Archive for the 'Technical assistance' Category

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:

MPCA and Freshwater Future collaborate to spread the word about reducing PAH contamination from coal tar sealcoat

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 by

This post was co-authored by Al Innes of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Cheryl Kallio of Freshwater Future. If you’d like your sustainability project featured on the GLRPPR Blog, contact Laura Barnes.

Freshwater Future, a non-profit based in west Michigan, has been “spreading” the word about reducing PAH contamination from coal tar sealcoat across the Great Lakes.  The hundreds of citizens and community-based organizations in Freshwater Future’s network learned about coal tar PAH issues over the summer, and now universities, contractors, and local governments are making commitments to move from coal tar to safer alternatives.

PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are chemicals which can cause cancer in humans and be toxic to aquatic life, and new studies are connecting them to developmental disabilities in children.  Vehicle emissions and wood smoke are other sources of PAH pollution, but coal tar sealcoat, which is around 5% PAHs by weight, is a readily-reduced source.  Applied properly, the asphalt-based sealcoats available today are equivalent in performance and cost to coal tar, at 1/1000th the amount of PAHs.  Zero-PAH alternatives are available, as well.

In response to Freshwater Future’s outreach to date, 14 Michigan cities and townships have passed resolutions not to use coal tar on city property or to encourage residents to do the same. Their location along the Great Lakes and in the watershed is important, since studies conducted in Toronto and elsewhere show coal tar PAHs being carried to lakeshore sediments by runoff from paved surfaces.

Many of the contractors committing not to apply coal tar are located near the western Michigan cities taking action, so Freshwater Future and partners can help connect property owners in those areas to the committed contractors to help grow the market for safer alternatives.

In addition, two universities in Ontario, two in Michigan, and two in Illinois have pledged not to use coal tar on their paved surfaces.  The University of Michigan had previously ended its use.

Since the project began, over 8,000 individuals and organizations have been educated, 52 property owners and providers have voluntarily taken action, and pledged contractors interviewed have eliminated 93,500 gallons of coal tar sealcoat over 2 application seasons.  The midpoint estimate of the resulting PAH reductions is 39 tons.  Partners will gather voluntary reduction data for 2014 in November and December and submit final reports to the project’s funder, EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The wave of local bans and supplier/contractor commitments in Minnesota led to a statewide ban which took effect in 2014.

The Great Lakes protection and pollution prevention networks can continue coal tar PAH reduction by educating their contacts and clientele: businesses, shopping centers, schools, universities, places of worship, local governments, homeowner associations, citizens – really, anyone owning or maintaining asphalt pavement.  Information and tools for this outreach are available through the Freshwater Future web site, at http://freshwaterfuture.org/ourissues/coal-tar-sealants/.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will continue to accept reduction commitments from contractors, suppliers, universities, and other property owners in Great Lakes states (except in Minnesota where the statewide ban is in place) and Ontario.  MPCA staff will post these commitments and government actions in the Basin at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/uu4yx6y.  MPCA and partners encourage prevention and protection professionals to actively promote sign-ups by providers, and their hiring by pavement owners.

A compilation of project deliverables to date and links to information about the health and environmental issues associated with PAH pollution are available at https://storify.com/lbarnes/pah-pollution-from-coal-tar-sealants.

EPA Increases Access to Information Regarding Toxic Chemicals

Monday, October 13th, 2014 by

Last week, the US EPA reported that it has posted additional data and improved usability of ChemView, a database of chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). By giving the public greater access to chemical information, the EPA assists consumers in making smarter decisions about the ingredients in everyday products. The EPA added more Significant New Use Rules (SNURs), additional chemicals, and an updated Safer Chemicals Ingredients list. This online tool now provides information on almost 10,000 chemicals. Not only has the update provide more information to users, but also it has improved the display, to increase efficiency when using the tool.

The EPA launched ChemView in 2013 to increase the availability of information on chemicals as part of a commitment to strengthen the existing chemicals program and improve access to and usefulness of chemical data and information. The tool displays key health and safety information and uses data in a format that allows quick understanding, with links to more detailed information. Searches can be conducted by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service number, use, hazard effect, or regulatory action and has the flexibility to create tailored views of the information on individual chemicals.

Check out the updates and complete this ten minute customer satisfaction survey to provide the agency with your feedback on the usefulness of the tool, how its functionality can be improved, and suggestions for additional content.

Introducing the Greening Sports Directory (GSD)

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 by

Courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, our P2Rx Center partner in Region 10.

What is the Greening Sports Directory?

Introducing the Greening Sports DirectoryThe Greening Sports Directory (or GSD) is a comprehensive directory of local, regional, and national contacts and resources to help sports facilities green their operations – whether professional, university-level, or recreational. Facilities looking to improve their energy efficiency or their green purchasing practices now have a rich list of contacts available to assist their efforts. The directory is organized into 20 specific Green Topics. It currently includes 18 major metro areas in 16 states. PPRC updates and adds to the directory on a monthly basis. This month, we added three new metro areas: Indianapolis, Dallas, and Atlanta.

 Who is it for?

Our primary audiences are sports organizations – from professional teams to pee-wee leagues. But the GSD includes useful resources for every kind of organization – businesses large to small, manufacturing industries to the service and hospitality sector. Whatever your sector, we encourage you to check out the directory to see how it can serve your needs. Green Sports Directory  Screen Shot

What does each metropolitan area listing include?

Listings for each metropolitan area include dozens of national, regional, and local resources organized by specific green topics, including construction & demolition debris; electronic wastes; energy efficiency; fan engagement; food donation; water; and waste & recycling.

Why a directory for sports?

Sports serve as a powerful cultural force. To green sports offers a huge opportunity to move the sustainability needle in both cities and in households. Additionally, we saw a need for a comprehensive and vetted directory that connects organizations with those regional and national resources best suited to help them. Having a slew of good resources at hand will help organizations make comprehensive and time-effective efforts to green their operations. For more Greening Sports resources, check out our Greening Sport page, as well as GLRPPR’s Green Sports sector resource.

The directory was created by the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC) with support from the EPA and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx).

 

 

Climate Action Champions: Request for Applications

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 by

From the solicitation:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to advancing the Administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change.

In recognition of the importance of the dual policy goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing climate resilience, the DOE­ – in close collaboration with other Federal agencies – is launching an initiative to identify and showcase U.S. local and tribal governments that have proven to be climate leaders through pursuing opportunities to advance both of these goals in their communities. In particular, the initiative will select 10-15 U.S. local governments and tribal governments – or regional collaborations or consortia thereof – that demonstrate a strong and ongoing commitment to implementing strategies that both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate resilience, with a particular emphasis on strategies that further both goals. The DOE-led effort will provide a platform for other Federal agencies to participate in, and give leverage to, the activities of communities that are selected for this initiative.

The DOE initiative is being led as a combined effort through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the Office of Indian Energy, and the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis.

From a story about the Initiative in The Hill:

The federal government will not award any funds as part of the initiative…

The Energy Department will administer the competition, but agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Interior Department will provide specific assistance to the communities…

Specifically, participating communities will get climate data and tools from various federal agencies to help write projections and make planning decisions.

They’ll also be able to participate in a federally organized peer group of communities fighting climate change and have access to Energy Department programs on deploying solar power locally.

For more information:

EPA proposes new rule regulating mercury in dental amalgam effluent

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by

Today, the National Journal reported that EPA has released a proposed rule that would limit the amount of pollutants, including mercury, discharged from dental offices as a result of procedures involving dental amalgam. According to EPA’s fact sheet:

The proposed rule would require all affected dentists to control mercury discharges to POTWs by reducing their discharge of dental amalgam to a level achievable through the use of the best available technology (amalgamseparators) and the use of Best Management Practices. In order to simplify compliance with, and enforcement of the numeric reduction requirements, the proposed rule would allow dentists to demonstrate compliance by installing, operating and maintaining amalgam separators. The proposal also includes a provision by which dental offices that have already installed amalgam separators that do not meet the proposed amalgam removal efficiency would still be considered in compliance with the rule for the life of the amalgam separator.

For more information on the proposed rule, including supporting documentation (when it is made available), visit http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/dental/.

 

 

New LibGuides available: Focus on resilient cities, environmental law

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 by

GLRPPR staff have recently converted the Printing — Flexography and Printing — Lithography topic hubs to LibGuides. GLRPPR staff have been working for several years to migrate the topic hub content into LibGuides to integrate social features and multimedia, as well as improve the ability to update links and other information. We will have the Sustainable Schools and P2 in Art Education topic hubs converted by the end of August, which will complete the process.

Jessica Tieman, a graduate student at the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science, has developed a guide to Illinois environmental law, with a focus on pollution prevention and sustainability. The guide was originally a class project for LIS 525 — Government Information. She graciously allowed us to republish it in the University of Illinois’ LibGuides community so that it can be continuously updated. The serves as a reference aid for Illinois statutory law relating to environmental and pollution regulations, sustainability initiatives, and energy efficiency standards. Commercial groups are encouraged to use the guide to meet state requirements. Although the guide focuses on Illinois environmental law, it also includes more general compliance assistance and federal law resources.

