Archive for the 'Technical assistance' Category

Registration now open for 2017 Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Minneapolis

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by

email-savethedate

Registration is now open for the 2017 Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. The conference will be held in Minneapolis on May 2-4, 2017.

Sessions include:

  • Pollution Prevention 101 pre-conference training (half day)
  • Tour of Ecolab’s Schuman Campus in Eagan, MN (half day)
  • A full day of facilitated large and small group discussion centering on U.S. EPA’s National Emphasis areas.
  • Interactive workshops on engagement, and materials substitution
  • Hands-on training with a variety of online P2 tools.

For more information and to register, visit the conference web site.

Use EPA’s Safer Choice label to make better purchasing decisions

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by

saferchoice_rgbFinding products that are safer for you, your employees, your family, and the environment should be easy. That’s why EPA developed the new Safer Choice label. Products with the Safer Choice label help consumers and commercial buyers identify products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance.

More than 2,000 products currently qualify to carry the Safer Choice label. You can find products for your home at retail stores, as well as products to use in facilities like schools, hotels, offices, and sports venues.

Participation in the Safer Choice program is voluntary. Companies that make products carrying the Safer Choice label have invested heavily in research and reformulation to ensure that their products meet the Safer Choice Standard. These companies are leaders in safer products and sustainability.

Products have to meet stringent criteria in order to earn the Safer Choice label. In addition to product ingredients, the program also considers product performance, pH, packaging and more to ensure that products with the label are safer for you and your family. Once a product meets the Safer Choice Standard, EPA conducts annual audits to ensure that they continue to do so.

You can search for products that meet the Safer Choice Standard here. If you’re a manufacturer who wants learn more about qualifying for the program and applying for certification, EPA has more information here.

Call for authors: GreenBiz.com’s P2 Impact column

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 by

p2 impact long

P2Rx hosts P2 Impact, a monthly P2 column for the GreenBiz newsletter. We are seeking authors to write articles according to our guidelines. Articles need to be exclusive to P2Rx and GreenBiz among green-focused websites, with the exception of summaries appearing on your own company or personal site.

What We Want: Current topics relevant to P2 and sustainability program managers and to the green business community. We will accept both shorter (400-600 word) and longer (800-1,200 word) pieces across a range of topics. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Stories of companies or initiatives
  • Insights into business process, operations, or technologies
  • Profiles or Q&A with business leaders or thought leaders
  • Case studies and best business practices with respect to P2
  • Advice and how-to pieces

What We Don’t Want: Technical or scientific debates; politics, except to the extent it directly affects business strategy; reviews of consumer products; rants; or repurposed press releases.

Visit the P2 Impact archive to read past columns.

Send article proposals to l-barnes@illinois.edu by Friday, February 3 to have it considered for publication in calendar year 2017. Include a brief paragraph of the planned article theme, length, focus, topics covered and possible arguments. Include a short biography of the author including P2 experience.

For more information on the process and detailed guidelines, visit http://wp.istc.illinois.edu/glrppr/guidelines-instructions-for-submitting-articles-to-p2rx-greenbiz-column/.

Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar Oct. 13: Waste Reduction with SCARCE

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 by

Join the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) Thursday, October 13 for a Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar, “Waste Reduction with SCARCE.” The webinar will be broadcast from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM Central, and will be recorded and posted to the Challenge web site for later viewing. Register online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6855430088212534276.

School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE), is an environmental education and assistance organization based in DuPage County, IL. Kay McKeen, SCARCE Founder and Executive Director, and Erin Kennedy, Environmental Educator and LEED GA, will discuss resources and guidance available from SCARCE to help your school or district achieve food waste reduction and diversion goals.

Coordinated by ISTC with funding from US EPA Region 5, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary pledge program for schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations. By registering, participants are accepting the challenge to reduce and prevent food waste in their facilities. The Challenge involves suggested activities that range in complexity and commitment, to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget and available community resources. Participants are not required to complete activities, but with each activity that is completed successfully, they earn points and can be recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment. Learn more, and register your school or district, at www.greenlunchroom.org.

SCARCElogo

Tools for alternatives assessment

Friday, September 30th, 2016 by

One way that manufacturers can reduce their environmental impact is by replacing a toxic or hazardous process chemical with a less hazardous or non-hazardous one. The following resources are useful when trying to identify less toxic alternatives.

SUBSPORT: Substitution Support Portal

SUBSPORT is a free-of-charge, multilingual platform for information exchange on alternative substances and technologies, as well as tools and guidance for substance evaluation and substitution management. It includes:

Program for Assisting the Replacement of Industrial Solvents (PARIS III)

PARIS III, developed by U.S. EPA, is a desktop/laptop application that allows users to find mixtures of solvents with specific physical and chemical properties that also have relatively low environmental impacts. The software helps users find replacements for solvent mixtures that are currently being used in industrial processes but have dangerous environmental side effects. The software can also be used to find solvents with lower environmental impact when designing new industrial processes, as well as more benign solvents that can be added to harmful solvents favored by industry to help reduce the harmful environmental impact of their processes.

CleanerSolutions Database

The CleanerSolutions Database, developed by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, helps users select an alternative cleaner that meets their needs. The information is based on lab testing done by TURI. Use the tool to find a cleaner for a particular contaminant; replace a solvent; identify products based on safety and environmental criteria; and search by vendor information.

P2OASys Tool to Compare Materials

Sometimes changing chemicals or processes can have unintended environmental and health impacts. TURI’s P2OASys is an Excel based tool that allows companies to assess the potential environmental, worker, and public health impacts of alternative technologies aimed at reducing toxics use. The goal is more comprehensive and systematic thinking about the potential hazards posed by current and alternative processes identified during the TUR planning process. The tool can help companies:

  •  Systematically examine the potential environmental and worker impacts of options, examining the total impacts of process changes, rather than simply those of chemical changes
  •  Compare options with current processes based on quantitative and qualitative factors.

Chemical Hazard Assessment Database

The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) Chemical Hazard Assessment Database enables users to search for GreenScreen® and Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT) assessments. The purpose of this tool is to promote awareness of assessments conducted on chemicals of high concern, facilitate transparency and discussion, and reduce duplication of effort. IC2 also has alternatives assessment resources, including a guide and links to other assessment materials.

Safer Chemical Ingredients List

The Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL)is a list of chemical ingredients, arranged by functional-use class, that U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Program has evaluated and determined to be safer than traditional chemical ingredients. This list is designed to help manufacturers find safer chemical alternatives that meet the criteria of the Safer Choice Program. Safer Choice also has other resources available for manufacturers.

Environmental, Health and Safety Data Resources

Although chemical manufacturers provide material safety data sheets with their chemicals, sometimes this information isn’t enough. TURI’s librarian created this guide to assist in researching environmental, health and safety information for chemicals.

Happy Pollution Prevention Week! (Sept 19-23, 2016)

Monday, September 19th, 2016 by

p2week2016In 1990, Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act. Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, celebrated during the third week of September each year (September 19-23, 2016),  highlights the efforts of EPA, its state partners, industry, and the public in preventing pollution right from the start. Here at GLRPPR, we’ll be publishing a P2 related blog post each day and will also be spreading the P2 message on Twitter using the hashtag #P2Week.

The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have information about events occurring throughout the country. NPPR also has a handy P2 Week Toolkit from 2014 for organizations looking for ways to participate.

Within the region, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will hold its 19th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show on September 27-28 in Plainfield, IN. The theme is “P2 & Sustainability: Looking to the Future.” The conference will also include presentations of the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has compiled a P2 Week Planner, which includes a sample resolution and press release.

What are you doing to celebrate P2 Week? Share your activities in the comments.

Workshop: Pollution Prevention and Lean Principles for Food Manufacturers, July 27, Chicago

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 by

July 27, 2016, 8 am-5 pm
Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Lake Huron Room
77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604

Cost: $125 (Lunch on your own)

Register at http://go.illinois.edu/P2andLeanWorkshop

Questions? Contact Laura Barnes

This workshop will help you improve the efficiency of your organization by identifying ways to limit pollutants and apply lean principles within an environmental management system.

Lean operating principles help your company improve the bottom line, reduce your regulatory burdens, and increase the overall efficiency of your organization.

Food manufacturers achieve significant savings when they put pollution prevention into practice.

  • Cargill, a major US meat manufacturer, reduced 7,800,000 pounds of methane gas and reduced natural gas by 20-35% by investing in an automated biogas capture system, which saved them $750,000 dollars.
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) used a P2 approach to save over $69,000 in reducing air emissions while generating over $250,000 per year by re-using boiler ash as a raw material used for cement, concrete blocks, and other products.
  • Anheuser-Busch installed a multi-stage residuals evaporator which reduced the amount of BOD loadings to the sewer by nearly 23,000 pounds annually saving them $1,500,000.

Although this workshop is targeted at food manufacturers, attendees from other industrial sectors are welcome.

Who should attend?

  • Facility managers
  • Environmental & safety managers & directors
  • Environmental health & safety (EHS) personnel
  • Environmental specialists, planners, and coordinators
  • Environmental engineers
  • Environmental project & program managers
  • Anyone responsible for environmental activities in your organization

Workshop Facilitator

Thomas Vinson, Zero Waste Network

Thomas Vinson has worked for over two decades in the environmental field where he has become known for finding the connection between good business practices, and environmental quality management.

Thomas works closely with a national network of pollution prevention and lean specialists and the EPA to find ways that businesses can save money by reducing waste. Over the past two years, he has worked on projects that have helped companies identify ways to save over 1.5 million dollars, while reducing nearly 7 million tons of waste, three million gallons of water use, and over a million kWh of electricity use.

P2 Resources You Can Use

Friday, September 25th, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015In the not-to-distant past, it was difficult to locate pollution prevention and sustainability information. Those days are gone. Now, we go to Google and we’re inundated. In this post, I’ll point you toward some resources that you may have forgotten about when you’re trying to locate information to solve a problem. Whether you’re an organization that wants to start a sustainability program or a seasoned pollution prevention technical assistance provider, there’s something on this list that will help you do your job better.

Topic Hubs and LibGuides

Topic hubs and LibGuides are similar. Both are curated collections of resources on specific topics that also include explanatory information. The only difference is the delivery platform. GLRPPR converted its Topic Hubs to LibGuides several years ago. Guides of particular interest to the P2 community include:

The Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide will be particularly useful to those new to the P2 field. It includes links to essential resources and training that will help get you up to speed quickly.

GLRPPR Sector Resources

GLRPPR’s sector resources are curated collections of documents organized by sector or topic. Each resource includes a link and a brief description. Sector resources includes links to fact sheets, manuals, videos, journal articles, case studies, and software tools. Browse by sector/topic or search by keyword using Google site search.

GLRPPR Webinar Archive

GLRPPR hosts two to three webinars per year. Recordings of these webinars are archived on our web site. The recording of our most recent webinar is embedded below.

GLRPPR Help Desk

If you have a sustainability question or problem you’re trying to solve, the GLRPPR Help Desk is the place to visit. You get one free hour of literature/web searching and will receive a response within a week. Note that we won’t often give absolute answers. Instead, we’ll give you references and let your draw your own conclusions based on the available information. We also won’t answer homework questions.

E-Mail Discussion Lists and GLRPPR E-mail Newsletter

E-mail discussion lists are a great way to tap the hive mind of your pollution prevention colleagues. GLRPPR members are automatically subscribed to the Roundtable regional e-mail discussion list. P2Tech is an international discussion list for pollution prevention and sustainability professionals. To subscribe to either list, contact Laura Barnes.

