Archive for the 'Minnesota' Category

Minnesota Freshwater Society Offers Opportunities for Residents Interested in Pollution Prevention

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 by

This post was authored by Lauren Murphy, who joined the GLRPPR staff in March. Lauren is a junior in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Minnesota has always been a welcoming place for organizations advocating for pollution prevention. The Freshwater Society, a nonprofit organization established in 1968, is dedicated to promoting conservation, protection, and restoration of all freshwater resources, which plays a large role in pollution prevention of Minnesota waters.

Recently the Freshwater Society launched two projects aimed at taking action to restore Minnesota’s freshwater resources.

Master Water Stewards Program

The Freshwater Society and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District recently launched the Master Water Stewards program to certify and support community leaders to implement pollution prevention programs within the District. The program’s goals are to further educate the community, reduce pollutants from urban runoff, and allow more water to soak into the ground before running into storm sewer systems.

The MWS Program provides a 50-hour long program of courses and projects for residents of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District who would like to become volunteer community leaders for future pollution prevention projects.

Learn more about the program by watching this video.

If you are a resident of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and are interested in the program, visit the program’s web site for more information, a calendar of events, and for the application to join the 2014 class.

2014 State of Water Conference

The 2014 State of Water Conference will be held at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, MN from May 1, 2014-May 2, 2014. It provides opportunities for individuals who are committed to improving and protecting water resources to network and connect with professionals from around the state, gain technical insights, and identify opportunities to become involved in water resource protection.

The conference will feature 70+ presenters, including Darby Nelson, author of the book For Love of Lakes, and Dr. Peter Sorenson, the head researcher at the new Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota, as well as a variety of breakout sessions offered throughout the two days. These workshops and breakout sessions will give attendees the latest information about water issues related to runoff pollution, local impacts, watersheds, aquatic habitat restoration, and aquatic invasive species. The full conference schedule can be found here:
http://freshwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/State-of-Water-brochure.pdf.

For more information and to register to attend the conference, visit http://www.conservationminnesota.org/state-of-water-conference/.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency publishes green chemistry case studies

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 by

This post originally appeared on Environmental News Bits.

For the last several years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, through a U.S. EPA grant, has funded projects in the state that promote the use of green chemistry in industry and encourage the teaching of green chemistry and design principles in Minnesota’s colleges and universities. The case studies from these projects were recently published on the MPCA web site. Details of the project and links to the associated case studies are included below.

Green Chemistry and Design Demonstration Project

Background

Demonstration projects tested whether grants of around $50,000 can provide threshold funding to businesses to undertake green chemistry and design changes to their products, or to the components of products they deliver to customers or supply chains.

Grants co-funded basic chemistry research, moved research or development already in progress closer to completion, or adapted off-the-shelf green chemistry technology. Actual implementation of product changes through retooled production were the ideal end-result, but product design or redesign and testing with a commitment to carry the new design through to production sufficed.

Funds were awarded in the form of a grant to a company that controlled the design of a product or component and committed to a green chemistry and design improvement of such a product or component. Internal teams and external partnerships were vital and could include the company designing the product or component, their customer(s), their production supply chain, and either internal or third-party (external) technical resource providers such as consultants, graduate research students, labs or testing facilities, mentoring companies, or others.

Demonstration projects were designed to support the research and development side of the product design process. Grant funds could not be used for purchasing the equipment necessary to produce the newly designed or redesigned product. Equipment purchases could be made through state low-interest loan programs, either MPCA environmental loans or those available through other state agencies.

More information is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topics/preventing-waste-and-pollution/p2-pollution-prevention/reducing-toxicity/green-chemistry-and-design/green-chemistry-and-design-demonstration-project.html.

Case Studies

Green Chemistry and Design College Curriculum Grant Projects

Background

The MPCA has been exploring the most effective means for state government to promote wider use of Green Chemistry and Design. The MPCA has pursued this exploration as part of its 22-year-old Pollution Prevention program, to arrive at both life-cycle environmental improvement and a more profitable and sustainable economy.