The librarians at the Prairie Research Institute Library have developed a new guide to assist communities with becoming more resilient in the face of a changing climate and other threats. The guide includes information on:

  • strategies for identifying and responding to many barriers to resilient communities, including climate change, natural disasters, landscape and ecosystem, and infrastructure;
  • funding sources;
  • agencies and organizations that can assist;
  • current research at the University of Illinois; and
  • case studies.

For a more general discussion of LibGuides, see my 2013 P2 Week post on the topic. For a complete list of LibGuides that I’ve developed, see http://uiuc.libguides.com/profile/laura-l-barnes.

 

 

National P2 Roundtable offers P2 101 training as three-webinar series

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 by

This course will provide an outline allowing your organization to pursue P2 action while increasing your long-term profits.  The course will consist of three one-hour webinars.

Why should you take this training?

  • Your organization will learn how to involve employees and management to participate in addressing pollution sources and contribute to developing P2 solutions.
  • This training will demonstrate how P2 will support other green initiatives employed by your organization.
  • P2 101 is ideal for engineers, scientist, technical assistance providers, environmental health and safety managers, plant managers, production personnel and regulators who are interested in learning about the foundations and applications of P2.

Webinar Dates

  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 2 PM ET
  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 2 PM ET
  • Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 2 PM ET

Cost

  • This three-part webinar training series will be offered for $500 for up to three participants from your organization.

Please contact Kim Richards at kim@p2.org to register or request more information.

**If you register for the course but are unavailable to participate in one or more of the webinars, the webinar recording will be made available for your use.

Three Tips on the Road to a Great Governor’s Award Application

Monday, April 28th, 2014 by

This post, authored by John Mulrow, Business/Industrial Sustainability Specialist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, originally appeared on the ISTC Blog. Although it is directed at Illinois companies that are applying for an Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award, its excellent sustainability reporting suggestions apply to any organiztion.

To learn more about the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award, visit http://www.istc.illinois.edu/info/govs_awards.cfm. Also be sure to check out John’s recent P2 Impact column entitled “3 magic words to mute ‘sustainababble‘”, which offers examples of ways that organizations can make sustainability a meaningful word.

If your organization has done a lot in the name of sustainability – from projects that save money and resources to initiatives that strengthen the people and communities you work for – what are you waiting for? The Governor’s Sustainability Award provides a great opportunity for you to pull all of your sustainability work together into a single document: Your award application!

Because sustainability encompasses the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Profit – it can be tough to wrap one’s brain around all that should be included in your application. Our How To Apply page and FAQ’s will help you in that process, but we know that’s a lot to read! Here are three tips to help you cut to the chase, and get started on your application (due May 22).

1. Get key people on board

Governor’s Award Applications are typically a team effort, but there is often a single person or small team that drives the process forward. The application drivers can be anyone – from top management to employees who volunteer time on a Green Team. If you’re reading this, you may be the driver!

Send a note out to co-workers letting them know you’re preparing a Gov.’s Award application. Here are some key people to get on board early (positions vary by organization):

  • Top Management
  • Facilities/Operations Manager
  • Plant Manager
  • Sustainability Officer/Green Team Lead
  • PR Officer

 2. Read these two things

  1. Narrative Guidelines –You have up to six single-spaced pages to describe your sustainability accomplishments. These guidelines tell you how.
  2. Metrics Form Instructions – Download the Metrics Form (Microsoft Excel format) and read the Instructions tab.

 3. Check out the sample applications

ISTC provides sample applications that display best practices from past winners’ applications. Note that a good application typically includes a variety of projects touching on multiple impacts or aspects of sustainability. The project descriptions will also include some detail on how they were conceived and who was involved. We want to hear how your organization went from idea to implementation.

BONUS TIP: Consider normalizing your data

Normalized data is reported on a relevant per-unit basis. One of our 2013 award winners, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, tracked their water use in this way before and after implementing water conservation measures in their wash bay. Instead of simply reporting total gallons of water consumed, they reported gallons per vehicle-hour, providing us with a water-use measure that can be compared across years, regardless of how many trips the buses make.  This type of measurement, a normalized metric, is extremely helpful for evaluating your progress – the true impact of a sustainability project.

Check out the Illinois Manufacturer Inc. sample application for more normalization examples and talk to your team about what per-unit measures you might use in your application.

If you still have questions about the process, contact John Mulrow for more information at jmulrow@illinois.edu or 630.586.9168.

WaterSense H2Otel Challenge Webinars

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 by

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially launched the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge one month ago to help hotels assess, change, and track their water use using best management practices. Interested hotels can dive right in and take the pledge today, and any organization can help spread the word and recruit hotels.

As part of the H2Otel Challenge, WaterSense is offering a series of technical training webinars that begin this week. To learn more about the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge, review specific water best management practices, and hear from professionals who are using water more efficiently, register now: