Archive for the 'P2 Week' Category

P2 Resources You Can Use

Friday, September 25th, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015In the not-to-distant past, it was difficult to locate pollution prevention and sustainability information. Those days are gone. Now, we go to Google and we’re inundated. In this post, I’ll point you toward some resources that you may have forgotten about when you’re trying to locate information to solve a problem. Whether you’re an organization that wants to start a sustainability program or a seasoned pollution prevention technical assistance provider, there’s something on this list that will help you do your job better.

Topic Hubs and LibGuides

Topic hubs and LibGuides are similar. Both are curated collections of resources on specific topics that also include explanatory information. The only difference is the delivery platform. GLRPPR converted its Topic Hubs to LibGuides several years ago. Guides of particular interest to the P2 community include:

The Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide will be particularly useful to those new to the P2 field. It includes links to essential resources and training that will help get you up to speed quickly.

GLRPPR Sector Resources

GLRPPR’s sector resources are curated collections of documents organized by sector or topic. Each resource includes a link and a brief description. Sector resources includes links to fact sheets, manuals, videos, journal articles, case studies, and software tools. Browse by sector/topic or search by keyword using Google site search.

GLRPPR Webinar Archive

GLRPPR hosts two to three webinars per year. Recordings of these webinars are archived on our web site. The recording of our most recent webinar is embedded below.

GLRPPR Help Desk

If you have a sustainability question or problem you’re trying to solve, the GLRPPR Help Desk is the place to visit. You get one free hour of literature/web searching and will receive a response within a week. Note that we won’t often give absolute answers. Instead, we’ll give you references and let your draw your own conclusions based on the available information. We also won’t answer homework questions.

E-Mail Discussion Lists and GLRPPR E-mail Newsletter

E-mail discussion lists are a great way to tap the hive mind of your pollution prevention colleagues. GLRPPR members are automatically subscribed to the Roundtable regional e-mail discussion list. P2Tech is an international discussion list for pollution prevention and sustainability professionals. To subscribe to either list, contact Laura Barnes.

GLRPPR’s e-mail newsletter keeps you up-to-date on sustainability news, resources, events, and funding opportunities. Subscribe here.

P2 Impact

P2 Impact is a collaboration between GreenBiz and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. Each month, P2 practitioners write about topics related to pollution prevention and sustainability. The goal of the column is to tell the P2 story to GreenBiz’s business audience. The archives of the column are available here. If you would like to write a column, contact Laura Barnes.

P2 InfoHouse

P2 InfoHouse, maintained by the Pollution Prevention Information Center (P2RIC), is a searchable online collection of more than 50,000 pollution prevention (P2) related publications, fact sheets, case studies and technical reports. It includes a vast number of legacy pollution prevention documents that were originally released in hard copy. The collection is searchable by keyword.

Zero Waste Network Success Story Database

The Zero Waste Network’s Success Story Database contains case studies that are examples of how real facilities saved money, reduced waste, and/or lowered their regulatory burden through innovative P2 practices. The studies are often written in a companies own words, with minimal editing.



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

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


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

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


Happy Pollution Prevention Week! (Sept 21-27, 2015)

Monday, September 21st, 2015 by

Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act. Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, celebrated during the third week of September each year (September 21-27, 2015),  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 and will also be spreading the P2 message on Twitter using the hashtag #P2Week. In addition, we will be collaborating with our P2Rx partners on a social media campaign to celebrate the 25th anniversary of P2 by including the #25YearsofP2 hashtag.

We encourage you to add the 25th Anniversary of the P2 Act logo (at the top of the post) to your web site. Use it as a button to link to your organization’s or GLRPPR’s P2 resources. Or simply use the logo on your agency or program pages to identify and promote P2 throughout the year. If you’re on social media, use the #P2Week and #25YearsofP2 hashtags to raise awareness of pollution prevention as the cornerstone of environmental sustainability. P2RIC, the Region 7 P2Rx Center, will be collecting tweets using #25YearsofP2 and compiling them into an electronic newsletter to showcase TAP activities.

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

Within the region, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will hold its 18th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show on September 30 in Plainfield, IN. The theme is “P2’s Impact on Sustainability.” The conference will also include presentations of the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is hosting their second annual Sustainable Manufacturing Seminar on September 22 in Livonia, MI and again on September 24 in Mt. Pleasant, MI. The Department has also compiled a P2 Week Planner, which includes a sample resolution and press release.

What are you doing to celebrate P2 Week? Share your activities in the comments.

Michigan DEQ hosts Michigan Sustainable Manufacturing Seminars during P2 Week

Thursday, September 10th, 2015 by

Mark your calendars for September 22 (Livonia, MI) and September 25 (Mt. Pleasant). The Second Annual DEQ Sustainable Manufacturing Seminar Series “Michigan Made:  Designing to Sustain the Economy, Environment and Society” is being offered at two locations in conjunction with Pollution Prevention Week 2015. Cost is $65. Register at

The seminar focuses on the diverse stakeholder connections and relationships necessary to achieve long-term economic, societal and environmental vitality for Michigan businesses and communities. Thought-provoking discussions will be led by Michigan-based companies and leaders who will share perspectives and open discussion that explore both the opportunities and the challenges related to energy and water conservation; food waste recycling; sustainable product standards; and the impact of sustainable enterprise on local economic development.

Each seminar will include the following:

  • September 22 – Livonia Keynote Speaker: Diance M. Bunse, Herman Miller
  • September 24 – Mt. Pleasant Keynote Speaker: Gabe Wing, Herman Miller
  • Out of sight, out of mind? The risk of complacency with Michigan’s water & energy resources
  • Sustainable Product Standards: Green expectations of a changing market place
  • Working towards Zero Waste- what does it really mean?
  • Corporate, social opportunities with the Trip Bottom Line: Bill Stough, Sustainable Research Group

These events are designed to support the on-going revitalization of Michigan’s manufacturing communities through innovation and creative problem-solving to address rapid changes in the local and global marketplace.   This includes the framework of the U.S. EPA Economy, Energy, Environment Program

Who should attend:

  • Small and Medium Sized Manufacturers/Suppliers
  • Local Government Representatives
  • Lean Consultants
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Original Equipment Manufacturers
  • Universities
  • Community Foundations
  • Economic and Manufacturing Associations


Celebrating P2 Week and the 25th Anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act

Monday, August 17th, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015

Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act. Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, celebrated during the third week of September each year (September 21-27, 2015),  highlights the efforts of EPA, its state partners, industry, and the public in preventing pollution right from the start.

How can your organization tell the P2 story all year long? Here are some ideas.

  • Buy greener products for your home or office.
  • Develop and implement a green purchasing policy for your organization. There are links to model policies here.
  • If you’re a public agency (including a public school or a library), join the State Electronics Challenge.
  • Give tours of your green business to showcase your efforts.
  • Organize a green business fair.
  • Host a workshop, brown bag lunch, or seminar related to pollution prevention.
  • Share stories about successfully implemented pollution prevention projects. For example, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center has developed a series of case studies that highlight organizations that have won the Governor’s Sustainability Awards.
  • Designate a place in your organization for people to share office supplies that they no longer need.
  • Organize a contest to reward employees for sharing ideas to prevent pollution.
  • Visit a local classroom to talk with kids about things that they can do to waste less stuff. Resources, including suggested picture books and craft ideas, are available here.
  • Use reusable utensils, lunch bags, and cups/mugs for meals.
  • Make your meetings, conferences, and workshops more sustainable. EPA’s green meetings guide has excellent tips.
  • Host a “Bike to Work” day. Looking ahead, encourage your staff to participate in National Bike to Work Week.
  • Make your home and office more energy efficient. The ENERGY Star web site has many suggestions.
  • Add the 25th Anniversary of the P2 Act logo (at the top of the post) to your web site. Use it as a button to link to your organization’s or GLRPPR’s P2 resources. Or simply use the logo on your agency or program pages to identify and promote P2.
  • Use the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable’s P2 Week Toolkit to add P2 to your social media strategy. Use #P2Week on Twitter when promoting P2 during P2 Week. Use #25YearsofP2 to raise awareness all year long.

This is a small sample of things that you can do. Have other suggestions? Share them in the comments!


A Brief Guide to LibGuides (and how this relates to P2 Week)

Friday, September 19th, 2014 by

Pollution Prevention 101 LibguideLibGuides is a web 2.0 platform that libraries use to create topical guides to help their users find information. It combines the best features of social networks, wikis, and blogs into one package. Librarians can incorporate RSS feeds, video, web links, bibliographic citations, search boxes, and other finding aids.

LibGuides also allows librarians to create polls and allows users to comment on specific resources and tools within each guide. Users can also sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new content is published, either for particular topics/keywords or for a specific librarian.

Nine of GLRPPR’s topic hubs have been repackaged as LibGuides. They are:

In addition to the repackaged topic hubs, I have developed a number of other guides on various sustainability topics, including the Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide (pictured to the right), which is a compilation of tools and resources useful for P2 technical assistance providers, particularly those who are new to the field.

Other sustainability LibGuides include:

GLRPPR continues to develop new guides on sustainability topics to support the work of the region’s pollution prevention practitioners. If there is a particular topic that you’d like to see us cover, please let us know in the comments.

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.


5 Source Reduction Tips for Electronics Consumers

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by

SEI-LinkedIn-Logo-colorHappy P2 Week, from the Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI), GLRPPR’s partner in creating a sustainable future! P2, or pollution prevention, is defined by the U.S. EPA as “reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream.” Source reduction is a key element in P2.

So let’s talk about source reduction as it relates to electronics, and more specifically, electronics consumers. Not everyone reading this post is an electronics manufacturer, electrical engineer, computer scientist, electronics recycler, or someone else who might be involved the design, production, or end-of-life management of electronic devices. But you are all certainly electronics consumers, scanning these words on the screen of your smartphone, desktop, laptop, tablet, or other device. Given that, the following are five ways we can all practice source reduction in one way or another as we choose and use the gadgets that support our work and play.

