Archive for the 'Technical assistance' Category

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:

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

 

U.S. EPA Region 5 hosts one-day green chemistry/green engineering training

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 by

On December 9, U.S. EPA Region 5 held a one-day training session that provided an introduction to green chemistry and engineering basics for pollution prevention technical assistance providers. The event was also broadcast as a webinar.

Speakers and topics included:

Online modules are also being developed using this training material. They will be available in early 2014. Training materials are available from the following links:

Agenda and Overview

Presentation Slides

Module Resources

Pictured (L-R): Jeri-Lyn Garl, USEPA Region 5; Kathy Davey, USEPA HQ; Laura Barnes; Dan Marsch; Laura Babcock, MNTAP; Daniel Tietelbaum, USEPA HQ; Christine Anderson, USEPA Region 5

Pictured (L-R): Jerri-Anne Garl, USEPA Region 5; Kathy Davey, USEPA HQ; Laura Barnes, GLRPPR; Dan Marsch, ISTC; Laura Babcock, MNTAP; Daniel Teitelbaum, USEPA HQ; Christine Anderson, USEPA Region 5

Calculating Scope 3 Emissions: One University’s Experience

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 by

Today’s post is by guest author Mary Whitney, University Sustainability Coordinator for Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. It was originally offered as a response to an inquiry on GRNSCH-L, a mailing list for college and university sustainability professionals, about how to compile data for Scope 3 emissions for faculty and staff commuting distances and frequency. You can contact Mary at MWhitney At chatham.edu.

Accounting for Scope 3 requires a lot of figuring out what are your institutional  “indicators” that can give you a sound figure, even if it is imperfect. I always try to build in assumptions that would result in over-estimating carbon burden.

Over the last 5 years I’ve refined our commuting report and would be glad to share what we’ve developed. I still have to figure out how to account for Prius vs. Hummer issues yet though, so I’d be glad of advice on that!

When we’ve compared it to surveys, it is MORE reliable. We used to have to set up the survey, then all the reminders trying to get enough responses, etc. It was a real pain and took too much time, and it wasn’t even very accurate. Then we switched to having people put in their miles when they filled out the parking permit form, but it was wildly inaccurate – people were  just guessing.

Here’s what we have worked out since:

In order to park a car on campus you have to have a permit, and so we get a list of all permit holders from the transportation office. I have the make/model and the zipcode for each person. I correlate that with a report from HR that tells me if they’re faculty or staff, 12-month or 9-month, full or part time, and another from the registrar with students full or part time.

We then assume that full time is every day, 5 days a week. This is often NOT the case, but this way we won’t undercount trips. Part-time is considered to be 3 days a week, although again, it is often less. This assumes you’re here for a MWF schedule, even though many people are only doing T/TH. I can’t tell, but again, the assumption is that it’s more trips, not less. Faculty and students are counted for 36 weeks, staff work 49.

In cases where someone is part-time but attends every day, I would undercount, but so far I haven’t found many. It would be technically possible, I suppose, to cross-tab that with more registrar data, but that would be too burdensome, and I’ve made the decision not to do that. I figure that that possibility will be evened out by the person that is counted as full-time but does one marathon day of classes, 9-9pm. So afar I’ve found one of each of those extremes, so it seems a fair way to calculate.

Then I use a site that lets me set a radius from a zipcode. I saved a list of all zipcodes in various radii from the campus. We do every mile up to 25 miles, then jump to 30, then up to 50. I calculated them at www.freemaptools.com/find-zip-codes-inside-radius.htm.

We tested the zipcode radius with many people’s real mileage, and it was surprisingly (and happily) very close!  As a way to get a good number without putting a mileage recorder on their car, it works well. We always include the summer campers, using registration data from the camp. I assume that kids living over 50 miles are actually staying with Grandma nearby, calculated at 5 miles away, and we assume that anyone living less than 1/2 mile is driving, although in reality most of the people that live that close walk to camp each day, as we discovered! Again, overestimating so we don’t underestimate.

Then I have a spreadsheet calculate the whole mess. For example, Zipcode 11111 is 6 miles away, Jane Doe lives in 11111 , works full-time as staff on a 12-month contract. 6×2 for each day, x5 days a week, x 49 weeks = 2940 miles per year. Believe it or not, it is actually simple once you get the basic spreadsheet set up. The zipcode distances auto-populate, and so does a code for FT, PT, etc.

I do a similar thing with students and faculty who do not have parking permits, with the assumption that they are taking the bus, unless they are on the bike commuter list that get the tax credit.

If someone is getting dropped off by car and never has a permit, I cannot account for that, but they are at least captured somewhat in the bus calculations. There are also people who I KNOW walk to campus every day, but I calculate them as at least bus commuters, figuring it helps even out and reduce undercounting carbon impact. Not perfect, but everyone gets counted somewhere a little.

 

Avoid hazards of coal tar asphalt sealcoats

Friday, September 20th, 2013 by

Most of us are familiar with the odor and deep black appearance of freshly sealcoated asphalt. Sealcoats are used to improve the appearance and prolong the life of driveways and parking lots.Some sealcoat products contain coal tar, a byproduct of coke manufacturing, which is a health and environmental hazard. A new series of fact sheets produced by the UW-Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center discusses the toxicity, health and environmental hazards of coal tar and suggests ways to reduce risk.

Topics covered by the fact sheets include:

Following the lead of Dane County and the State of Washington, Minnesota recently enacted a ban on the sale and use of coal tar-based asphalt sealcoats that will take effect in January 2014, bringing the entire state in line with bans already in place in 28 Minnesota counties.

To learn more about UW-Extension’s work to enhance Wisconsin’s environment and economy, visit the Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center on the web at http://www4.uwm.edu/shwec/index.cfm

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

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by

p2 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.

Five 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 at the end of the post), 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: