Archive for the 'P2 Week' Category

Learning from others: tips for locating P2 case studies

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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)

Friday, 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.

P2 Resources You Can Use

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 by

In 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 is 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 and on our YouTube channel.

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.

U.S. EPA Pollution Prevention Tools and Calculators

U.S. EPA has links to general P2 information; P2 tools for chemical processes and purchasing; and calculators to measure the environmental and economic outcomes of P2 activities.

Using public data to identify pollution prevention opportunities

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 by

Government agencies produce a tremendous number of publicly available data sets. In this P2 Week blog post, I’ll highlight some resources that will help you get started with a data driven approach to identifying P2 opportunities.

Webinar: Utilizing Public Data to Identify Technical Assistance Targets

The U.S. government has a wealth of data available about the environmental and economic impact of manufacturers. This webinar, hosted by ESRC,  demonstrates how to use the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, Greenhouse Gas, and Enforcement and Compliance Online (ECHO) databases and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database to identify industrial sectors and facilities that can benefit from pollution prevention technical assistance.

Information that can be easily obtained and utilized from these data sources is key for any technical assistance provider when developing a strategy to target technical assistance. Real-world examples located in regions 3 and 4 are provided.

Presentation slides, resources mentioned during the webinar, and a time-coded index for the video below are available on the ESRC web site.

How a competitor’s data can help your company cut pollution

This P2 Impact column by U.S. EPA’s Kara Koehrn explains how manufacturers can reduce pollution by using public data, chiefly Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) pollution prevention data, to learn from others in their industry.

Module 4: Identify and Target Facilities to Perform Hazardous Substances P2 Assessments

In 2013, U.S. EPA Region 5 (in collaboration with EPA headquarters) developed a 4-part training module to assist technical assistance programs (TAPs) in finding hazardous material reduction opportunities. This module demonstrates how the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program used TRI data to target their P2 technical assistance efforts. It also provides an overview of what types of information are included in TRI emissions and P2 data.

Report: Strategy for using the US EPA Toxics Release Inventory to Identify Opportunities for Diffusion of Innovative Methods for Hazardous Waste and Toxic Emission Reduction

This report shows how P2 technical assistance providers can use TRI P2 data to identify manufacturing facilities that have implemented toxics source reduction methods and facilitate the diffusion of those methods to other facilities that may be facing barriers that block adoption of P2 practices.

Report: The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data

The manufacturing sector is an important economic engine within the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While complying with applicable laws and regulations, these facilities also have an environmental impact on the region. In this study, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) used publicly available environmental data to establish a regional baseline for industrial chemical use and emissions; pollution prevention (P2) techniques; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and economic impact data for selected industry sectors in U.S. EPA Region 5. The report includes analyses of data from U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions database on Envirofacts, and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database on American FactFinder. See also GLRPPR’s paper Spotlight on U.S. EPA Region 5’s Food Manufacturing and Processing Industry for a more focused sector-based analysis.

Happy Pollution Prevention Week! (Sept 19-23, 2016)

Monday, September 19th, 2016 by

p2week2016In 1990, Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act. Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, celebrated during the third week of September each year (September 19-23, 2016),  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.

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 from 2014 for organizations looking for ways to participate.

Within the region, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will hold its 19th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show on September 27-28 in Plainfield, IN. The theme is “P2 & Sustainability: Looking to the Future.” The conference will also include presentations of the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has 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.

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 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