Archive for the 'Technical assistance' Category

Two upcoming WaterSense webinars

Monday, August 24th, 2015 by

A for Assess: Setting Goals and Developing a Water Management Plan
Thu, Aug 27, 2015 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3046252306454514433

Join us for WaterSense’s second of four technical training webinars of 2015 for C&I facilities. As discussed in the first webinar of this series, water management planning starts with a facility assessment. This webinar will build on that concept by helping participants use the information collected during a facility assessment to establish water use reduction goals and develop a water management plan. Following this webinar, you’ll be ready to prepare your water management plan by incorporating realistic goals—which is the next step in managing and reducing your water use.

C for Change: Implementing Your Water Management Plan and Other Best Management Practices
Thu, Oct 22, 2015 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6444765782096765697

WaterSense’s third of four technical training webinars of 2015 for C&I facilities will walk through some of the most cost-effective projects and biggest water savers that can be implemented at your facility. WaterSense will provide an overview of water-efficient operating procedures, retrofits, and replacements in private use restrooms, public restrooms, commercial kitchens, mechanical spaces, and outdoor landscapes. From this webinar, participants should come away with new ideas and more details about water-saving projects to implement at their facility.

To view archived WaterSense webinars, visit http://www.epa.gov/watersense/commercial/webinars.html.

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

Monday, August 17th, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015

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

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

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

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

 

Green Lunchroom Challenge to Assist IL Schools with Food Waste Prevention, Reduction

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 by

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, food production represents 10 percent of the total US energy budget, uses 50 percent of US land, and accounts for 80 percent of the freshwater we consume–yet, 40 percent of food in the US goes uneaten. And in 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children. Food waste is clearly both a tremendous problem and opportunity for improving the sustainability of our society. Reducing food waste in schools not only helps to ensure those precious expended resources are providing nutrition as intended, but also provides the opportunity to set important examples of conservation and systems thinking among our impressionable youth, which will hopefully stay with them as they become our next generation of leaders.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is therefore pleased to announce an exciting new project that addresses this important societal and environmental challenge. In order to identify sources of food waste in K-12 schools and facilitate its prevention and reduction, ISTC, in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), UI Extension, and Beyond Green Partners, Inc., is launching the Green Lunchroom Challenge this fall. Funded by US EPA Region 5, the program is open for participation from K-12 schools throughout the state. Marketing of the program will however, be targeted toward underserved regions of southern Illinois, including Pulaski, Alexander, Marion, White, and Fayette counties. According to data from the ISBE, over 70 percent of K-12 students in those counties are eligible for assistance through the National School Lunch Program. By preventing and reducing food waste in these areas particularly, and throughout the state, it is hoped the Challenge will not only achieve environmental benefits, but also stretch federal and state assistance and resources through increased efficiency.

Elementary school students in cafeteria

Photo: USDA Blog

Similar to the successful Illinois Green Office Challenge, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary, “friendly competition,” in which participating schools will choose among a variety of suggested activities to improve the sustainability of their food service. These activities will range in complexity and commitment to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget, and available community resources. Examples might include, but not be limited to, composting of food scraps, use of creative entree names and careful relative placement of food choices to reduce waste of fruit and vegetables, donation of unused food to local food banks or shelters, etc. In addition to operationally related activities, schools may also choose to integrate food waste prevention and reduction into curricula, helping students learn about food security and hunger, composting, the circular economy, and stewardship. Resources and guidance will be available on the project web site and from ISTC technical assistance staff for each recommended activity, and participants will earn points for every activity they complete. Relative progress will be displayed on an online leaderboard. On Earth Day 2016, the participating public K-12 school with the most points will be declared the winner for the year and will receive public recognition and a prize (to be determined) to foster continuous improvement.

A kickoff workshop will be held in September 2015 (date and location to be announced) to introduce the Challenge; identify (in part through feedback from school and district representatives in attendance) key sources of food waste in schools, as well as barriers to its prevention; to raise awareness among potential participants of existing relevant toolkits and programs; and to provide comprehensive training on analysis and modification of menus, food procurement and inventory, lunchroom procedures, etc. Note that a school does not need to participate in the workshop to participate in the Challenge, and schools may register throughout the Challenge period (Sept. 1, 2015- April 1, 2016). While the competition is only open to K-12 schools in Illinois, ISTC hopes that other states and organizations beyond schools will be able to use resources developed for the Challenge to guide food waste reduction and prevention in their operations and regions.