The MPCA is researching and evaluating a number of mechanisms for supporting broader use of Green Chemistry:

  • Grants to Minnesota companies in various sectors to pursue Green Chemistry, Engineering and Design improvements in products;
  • Improved multi-stakeholder networks to facilitate awareness and information exchange (including the Minnesota Green Chemistry Forum, annual Minnesota Green Chemistry conferences, and the Environmental Initiative’s Chemicals Policy stakeholder process);
  • Integration of Green Chemistry information and best practices into existing State-funded assistance services;
  • Broadening markets for Green Chemistry and overall greener products through State purchasing, facilitation of greener private-sector supply chains, and use of existing or new tax incentives;
  • High-level State Green Chemistry initiatives and policy proposals;
  • Grants and networking to strengthen Green Chemistry education.

Learning from this exploration of potential state government programs supporting Green Chemistry will be reported to the Governor and Minnesota Legislature periodically to inform future policy decisions.

These grants supported the development of Green Chemistry and Design curricula at more post-secondary institutions in Minnesota and strengthen the Minnesota and national network of post-secondary faculty teaching aspects of Green Chemistry and Design. More information is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topics/preventing-waste-and-pollution/p2-pollution-prevention/reducing-toxicity/green-chemistry-and-design/green-chemistry-and-design-college-curriculum-grant-projects.html.

Case Studies

 

Minnesota 2012-2013 Green Chemistry and Design College Curriculum Grant Projects

Monday, October 14th, 2013 by

Two grant projects, funded through MPCA’s Environmental Assistance Grant Program, supported the development of Green Chemistry and Design curricula at Northwestern Health Sciences University and a new laboratory experiment at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities to teach introductory chemistry students about sustainable polymers.

Further information and links to previous case studies are available here.

Use of Formaldehyde and HBCD in Minnesota

Monday, October 7th, 2013 by

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has completed a project with the Stratford Companies to work with the MPCA to assess the presence and use of formaldehyde and Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in Minnesota’s composite and fabricated wood building and furnishing products by manufacturers, architects, engineers and contractors (the value chain). Links to summaries of the findings from these surveys are below. Copies of the final white papers are available by request to Mark Snyder.

More information on the ongoing project is available here.

Minnesota Puts Spotlight on Green Chemistry and Design

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 by

The GLRPPR Blog is pleased to welcome Phyllis Strong, Pollution Prevention Coordinator for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). She’s written a guest post about MPCA’s green chemistry and design projects. If you’d like to contribute a post to the GLRPPR Blog, please contact Laura Barnes at l-barnes at illinois.edu.

Over the past four years, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has worked on specific projects to promote green chemistry and design practices. These projects build on green design work we had done in the past. Green chemistry and design involves formulating or designing new products (or reformulating or redesigning existing ones) to reduce environmental, workplace, human health, and energy use impacts over the product’s entire life-cycle. Our goal is to promote its practice in the state and beyond.

We recently completed the following projects:

Demonstration Projects
Cortec, Ecolab, and Salo recently completed demonstration projects. Their case studies are posted here. Cortec developed two new metal primers. Ecolab developed five new hard surface cleaners and addressed their sustainable packaging. Salo investigated the use of styrene-free resin in its manufacture of bathing systems.

Curriculum Projects
University of Minnesota – Duluth, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, University of St. Catherine, and Winona State University completed curriculum development for undergraduate course work. They modified, created, and supplemented chemistry courses to include green chemistry and design principles. They developed and improved chemistry activities. They adapted engineering courses. Their case studies and a webcast are posted here.

Green chemistry curriculum development is currently underway at two universities. Northwestern Health Sciences University is developing a consistent program of chemistry laboratory lectures and experiments featuring an emphasis on green chemistry for undergraduate chemistry courses. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities is developing an experiment that illustrates the synthesis of a block copolymer which incorporates at least one renewable monomer, is biodegradable in the environment, and has tangible characteristics students can explore. Progress on these projects will also be posted on our Green Chemistry Curriculum Project web page.

Composites project
Project activities focused on operational requirements and performance of a styrene free resin system for the Minnesota fiber reinforced plastics sector. We faced challenges as we completed the project. We shared these challenges as well as reasonable next steps. The case study and a webcast are posted here.

The following projects are currently in progress:

BPA in Thermal Paper project
The goals for the project are to:

  • determine how much BPA is contained in the thermal papers used by participating partners in the hospitality sector,
  • estimate how much BPA is contained in Minnesota’s recycled papers,
  • promote switching to paperless point-of sale systems, or as a second-choice option, to switch to BPA-free thermal papers or a non-thermal paper system, and
  • promote use of paperless systems or BPA-free or non-thermal papers to other Minnesota businesses

Formaldehyde in Building Products project
We will be conducting outreach to determine the extent of remaining uses in Minnesota.

NP and NPE in Detergents project
We are conducting outreach to determine the extent of remaining uses of nonylphenol (NP) or nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) in detergents at commercial and institutional laundries.

Register for GLRPPR/EPA Region 5 Webinar

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 by

Join the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) and U.S. EPA Region 5 for a webinar on May 12.  Space is limited. Reserve your webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/440261202.  After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The GLRPPR/EPA Webinar provides an opportunity to hear about P2 Programs in the region, ask questions and stay connected.

Agenda:

  1. Opening comments by Julie Guenther, Region 5 EPA
  2. Presentation by IL: a. GLRPPR – Bob Iverson; b. I-CORE – Mike Springman
  3. Presentation by MN – Phyllis Strong: a. P2 Grant work; b. Green Chemistry and Design program; c. P2 integration program
  4. Presentation by MI – Karen Edlin: a. Economy, Energy and Environment (E3); b. Michigan’s Sustainable Hospital Initiative; c. Advancing Green Chemistry
  5. Presentation by IN – Jennifer Schick

Title: GLRPPR/EPA Region 5 Forum
Date: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Time: 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM PDT  

System Requirements:

  • PC-based attendees–Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
  • Macintosh®-based attendees–Required: Mac OS® X 10.4.11 (Tiger®) or newer

Contact Bob Iverson, GLRPPR Executive Director, for further information or questions.

Our thanks to Donna Walden, Regional Coordinator at the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN), one of our sister P2Rx Centers, for assisting with the set up and administration of this webinar.

Program Director – Minnesota Technical Assistance Program

Friday, October 8th, 2010 by

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at the University of Minnesota is seeking a Program Director to provide technical outreach and program oversight. MnTAP is an outreach and assistance program helps Minnesota businesses develop and implement solutions that prevent pollution at the source, maximize efficient use of resources, and reduce energy use and cost. The director will be responsible for developing programs to meet business’ needs, pursing funding opportunities for program activities, collaborating with multiple in-state and national programs, managing staff, and providing technical assistance to businesses within one or two manufacturing sectors. Candidates must have a master’s degree or equivalent experience in a technical field; 8-10 years of experience in program development, budgeting, and project management; and excellent communication skills. To apply, visit employment.umn.edu, click “Search Postings,” and search for job posting #168670.

MnTAP Director Leaving After 25 Years

Friday, October 8th, 2010 by

After 25 years of leading the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)‘s efforts to assist Minnesota businesses and help improve the environment, MnTAP Director Cindy McComas is retiring at the end of the year. Cindy started at MnTAP a few months after the organization was founded and was named director shortly after joining the program. Upon her retirement, she is looking forward to pursuing new adventures, continuing to teach a pollution prevention course at the University of Minnesota, and spending more time with her family.

We offer Cindy our best wishes for her retirement, and hope she knows that many of her colleagues throughout the region will miss her!

Call For P2 Results Data, Calendar Years 2007, 2008 & 2009

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 by

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) / Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) P2 Results Task Force requests that your agency/program submit P2 results data for the calendar years 2007, 2008, and 2009 to your regional P2Rx center (GLRPPR for U.S. EPA Region 5) for input into the P2 Results Data System per the P2 Results Memorandum of Understanding. The P2 Results Data collection will begin on August 1, 2010 through September 30, 2010.

Click here to read the rest of the article

MnTAP celebrates 25 years of pollution prevention assistance

Friday, July 2nd, 2010 by

This year the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) will mark 25 years of providing waste management, pollution prevention, and energy efficiency assistance to Minnesota’s businesses. 2010 is also the 20th anniversary of the Toxic Pollution Prevention Act (TPPA).

On Thursday, August 19th, a 25th Anniversary reception to celebrate MnTAP’s success will follow the annual intern presentations at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota. The Intern presentations will be held from 1:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. and the reception will be held from 4:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.

For more information or to RSVP visit http://www.seek.state.mn.us/calendar_detail.cfm?ID=6164.

Happy birthday MnTAP!