Archive for the 'Publications' Category

Pollution prevention and environmental health in nail salons

Monday, May 11th, 2015 by

Last week, the New York Times ran a series on working conditions in New York City nail salons. In response, Governor Cuomo announced emergency measures to combat wage theft and health hazards faced by nail salon employees. The articles in the NYT series are:

Over the past decade, several other states have grappled with this issue. Some of the resources that resulted from these projects include:

In addition, there are quite a few research articles on environmental health risks associated with nail salons and how to prevent them. Here are several of the more recent ones:

If you’re looking for additional information on sustainability in nail and hair salons, ask the GLRPPR Help Desk Librarian.

Report Demonstrates Over $5.4 Billion in Economic Benefits from Pollution Prevention

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015The Clear Choice for Environmental Sustainability: Pollution Prevention Results from 2010 to 2012 presents available information on the achievements of state and local P2 programs for the calendar years 2010 to 2012. The Report was produced by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) based upon the results shared by 90 pollution prevention (P2) programs in the United States.

The Report shows that P2 projects yielded about $5.4 billion in economic benefits during the three year period. During this three-year period, waste was reduced by 8.9 billion pounds, which is the amount of waste produced by 5.5 million people annually. 8.8 billion gallons of water and 1.4 billion kWh of electricity were also conserved.  This study affirms that pollution prevention results in conservation of valuable resources and significant waste reductions.

Other achievements between 2010 and 2012 include 1.7 billion pounds of greenhouse gases (GHG) no longer being released into the earth’s atmosphere. There were also 30,000 attendees at P2-themed training events, more than 10,000 site visits conducted, and more than 240 environmental management systems development.

The Report is a product of the P2 Results Task Force, whose membership includes representatives from State P2 programs, EPA Headquarters and Regions, Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange Centers (P2Rx), as well as NPPR. The Task Force has developed a National Pollution Prevention Results Data System, (the System). The System aggregates data that is collected, managed, and synthesized by state and local P2 programs, non-profits, companies, and other organizations. It is a collaborative and ambitious effort to grow and maintain a national database of P2 results, with reduction efforts including behavior changes by industry; reductions in waste, energy consumption, and water usage; and economic gains achieved through these activities. P2 results data collection, reporting and analysis help P2 programs to ensure that they understand their impacts and can chart an effective course for the future.

Proven Results from Pollution Prevention

General Motors’ Toledo transmission manufacturing facility has committed to making pollution prevention and recycling a facility-wide priority. The plant’s effective energy conservation program was implemented as part of its “drive to zero” program. The program was recognized by the U.S. EPA for lowering greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent and subsequently avoiding nearly 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. GM Toledo hosts the largest rooftop solar array in the state of Ohio and uses landfill gas, which combined provide 19% of the facility’s energy use from renewable energy sources.  GM Toledo is also a landfill free facility, sending no waste from daily operations to landfill – all waste is reused, recycled or converted to energy. “Our reductions in carbon emissions from improved energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives at the Toledo facility are made possible through the ongoing collaborative work with local utilities, state and local environmental service organizations and other private businesses,” said Laura Bartling, GM’s Midwest environmental group manager. “They’ve demonstrated what can be achieved through a holistic and community-engaging approach at reducing our environmental footprint.”

Jeffrey Burke, Executive Director for NPPR said, “We have been measuring environmental outcomes since 1990 when the Pollution Prevention Act was signed by Congress.  The collective reduction of pollutants reduced into the air, water and land in the last 25 years is just astounding.  We believe that focusing on preventing pollution at its source rather than clean-up was the right choice from the start.”

To view the Report, go to http://www.p2.org/news/ .

About

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the largest membership organization in the United States devoted solely to pollution prevention (P2). The mission of the Roundtable is to provide a national forum for promoting the development, implementation, and evaluation of efforts to avoid, eliminate, or reduce pollution at the source.

P2Rx is a national partnership of regional pollution prevention information centers funded in part through grants from EPA.  They build networks, deliver P2 information, and measure P2 program results.  The strength of the network lies in the expertise and diversity among the regional centers and the variety of audiences served including government and state environmental agencies, technical assistance providers, businesses, educators, nonprofit organizations, and the general public.  For more information, visit: www.p2rx.org.

