Archive for the 'Water Issues' Category

December 2008 Site of the Month: Consumer Reports Greener Choices

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by

It’s holiday time again, which means you’re probably going to buy at least one gift for someone, as well as items for celebrations and holiday meals. You may wish to consult Consumer Reports Greener Choices web site, which provides information to help choose more environmentally friendly products. Articles and “green ratings” are available for the following product categories: Appliances, Cars, Electronics, Food & Beverages, and Home & Garden.  Within these sections, you’ll find links to articles, information on conservation of resources (such as energy, water, fuel, etc.), resources for shopping greener, and information on recycling and disposal. The “Hot Topics & Solutions” section of the site includes the Eco-labels Center (which helps you interpret what product labels really mean), the Electronics Recycling Center, the Global Warming Solutions Center, and sections on Energy, Water, and Waste.

The “Toolkit” section includes calculators to help save energy, water, and money, as well as a Toxics Search tool to find out whether there’s a potential for exposure while using a particular product, and how that can affect your health. The “Community” section of the site includes links to Consumers Union campaigns, forums and resources for further information, as well as blogs on cars, food safety, green homes, and safety.

September is Organic Harvest Month

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 by

According to the Organic Trade Association web site:
“In 1992, the Organic Trade Association implemented ‘Organic Harvest Month™,’ a widespread promotion of organic food and agriculture through regional and local events. The objective of Organic Harvest Month™ is to highlight organic agriculture and the growing organic products industry. September is also an ideal time for consumers and retailers to celebrate the bounty of the organic harvest.”

Organic agricultural methods are relevant to pollution prevention because they typically involve the use of fewer, non-toxic, more environmentally friendly pesticides, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), composting, the elimination of the use of antiobiotics and synthetic hormones, etc. To paraphrase the National Organic Standards Board definition of “organic” as presented on teh Organic Trade Association web site, “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony…Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water…The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”

The Organic Trade Association web site provides a quick overview of organic agriculture and production; an overview of organic standards (including U.S., Canadian and other international standards); a section on public policy; several online directories for the use of consumers, organic product manufacturers and the agricultural industry; various fact sheets and links; as well as a newsroom, calendar and bookstore (which includes training materials, market research, and industry guidelines).

Registration Open for Biofuels and Sustainability Conference

Friday, September 5th, 2008 by

Registration is now open for the Biofuels and Sustainability Conference to be held at the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, IL on October 21-22. This event will provide a forum for researchers, policy makers, students, activists and industry leaders to share and gain perspectives regarding the entire life-cycle of the biofuels industry–from feedstock development through fuel consumption. Diverse constituencies will be able to network and develop future directions and strategies regarding this important and complex topic and examine innovations that can improve the sustainability of the biofuels industry.

See the conference website for a detailed description of the event, a list of speakers, and registration information.

Remember that if you have events related to sustainability and pollution prevention that you would like to promote to the region, you can suggest them for the GLRPPR Calendar by sending them to Wayne Duke. Events posted to the GLRPPR Calendar also appear in relevant Sector Resources and are featured on the RSS feeds for those Sector Resources.

September 2008 Site of the Month: US Business Council for Sustainable Development

Monday, September 1st, 2008 by

The United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) is a non-profit association of businesses whose purpose is to deliver highly focused, collaborative projects that help its members and partners demonstrate leadership in the United States on sustainable development and realize business value. US BCSD leverages member participation and partner support to serve five platforms of activity — By-product Synergy, Ecosystem Services, Value and Supply Chain, Energy and Climate Change, and Water Resource Management. In addition to information on each of these activity areas, the US BCSD web site includes member/partner profiles, information on joining the council, and a list of upcoming events.

P2 Go Bragh: Kiss Me, I Recycle

Saturday, March 15th, 2008 by

Cheers to the folks at Green Guardian for using the upcoming holiday to promote container recycling. GreenGuardian.com is a web site created to promote environmentally responsible purchasing and disposal choices among the citizens of Minnesota’s Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The site is sponsored by the region’s Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and is organized into sections geared specifically toward residents, businesses and children.

