlight your project or program on the blog, please contact Laura Barnes.

Since 1987, the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards has recognized over 500 public and private organizations for environmental excellence. In it’s 29th year, it is the longest-running awards program with a pollution prevention focus in the country. This year’s ceremony will be held on October 27th at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers (301 E. North Water St.) .

The awards were originally called the Illinois Governor’s Pollution Prevention Awards. At that time, ISTC was named the Illinois Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center (HWRIC). HWRIC’s Industrial Technical Assistance Program had just been established to help Illinois manufacturers reduce pollution and prevent waste. The awards program was modeled on a similar one in North Carolina (since discontinued). The goals of the program were to recognize those companies that had significantly reduced their impact and encourage others in the state to follow suit.

first year winners govs awards

Winning companies at the first Illinois Governor’s Pollution Prevention Awards in 1987.

In the Award’s founding year, four companies were recognized: Continental/Midland Inc.; General Motors Corporation – Central Foundry; Safety-Kleen Corporation; and Solvent Systems International, Inc.

The number of award winners continued to grow teach year. In 1999, the Center (then known as the Waste Management & Research Center) added a Continuous Improvement Award to honor companies that continued to demonstrate excellence in pollution prevention. In 2009, the name of the award changed to the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards. The change  acknowledged the Center’s broader scope as the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and recognized that many applicants were not only reducing pollution, but incorporating all three aspects of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social.

The awards program continues to be successful for several reasons. First, companies realize that there are cost savings involved with efficient use of materials, water, and energy. Many companies also want to get ahead of regulation and demonstrate good corporate citizenship in their communities. Finally, many organizations and companies integrate sustainability because clients and consumers demand that they do so.

2013 govs awards metrics

Environmental and economic impact of 2013 Governor’s Award winners.

The impact of the award winners is impressive. Although the majority of winners are from manufacturing companies located in Chicagoland area, applicants come from every region of the state and constitute a broad range of public and private organizations. Hospitals, manufacturers, municipalities, NGO’s, higher educational institutions, K-12 schools, and corporations have earned awards. Many companies apply for awards more than once. For example, Navistar has won the Governor’s Sustainability Award 14 times since 1987. A summary of the environmental and economic impact of the 2013 award winners appears at left.

The future of the Governor’s Sustainability Awards remains bright. Award winners not only contribute significantly to the environmental health of both the state and the Great Lakes region, they also serve as role models to other organizations.

For more information

 

Green Lunchroom Challenge to Assist IL Schools with Food Waste Prevention, Reduction

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 by

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, food production represents 10 percent of the total US energy budget, uses 50 percent of US land, and accounts for 80 percent of the freshwater we consume–yet, 40 percent of food in the US goes uneaten. And in 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children. Food waste is clearly both a tremendous problem and opportunity for improving the sustainability of our society. Reducing food waste in schools not only helps to ensure those precious expended resources are providing nutrition as intended, but also provides the opportunity to set important examples of conservation and systems thinking among our impressionable youth, which will hopefully stay with them as they become our next generation of leaders.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is therefore pleased to announce an exciting new project that addresses this important societal and environmental challenge. In order to identify sources of food waste in K-12 schools and facilitate its prevention and reduction, ISTC, in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), UI Extension, and Beyond Green Partners, Inc., is launching the Green Lunchroom Challenge this fall. Funded by US EPA Region 5, the program is open for participation from K-12 schools throughout the state. Marketing of the program will however, be targeted toward underserved regions of southern Illinois, including Pulaski, Alexander, Marion, White, and Fayette counties. According to data from the ISBE, over 70 percent of K-12 students in those counties are eligible for assistance through the National School Lunch Program. By preventing and reducing food waste in these areas particularly, and throughout the state, it is hoped the Challenge will not only achieve environmental benefits, but also stretch federal and state assistance and resources through increased efficiency.

Elementary school students in cafeteria

Photo: USDA Blog

Similar to the successful Illinois Green Office Challenge, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary, “friendly competition,” in which participating schools will choose among a variety of suggested activities to improve the sustainability of their food service. These activities will range in complexity and commitment to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget, and available community resources. Examples might include, but not be limited to, composting of food scraps, use of creative entree names and careful relative placement of food choices to reduce waste of fruit and vegetables, donation of unused food to local food banks or shelters, etc. In addition to operationally related activities, schools may also choose to integrate food waste prevention and reduction into curricula, helping students learn about food security and hunger, composting, the circular economy, and stewardship. Resources and guidance will be available on the project web site and from ISTC technical assistance staff for each recommended activity, and participants will earn points for every activity they complete. Relative progress will be displayed on an online leaderboard. On Earth Day 2016, the participating public K-12 school with the most points will be declared the winner for the year and will receive public recognition and a prize (to be determined) to foster continuous improvement.

