Archive for the 'Technical assistance' Category

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.

Webinar: Corporate Sustainability and TRI: Exploring P2 Information for Facilities and Parent Companies

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 by

Date: Wednesday, February 4, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST
Register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/ register/312174544

Do you know which companies are taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint in the U.S.?

For the past two years, TRI’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Tool has been an excellent resource for learning what industrial facilities are doing to reduce toxic chemical pollution. Now, all the facility-level P2 and waste management data reported to EPA’s TRI Program is also available at the parent company level.

Join this webinar to:

  • learn how the TRI P2 Tool can help you identify P2 successes and visually compare environmental performance at both the facility and corporate level
  • find out how to compare toxic chemical management and greenhouse gas emissions data at the corporate level
  • see what companies are doing to prevent the release of pollutants to the environment
  • get a live demonstration of the newly expanded TRI P2 Tool
  • see the latest industry- and chemical-level P2 trends featured in the 2013 TRI National Analysis report

MnTAP hosts industrial paint webinar series

Thursday, January 8th, 2015 by

This webinar series consists of short presentations on both large and small changes you can make to improve your painting processes – presented by painting industry practitioners and suppliers with first-hand experience to share. This is a chance to ask questions about how the changes worked, what was required, and how it might apply to your facility. Voluntary changes now that reduce VOC emissions could help Minnesota avoid ground level ozone regulations that are on the horizon.

Register for all three webinars at http://mntap.umn.edu/Webinar/index.html.

Session 1: January 21, 2015, 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Transfer Efficiency – Equipment and procedures to put more of your paint on the product

  • Superior Industries: Toby Weigman will discuss savings from implementation of plural component mixing and electrostatic spray equipment
  • Donaldson Inc.: Mark Walsworth will discuss the Impact of electrostatic spray equipment and high solids paint at their California plant
  • Graco: Michelle Striggow will discuss the range of transfer efficiency options including air spray improvements, electrostatics, and plural component mixing

Session 2: February 4, 2015, 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Paint Formulation Modifications – Improvements in paints that are better for the environment

  • Nordicware: Bette Danielson will discuss paint solvent selection to reduce TRI reporting
  • Graco: Eric Lilyblad will discuss paint reformulation to reduce HAPs and TRI reporting
  • Supplier TBD: Speaker will discuss the range of reformulation options and how to work with your paint supplier to modify or reformulate

Session 3: February 18, 2015, 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.
Powder Coating Considerations – Will it work for you; Can you make the system more efficient?

  • Lou Rich: Speaker will discuss why their company implemented powder coating and the benefits of the system
  • Valley Craft: Tom Balow will discuss why they are expanding their powder coating capacity
  • Powder Coating Institute: Nick Liberto will provide an introduction to powder and how to make powder coating systems efficient.

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).