1. Buy EPEAT registered products. Originally funded by the US EPA, Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, is a searchable database of electronics products in certain categories, which is administered currently by the Green Electronics Council. EPEAT criteria are developed collaboratively by a range of stakeholders, including manufacturers, environmental groups, academia, trade associations, government agencies, and recycling entities. Criteria for current product categories are based upon the IEEE 1680 family of Environmental Assessment Standards (IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, also known primarily by its acronym). The criteria include attributes from throughout the product life cycle–i.e. throughout the stages of design, manufacture, use, and disposal, including such relevant issues as reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials, and product longevity/life extension. The EPEAT registry currently includes desktops, laptops/notebooks, workstations, thin clients, displays (computer monitors), televisions, printers, copiers, scanners, multifunction devices, fax machines, digital duplicators and mailing machines. New products may be added to the registry in the future as criteria are developed for them.

2. Buy refurbished devices. Maybe you’re concerned about the environmental and social impacts of manufacturing electronics, such as mining, use of potentially hazardous materials, labor issues, energy use (did you know that most of the energy consumption in the life cycle of a computer is in its manufacture, not its use?). You might also worry about the ever growing mountains of e-waste that society is generating. The surest way to reduce all of those negative impacts is to reduce the number of new devices that are produced to meet our consumer demand. No, I’m not suggesting that we must all turn our backs on technology and join a commune. But if you genuinely need another device, or  a replacement for one that finally gave up the ghost, remember you don’t have to buy something grand spanking new. And that doesn’t mean you have to take your chances shopping for used electronics, which may or may not end up functioning correctly, from some anonymous source on an online marketplace. Refurbished electronics differ from “used” electronics in a key way–they’ve been tested and verified to function properly. Often these are items that have been returned to a manufacturer or retailer because someone had a change of heart, or there was some defect found while the item was under warranty. In that case, the item could be like new, or is easily repaired, but it can’t legally be resold as new. So, once it has been checked for proper functioning and repaired if necessary, the item is designated “refurbished”–and sold at a discount. Refurbished items may also have been used as display units or even sent to an electronics recycler who determined that the device still functioned, or who returned it to full functionality through repair. Finding refurbished items is pretty easy. Ask the clerks at the electronics retail outlet if there are any refurbished items in stock. If you’re shopping online, most big electronics retailer web sites allow you to search for refurbished items in their catalogs, and may even designate them as “certified refurbished” devices, granting their personal assurance that they’ve thoroughly tested those items. And some independent electronics recyclers and asset management firms have their own online stores for selling items they refurbish. If you decide to go that route, start at the US EPA’s list of certified electronics recyclers to find responsible recyclers in your area, and check their web sites. You’ll rest easy knowing you extended the useful life of a device AND saved yourself some money compared to a brand new device.

3. Use multifunction devices. Another great way to reduce the number of devices you or your organization buy, and thus ultimately have to dispose of, is to use devices that can serve more than one purpose. Classic examples are devices that can perform various combinations of the following tasks: printing, copying, scanning, faxing, and emailing. Now  “2-in-1” computers are also popular–converting between laptop and tablet configurations through detachable keyboards or screen flipping and folding gymnastics. Besides reducing the number of devices being used, there’s also potential space saving, power saving, and cost savings to consider in favor of multifunction devices.

4. Use networking to reduce the number of printers in your home or office. Odds are your office already uses networking to connect multiple devices to one printer, but at home you might still have separate printers for the kids’ bedroom and the office space the adults use downstairs, for example. You can set up networking at home too, and you don’t have to be “technologically inclined” to do it. Check out Microsoft’s guide to setting up a network printer or this guide from that can address non-Windows devices as well. And at work, even if you have to print confidential information, you can still use a network printer and not have your own machine by your desk, by using confidential printing options available on modern printers. See the University of Illinois guide to confidential printing, or this guide from Office to learn how. If these don’t exactly address the make and model of printer you have, search the Internet for “confidential printing” plus the brand of printer you have, and you’ll probably find the help you need.

5. Repair instead of replace. Again, this is not something only the “technologically inclined” can accomplish. We’ve been trained to think of our devices as both literal and figurative “black boxes” which run on magic by the grace of fickle technological gods, never to be understood by mere mortals. Nonsense. Not only can you likely find plenty of computer/technology repair services in your area (which is great for your local economy), you can actually perform repair yourself–I know you can. Check out the iFixit web site for example. They provide an online community for sharing photo-filled, easy to follow repair guides, not just for electronics, but for all sorts of things. Did your smartphone screen crack? Search for it on the iFixit site before you replace it. You might not only find the guide to show you how to fix the problem, but the new screen and the tools you’ll need to do the work as well, which will likely be cheaper than the new device you might buy otherwise. The folks at iFixit also like to assign “repairability scores” to devices, which can help you purchase items that are easier to repair, and thus keep around longer. Of course tinkering with your device might affect the warranty, if one still applies. Be sure you understand the terms of your warranties first. There are some discussions on the iFixit site related to warranties, and you might also be interested in their commentary on some of the controversy surrounding what is known as “the right to repair.”

Do you have other source reduction suggestions related to electronics? Feel free to share them in the comments section.