GLRPPR’s e-mail newsletter keeps you up-to-date on sustainability news, resources, events, and funding opportunities. Subscribe here.

P2 Impact

P2 Impact is a collaboration between GreenBiz and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. Each month, P2 practitioners write about topics related to pollution prevention and sustainability. The goal of the column is to tell the P2 story to GreenBiz’s business audience. The archives of the column are available here. If you would like to write a column, contact Laura Barnes.

P2 InfoHouse

P2 InfoHouse, maintained by the Pollution Prevention Information Center (P2RIC), is a searchable online collection of more than 50,000 pollution prevention (P2) related publications, fact sheets, case studies and technical reports. It includes a vast number of legacy pollution prevention documents that were originally released in hard copy. The collection is searchable by keyword.

Zero Waste Network Success Story Database

The Zero Waste Network’s Success Story Database contains case studies that are examples of how real facilities saved money, reduced waste, and/or lowered their regulatory burden through innovative P2 practices. The studies are often written in a companies own words, with minimal editing.

 

 

P2 Intern Programs Help Businesses Reduce Waste and Save Money

Thursday, September 24th, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015Although many businesses and organizations want to become more sustainable, they often lack the time and the money to implement specific projects.  This is where P2/E2 intern programs can help. The programs place engineering students at companies and organizations to conduct focused research on specific pollution prevention and energy efficiency projects.

The programs are win-win for organizations and students. Interns have the opportunity to evaluate and potentially implement pollution prevention and energy efficiency solutions in a real-world setting, while companies realize significant savings by implementing the intern’s recommendations.

Within U.S. EPA Region 5, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program both have long-running, successful intern programs.

Illinois EPA

Each year, Illinois EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention recruits upper-level university students to work on both pollution prevention (P2) and energy efficiency (E2) projects during the summer.  The purpose of the program is to help facilities identify, research and pilot P2 technologies and practices. In the area of E2, companies can realize overhead cost savings due to increased energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The interns provide technical assistance at a relatively modest cost and bring a fresh perspective to the organization. In 2011 and 2012, the program helped facilities save over $1.9 million in reduced operating and disposal costs.

While students have been placed primarily at manufacturing facilities, they have also worked at small business development centers, trade associations, local government facilities, environmental groups and military installations. Each student selected for the program is required to attend an initial P2 training program in Springfield. The student spends the remainder of the 12-week summer session working as a temporary full-time employee at the sponsoring facility. Students typically have backgrounds in engineering or environmental management.

Each intern student selected for the program is required to attend a one-week training class, which covers topics like: net zero waste; energy efficiency (lighting, boilers, HVAC, motors/VFDs and air compressor systems); water conservation; process mapping; and renewable energy. Once on the job, the intern must adhere to a work schedule; follow company policies and regulations; work with management and staff; and prepare bi-weekly progress reports.

To participate in the program, host facilities must provide a well defined project(s), student supervision, work space, safety training, employee cooperation and workers’ compensation. Depending on program funding availability, the facility may also be responsible for paying a portion of or the entire student salary, which averages approximately $2,700 a month for a 12 week period (one week of training and 11 weeks in the field).

Illinois EPA recruits qualified students, trains interns on pollution prevention techniques, matches interns with host facilities, establishes contracts with interns, reviews progress reports, and provides technical support.

Project technical summaries for completed internships are available at http://www.epa.illinois.gov/topics/pollution-prevention/p2-internship/projects/index.

For more information on the IEPA Intern Program, contact Richard Reese.

MnTAP

Each summer, MnTAP recruits and hires junior and senior college students who have strong technical backgrounds and leadership abilities to work on waste and energy reduction projects at companies in Minnesota. Typically, six projects are funded each year in locations around the state. Each year’s projects are different; they address different challenges within a number of different industries. Therefore, project specifics vary year-to-year.