I receive their electronic Green Tips newsletter, and was pleased to see them taking the opportunity to tie St. Patrick’s Day to raising environmental awareness. The lead story in the latest newsletter was entitled “Kiss Me, I Recycle” and is an obvious play on the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” slogan you’re likely to see emblazoned on t-shirts, buttons and hats starting this weekend. (Incidentally, the SWMCB web site provides a handy “Kiss Me, I Recycle” St. Patrick’s Day button template for anyone interested in wearing green and simultaneously promoting green activities.) As eluded to in my previous post, there are likely to be lots of bottles and cans associated with St. Patrick’s Day festivities, and the SWMCB and MPCA are trying to ensure that folks consider recycling and are aware of how to properly recycle as well as what can be recycled. The “Kiss Me, I Recycle” story links to a helpful can and bottle recycling guide on GreenGuardian.com. The guide not only tells you what and how to recycle (which is strictly speaking, not pollution prevention since it’s an “end of the pipe” sort of activity) but also highlights the energy savings associated with recycling, as well as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, and water consumption that result from recycling containers as opposed to throwing them in the trash–all of which are important environmental benefits that are certainly complimentary to P2 activities.

This sort of campaign got me thinking about opportunities for similar outreach activities on college campuses. For example, I’ve heard that Mather House at Harvard University has a “green happy hour” for St. Patrick’s Day that involves the promotion of recycling, sustainability and waste reduction. I’m curious to know if other campuses have been involved in similar activities, perhaps on a wider scale. If you know of a “Green St. Patrick’s Day” event or promotion at a college or university, or if your organization, like SWMCB and MPCA, is tying environmental awareness campaigns to St. Patrick’s Day, please take a minute to share what you’ve done in the “Comments” section for this post.

Kiss Me, I Recycle

New York: Pollution Prevention Institute RFP

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 by

New York State is seeking proposals to help establish a new pollution prevention institute that will promote innovative and cost effective methods for reducing or eliminating the use of toxic substances in manufacturing and other processes, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced recently. DEC is encouraging public or private universities, non-profit institutions, or a consortium of such organizations to submit proposals to develop and implement this pioneering project, first initiated by Governor Eliot Spitzer as part of his 2007-08 Executive Budget. When established, the institute will provide an unparalleled center for technology evaluation and development, as well as technology transfer, training, assistance and workforce development. The institute’s objective is to help make businesses more competitive by enabling them to be more efficient. The institute will foster partnerships among businesses, universities, state and local governments, health and environmental organizations to stimulate the research and development of cutting-edge environmental technologies that will focus on sustainability and toxic use reduction over the course of the product life cycle. Proposals are due by December 5, 2007.

For more information, see the RFP online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/37277.html. For more funding opportunities, be sure to check the GLRPPR Funding Opportunities page regularly.

New GLRPPR Sector Resource: Pharmaceutical & Personal Care Product (PPCP) Wastes & Impacts

Friday, September 7th, 2007 by

GLRPPR is pleased to announce the availability of a new compendium of resources on Pharmaceutical & Personal Care Product (PPCP) Wastes & Impacts. This compendium focuses on the environmental impacts of pharmaceutical and personal care product residues in the environment, as well as on how to properly dispose of such products to avoid environmental contamination. As with any Sector Resource, expert contact information and lists of relevant events and funding opportunities are provided, as well as relevant Help Desk questions and answers. An RSS feed is available. This sector resource includes a link to the recently released Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant guide Disposal of Unwanted Medicines: A Resource for Action in Your Community, which also happens to be the GLRPPR Site of the Month for September 2007.

This new Sector Resource is a work in progress, so subscribe to the RSS feed or check the web site frequently for updates. If you have suggestions for resources to include, please email them to Joy Scrogum.

Draft Great Lakes Mercury in Products Phase-Down Strategy Open for Public Comments

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007 by

The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration announces a sixty day public comment period for a Draft Great Lakes Mercury in Products Phase-Down Strategy. In fulfillment of a Collaboration Strategy recommendation, in April 2006, State, Tribal, and City staff commenced development of a basin-wide Strategy for the phase-down of mercury in products and waste.

A draft Strategy is now available for public comment at http://glrc.us/initiatives/toxics/drafthgphasedownstrategy.html, through October 27, 2007. We invite comments on the Strategy itself and on how best to move forward with implementation, as well as commitments from stakeholders to implement components of the Strategy.

A copy of the draft document was first distributed to government agency experts for technical review, then revised and distributed to a limited group of industry and environmental group stakeholders. A summary of comments that were received and incorporated can also be found at the above web link.

Please send comments electronically to Debra Jacobson at djacobso@wmrc.uiuc.edu. When sending comments by e-mail be sure to put the words “Great Lakes Mercury Strategy Comments” in the subject line.

If you have questions please contact Debra Jacobson at djacobso@wmrc.uiuc.edu or (630) 472 – 5019 (Phone).

Thanks to Deb Jacobson for submitting this information.

MnTap Source Newsletter 2007 Issue 1 Available

Friday, July 13th, 2007 by

The latest edition of the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) newsletter, Source is now available online. Included in this issue:

  • Rx for the Environment: Hospitals are reporting tenfold increases in costs for managing pharmaceutical waste. Prevention options are helping some facilities reduce drug waste and costs.MnTAP logo
  • Pharmaceutical Waste Workshops: MnTAP is sponsoring three pharmaceutical waste workshops to help hospital-based pharmacies keep in regulatory compliance.
  • Minnesota Health Care Facilities Win Honors: Three Minnesota health care facilities were recognized at the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment’s Environmental Excellence Summit.
  • Disposing of Drug Waste at Home: Tips on how to manage unwanted medications from your home.
  • Lou-Rich Cuts Water: This contract metal manufacturer reduced water used in cleaning and cooling operations by 8.9 million gallons per year, saving $42,100 annually—with assistance from a MnTAP intern.
  • Non-contact Cooling Water: Evaluate your facility’s use of non-contact cooling water to identify opportunities to reduce water use and cost.
  • Where’s Your Waste–MnTAP Interns: Nine MnTAP interns are reducing waste across the Minnesota. Join us on August 23 to hear about how their companies are working to reduce waste.
  • Vacuum Bagging and Infusion Demonstration: Carstens Industries will share its process for vacuum bagging and infusion in Melrose on September 12.
  • Lean and Green Seminar: Manufacturers Alliance is hosting the educational seminar “The New Scene is Lean & Green” on August 9. Three manufacturers will present their experiences.
  • Minnesota Materials Exchange: A materials exchange program lists one company’s unwanted material and makes it available for use by another company. The listings in Source are examples of available and wanted listings, and successful exchanges from the Minnesota Materials Exchange.
  • Calendar: MnTAP posts trainings and events related to manufacturing process improvement, waste management and environmental, health and safety.

Sign-up for a free subscription of the MnTAP newsletter. You can receive the newsletter via e-mail. Minnesota businesses and organizations can choose to receive a hardcopy in the mail, ideal for routing to colleagues.

Archived past issues of Source are available on the MnTAP web site.

Teleosis Institute Releases Drugs in Our Water Brochure

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by

Drugs in Our Water brochure The Teleosis Institute has a released a new brochure called Drugs in Our Water. The brochure provides a basic overview of the problem of pharmaceuticals and personal care product residues in waterways; some simple tips for consumers as well as pharmacists and health care providers; and a description of the Green Pharmacy Program.

Thanks to Evin Guy for notifying GLRPPR about this resource.