Interested parties may contact Joy Scrogum with questions or to request addition to the mailing list for more information on the workshop and activities as it becomes available. The project web site will be available soon, and potential participants will be able to sign up to receive further information there as well. (The URL for the program web site will be posted in the comments of this post as soon as it is live.)

cafeteria tray

Photo by Tim Lauer, principal of Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon

This post was originally published on the ISTC Blog, July 7, 2015.

EPA launches new greenhouse gas inventory tools for local and tribal governments

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 by

EPA is pleased to announce that it has launched two free, interactive spreadsheet tools to help local governments and tribes across the United States evaluate their greenhouse gas emissions.

Both tools calculate greenhouse gas emissions for many sectors, including residential, commercial, transportation, and waste and water management. Each tool consists of two separate parts: one for community-wide inventories, the other for inventories of local or tribal government operations only.

These tools were designed to make calculating emissions flexible and easy: they are pre-programmed with default data, or the user may enter community-specific information.

Who should use these inventory tools?

The tool is designed for governments interested in compiling a relatively quick and simple GHG inventory. Local, tribal, and regional governments interested in developing emissions estimates should visit the Develop a Greenhouse Gas Inventory page for suggested approaches, key steps, case studies, and resources to determine if this simplified approach is appropriate for them and learn about other options.

What can you do with the results?

  • Create an emissions baseline
  • Track emissions trends
  • Assess the relative contributions of emissions sources
  • Communicate with stakeholders
  • Partner with other municipalities to create a regional inventory
  • Develop mitigation strategies and policies
  • Measure progress toward meeting GHG reduction goals

Great Lakes Region Awarded Restoration Initiative Grants by the EPA

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 by

The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded various cities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Shoreline Cities grants, totaling over $1.8 million. More than $800,000 was awarded to four cities in Wisconsin; more than $430,000 was awarded to four cities in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan; and more than $500,000 to three cities in northern Ohio. These funds are to be used for green infrastructure projects that will prevent contaminants from entering the water ways and improve water quality in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Erie. Many of the economies of the cities along the shores of the Great Lakes rely heavily on the existing ecosystem, making it imperative to take action in order to preserve it. Porous pavement, bioswales, and rain gardens are just a few of the many improvements that will be made to these 11 cities. More information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grants can be found at www.glri.us.

Climate Solutions University Now Accepting Applications for 2016

Friday, June 12th, 2015 by

Climate Solutions University has helped more than 30 communities create adaptation plans that are ready for implementation. Your region is a good fit for the program if you need to tackle the following challenges:

  • Social equity and the impact of climate change on vulnerable citizens
  • A regional approach to planning that integrates urban and rural linkages
  • Threats to watersheds, forest, and economic resources using an ecosystem services model

Who should apply to Climate Solutions University?

  • Community leaders of local government agencies
  • Watershed organizations and resource conservation districts
  • Nonprofits
  • Civic organizations

Participants foster positive, sustainable connections between people, economic, and ecosystem health! This is done through market solutions based in solid research. Visit Climate Solutions University or contact Recruitment Coordinator Josh Dye via email or at 612-481-8059 to get started.

Federal Green Challenge Winners Announced

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 by

Last week, the award winners for the Federal Green Challenge were announced by the US EPA for all 10 regions. Over 400 organizations took action to reduce their environmental impact, through various target areas, including waste, electronics, purchasing, water, energy and transportation. The Federal Green Challenge chooses winners from each region of the United States, encouraging facilities to lead by example.

In Region 5, Lovell Federal Healthcare Center was chosen as a winner of the 2015 Federal Green Challenge for the education and outreach efforts that were used to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, Argonne National Laboratory received the award for the waste, electronics, and transportation categories for increasing the amount of materials composted, increasing the number of computers with enabled power management, and reducing the number of vehicles used with internal combustion engines. The winners for the other regions can be found here. From all of the applicants combined, over $24 million of taxpayer dollars were saved from diverting over 390,000 tons of solid waste from landfills, saving about 80 million gallons of water, recycling 450 tons of electronic waste, and reducing the amount of paper used by 15,000 pounds.

 

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.

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.