A kickoff workshop will be held in September 2015 (date and location to be announced) to introduce the Challenge; identify (in part through feedback from school and district representatives in attendance) key sources of food waste in schools, as well as barriers to its prevention; to raise awareness among potential participants of existing relevant toolkits and programs; and to provide comprehensive training on analysis and modification of menus, food procurement and inventory, lunchroom procedures, etc. Note that a school does not need to participate in the workshop to participate in the Challenge, and schools may register throughout the Challenge period (Sept. 1, 2015- April 1, 2016). While the competition is only open to K-12 schools in Illinois, ISTC hopes that other states and organizations beyond schools will be able to use resources developed for the Challenge to guide food waste reduction and prevention in their operations and regions.

Interested parties may contact Joy Scrogum with questions or to request addition to the mailing list for more information on the workshop and activities as it becomes available. The project web site will be available soon, and potential participants will be able to sign up to receive further information there as well. (The URL for the program web site will be posted in the comments of this post as soon as it is live.)

cafeteria tray

Photo by Tim Lauer, principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon

This post was originally published on the ISTC Blog, July 7, 2015.

Behavior change and pollution prevention

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by

Word "Change" jigsaw puzzle pieces isolated on whiteWhat do employee engagement, management buy-in,  green consumerism, pollution prevention technical assistance, and supply chain sustainability have in common?

At the root, each depends on people modifying their behavior to create lasting change. Several years ago, GLRPPR established behavior change and sustainability as one of its primary focus areas. Some of the resources we’ve developed on this topic include:

Ultimately, successful implementation of pollution prevention projects requires people to change the way they do things. Getting people to make lasting change can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Understanding the psychology of behavior change is a critical piece of the puzzle.

If you have a tip or resource related to behavior change, let us know in the comments.

 

New sector resource for Behavior Change & Sustainabilty

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 by

What do employee engagement, management buy-in,  green consumerism, pollution prevention technical assistance, and supply chain sustainability have in common?

At the root, each depends on people modifying their behavior to create lasting change. In recognition of this, GLRPPR made behavior change and sustainability one of its focus areas several years ago.  To support this focus area, we’ve developed a new sector resource on the topic, as well as added Behavior Change subcategories to several existing sectors.

The new sector resource has several different subcategories, including:

Please take some time to explore the new content and let us know if there’s something we missed.

Two upcoming webinars in the P2Rx Behavior Change Webinar Series

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by

View archived webinars in the P2Rx Behavior Change Webinar Series.

Tools for Successfully Deploying and Measuring Behavior Change for the Littering Public
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 1:30-2:30 pm CDT
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/378905274

Donna Walden will begin by presenting a step-by-step model on community based social marketing (CBSM) to help P2 programs properly selecting behaviors, establish a baseline, and develop strategies that can successfully measure behavior change.

Then UC Santa Barbara Masters candidates Jessica Midbust, Michael Mori, Paula Richter, and Bill Vosti will present a Master’s group thesis undertaken for the Algalita Marine Research Institute on reducing plastic debris in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel River Watersheds using some CBSM techniques.

Participants will learn some valuable behavior change techniques and hear recommendations made from the graduate students on how to change the behavior of the littering public.

Designing Employee Engagement Programs that Impact a Company’s Triple Bottom Line
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 1-2 pm CDT
Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/752485802

BAE Systems is a $14.4 billion multinational corporation that reduced its total utility costs by 48% over a three year period with a utility cost takeout (UCT) energy efficiency program.  This would not have been possible without first enrolling BAE’s 43,000 employees across the globe in its sustainability plan.

Morgan Rooney, Sustainability Communications Specialist for BAE Systems was responsible for initiating and running the employee engagement program to support BAE Sustainability goals.  Morgan will share her strategies and successes for getting employees to buy into a corporate sustainability mandate for the long haul and how this affected and continues to affect BAE’s triple bottom line.

Webinar attendees will learn education tactics, how to set up a task force or green team, employee challenges, and awards and recognition programs that work towards initiating and sustaining behavior change for large communities.

Sustainability Awareness Promoted by Major Music Festivals in the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 by

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and music festival season is rapidly approaching. Every year, music festivals across the country attract hundreds of thousands of music enthusiasts. Many of these festivals are taking action to become more sustainable and encouraging their attendees to do so as well.

Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL – May 23-25, 2014

Summer Camp Music Festival has a team of volunteers that help collect and sort trash, as well as educate festival attendees about the recycling and composting programs that are offered. With color coded trash bins and portable recycling bags, Summer Camp makes it easy for fans to help keep the festival clean. Moreover, the festival requires that all vendors use compostable materials, greatly limiting the amount of trash that ends up in a landfill.

Every year, Summer Camp brings in numerous nonprofit organizations to promote sustainability, renewable energy, and carbon offsetting amongst the festival-goers. Attendees learn about many different ways that they can lower their impact on the environment, even after the festival is over.

Working with engineers at Caterpillar, Summer Camp has been able to use a higher concentration of biodiesel in their generators for all electricity needs, which significantly lowers their use of traditional energy sources. For the past three years, the festival tracked and offset their estimated CO2 emissions to reduced their environmental footprint.

To learn more about this eco-friendly festival’s sustainability initiatives, visit the Summer Camp Music Festival website.

Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL – July 18-20, 2014 

Through recycling programs, purchasing carbon offsets, and using sustainable power, Pitchfork Music Festival takes responsibility for their environmental impact, and acknowledges the importance of encouraging their fans to participate in the efforts to become a clean, green festival.

Recycling crews work with vendors to separate the trash generated at the festival, sending food waste to composting facilities and recycling as much as possible. Additionally, the festival has reduced oil demand and carbon emissions by powering the festival entirely with biodiesel and using hybrid vehicles for festival and musician transport. Pitchfork understands that being an international music festival creates the need for a lot of travel, which is why the festival has decided to buy carbon offsets to cover the transportation of all of their musicians. Purchasing these carbon offsets help fund projects to reduce CO2 emissions, so the festival strongly encourages attendees to purchase their own as well.

Visit the Pitchfork website for more information.

Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL – August 1-3, 2014

Lollapalooza is constantly seeking new, eco-friendly businesses to join the ‘Green Street Art Market’. Local businesses, as well as artisans from across the globe, are encouraged to promote their environmentally responsible goods to the thousands of fans that walk by throughout the weekend.

For the past few years, Lollapalooza has partnered with Camelbak to provide free, ice cold water to festival-goers at several filling stations throughout the park. This encourages the use of reusable water bottles and hydration packs and prevents up to 3.2 million disposable water bottles from becoming waste at the end of the 3-day festival. Lollapalooza also has hundreds of recycling bins located throughout the entire park, many of which are accompanied by a volunteer to inform people of what types of trash should be discarded into each container.

The festival implemented these programs not only to prevent the festival from causing harm to the environment and promote environmental awareness, but also to encourage volunteers from the Chicagoland area to be a part of the Environmental Initiatives programs. The application will become available mid-May, so check the volunteer information section of the FAQ page often throughout May because positions fill up quickly!

More information about the festival can be found on the Lollapalooza website.

Sustainability and behavior change article roundup

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by

Here are some recent articles on behavior change and sustainability.

Tackle your company’s waste and create change from within — The Guardian

It’s hard to reduce anything by 90% – and waste to landfill is especially tricky. But that goal is what Los Angeles-based retail supplier, Farmer Brothers, has been working on for the last few years. The size of the reduction is ambitious. Even more remarkable, though, is that this initiative did not originate in the company’s sustainability department, the facilities crew, or even the CEO. Instead the leader was an inspired product manager named Sarah Beaubien.

myActions Platform Turning Engagement with Waste, Wildlife Initiatives Into Action — Sustainable Brands

Engaging people in sustainability remains one of the cause’s biggest challenges – ensuring their behavior reflects their engagement is another. A number of studies have been devoted to bridging the gap between people’s attitudes and their actions, and it remains a conundrum for many organizations on a mission to promote positive behavior. Luckily, tools such as myActions are helping companies not only engage certain groups on the merit of more conscious behaviors but motivate them to follow through. myActions builds and designs online communities and social tools that track the digital sharing of real-world actions. For every action taken, a donation is made to the cause of the user’s choice. The company partners with organizations from municipalities (Ohio Valley) to nonprofits (Net Impact) to brands (EKOCYCLE) that provide the greatest opportunity for impact through their networks.

Consumers may change behavior if delivered the right message — GreenBiz

If you’ve heard me speak at a conference, you know there’s a point in the presentation where I typically say, “Don’t try to educate your audience into changing their behaviors.” Then I ask the audience to raise their hands if they can think of at least one thing they know they should do on a daily basis to be healthier but that they don’t do. Nearly every hand goes up, and I say, “See, knowing a thing doesn’t mean you’re going to do a thing.”

But I might be wrong.

Seventh National ACEEE Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource: Report to U.S. Department of Energy

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 by

This report summarizes the content and themes of the ACEEE Seventh National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource, held in Nashville, Tennessee from September 22 to 24, 2013, per the agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.  The successful conference demonstrated the progress of energy efficiency as a resource in the Southeast and leading regions of the country.  Speakers and sessions examined progress and energy savings achievements, and how programs in the field are evolving past previous limits towards greater savings and participation. Challenges and policy issues arising after a decade of growth were addressed in-depth.

See also the presentations available on the conference web site.