New GLRPPR White Paper: Assessing the Information Needs of Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance Providers in the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 by

As part of its 2013-2014 Pollution Prevention Information Network (PPIN) grant, GLRPPR contracted with the University of Illinois’ Survey Research Laboratory (SRL) to conduct a regional information needs assessment. The assessment was designed to determine how pollution prevention (P2) technical assistance providers in the region currently locate and access information; how they stay up-to-date in the field; how they prefer to receive training; and what training and information gaps exist within these broad focus areas. This white paper summarizes the needs assessment results. The full needs assessment report is available at http://hdl.handle.net/2142/73269.

Simplifying Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

Monday, March 2nd, 2015 by

The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has completed its Simplifying Environmentally Preferable Purchasing project, which was funded by the Roy A. Hunt Foundation. As part of the project, NERC developed Model Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines for paper, toner cartridges, and office supplies. NERC also created fact sheets on each of the EPP Model documents, and a press release about the newly developed resources. In addition, NERC presented a webinar on the importance of EPP and the EPP model documents.

Model EPP Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines

Fact Sheets on Model EPP Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines

Simplifying EPP Webinar, July 24, 2014

Press Releases

List of Other EPP Specs

New Web Resource for Safer Chemical Substitution & Alternatives Assessments

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by

The University of Wisconsin Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center (SHWEC), US EPA and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) have collaborated to develop the OECD Substitution & Alternatives Assessment Toolbox.

The toolbox is a publicly available website that contains resources relevant to safer chemical substitution and alternatives assessments. Alternative assessments are processes for identifying, comparing and selecting safer alternatives to replace hazardous chemicals with the objective of promoting sustainable production and consumption.

The Toolbox has four modules:

See also Current Landscape of Alternatives Assessment Practice: A Meta-Review, a 2013 OECD report that summarizes the literature on substitution of chemicals of concern (or alternatives assessment, which is the term in use in Northern America), with a focus on the current landscape of substitution practice in OECD member countries. It discusses definitions, principles, frameworks and tools for alternatives assessment, as well as the key drivers and audiences, and it identifies the contribution that OECD can make in this space.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency publishes BPA/BPS thermal paper reduction case studies

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 by

MPCA’s Green Chemistry and Design staff are encouraging 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 idea is catching on, and many businesses have made the change on their own. Check out these case studies:

Washington State Department of Ecology resources on chemicals in consumer products

Friday, September 5th, 2014 by

This post originally appeared on Environmental News Bits.

The Washington State Department of Ecology’s Reducing Toxic Threats Initiative is based on the principle that preventing exposures to toxics is the smartest, cheapest and healthiest way to protect people and the environment. It supports Washington State’s Children’s Safe Product Act, which requires manufacturers of children’s products sold in Washington to report if their product contains a Chemical of High Concern to Children.

As a result of this campaign, the Department has developed several useful resources on chemicals in consumer products. They include:

Call for submissions: Michigan Journal of Sustainability Special Edition on Climate Adaptation in the United States

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 by

The Michigan Journal of Sustainability is seeking high-quality work for inclusion in a special edition of our online, open-access, peer-reviewed Journal focused on strategies being taken, research underway, or promising practices to help different sectors and scales of society prepare for and build resilience to climate change. This Journal emphasizes the translation of academic sustainability research into formats that are useful and usable to practitioners and policy makers. As such, we invite abstracts that bridge the science-policy divide as it pertains to helping society adapt to existing and projected future impacts from disasters, climate variability, and long-term climate change. This special edition of our Journal is slated for release online in early 2015.

For this special edition, the Michigan Journal of Sustainability will accept timely, innovative, and informative articles translating scholarly research on efforts to prepare society and social-ecological systems more broadly, for climate change. Due to the crosscutting nature of the climate adaptation field, we strongly encourage articles that explore multi-disciplinary collaborations and articles that attempt to bridge sectoral or disciplinary divides.

Manuscripts for consideration in this special issue are due November 3, 2014 and should be submitted online at http://sustainability.umich.edu/webforms/mjs-submission.

View the complete call for papers at http://sustainability.umich.edu/mjs/submissions/.

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

 

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.