Students who participate in the program are expected to:

  • Attend a full-day orientation and training on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.
  • Determine how waste is currently produced and energy is used in company processes. Gather data from reviewing reports and running tests.
  • Identify what other companies are doing in regards to the project. Contact vendors about best available technologies. Research and evaluate options for reducing waste and/or energy use.
  • Work with the company’s management and employees to determine feasibility of different waste and/or energy reduction options. Develop a cost comparison between the use of existing procedures and new ones.
  • Write a final report and present project results.

Interns work on site at the company facilities under the supervision of the company and MnTAP staff. Positions are full-time for three months, starting at the conclusion of spring semester or quarter. Interns are paid $13.00 per hour during the 500 hours of summer employment. They are also  awarded a $1,000 stipend at the completion of their project. The stipend is contingent upon the completion of project deliverables such as a final report, presentations, and other duties as requested by MnTAP and the company. Cumulatively, pay equals approximately $15.00 per hour when averaged over the three months of the project.

To qualify for the intern program, companies must be located in Minnesota; interested in reducing industrial waste; willing to make operational or procedural improvements to accomplish a waste reduction or energy efficiency goal; and be able to develop a project idea that applies to other Minnesota businesses. Companies are asked to provide an on-site supervisor as an in-kind contribution and contribute 10% of the total project cost ($3,000) to help support the intern program. These funds are used to offset project costs such as student compensation.

Project technical summaries for completed internships are available at http://www.mntap.umn.edu/intern/pastproj.htm.

For more information on the MnTAP intern program, contact Linda Maleitzke.

Related Resources

Project spotlight: MPCA’s BPA/BPS in Thermal Receipt Paper project

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015This project encourages 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 project specifically targeted the hospitality sector, paper recyclers, and other interested partners. The goals of the project were to:

  1. test samples of papers from business partners and estimate how much BPA is contained in the thermal papers used by participating partners
  2. provide information to assist MPCA in setting guidance on best end-of-life management for thermal receipt paper
  3. assist partners in switching to paperless point-of sale systems, or as a second-choice option, implement other exposure-reduction strategies
  4. share the case studies of partner businesses and promote use of paperless systems to other Minnesota businesses

Bisphenol-A is commonly used in a variety of applications including in hard polycarbonate plastic resins, in epoxy resins for adhesives, sealants, and food can linings, and in flame retardants. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is also on the Minnesota Department of Health’s list of Priority Chemicals.  BPA is a reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic. It has been found in a majority of American adults and children and in Minnesota’s groundwater and lakes and streams.

The most common substitute for BPA in thermal papers ─ bisphenol S, or BPS ─ has shown the same sort of endocrine disrupting behavior in studies as BPA. No alternative thermal paper developer is known to be safer.  An increasing number of retailers are offering receipts digitally via email or text, instead of on paper.

mpca-center-colorNineteen voluntary partners worked with Stratford Companies, MPCA’s contractor,  to test their thermal receipt papers for BPA and BPS content and implement changes to their point-of-sale systems and operating procedures to reduce the amount of thermal paper they use and the amount of BPA or BPS to which their employees are exposed. The hospitality sector includes restaurants and coffee shops, event centers, parks, resorts, hotels, etc.

The MPCA offered Minnesota hospitality businesses the opportunity to apply for grants under the “Hospitality Business Transition to Paperless Receipt Grant Project”. The grants were used to reimburse up to $1,000 of costs for digital receipt subscription services to eligible applicants.

The project produced several case studies, mainly from smaller businesses. Some of the consumer best practices from these case studies include:

  • Choose paperless receipts, if possible.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching receipts, especially before preparing or eating food.
  • Don’t give kids receipts to hold or play with.
  • Store receipts separately in your purse or wallet.

For more information on the BPA/BPS in Thermal Receipt Paper project, contact Madalyn Cioci.

Project Resources

Other Related Resources