EPA Honors Winners of the 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

July 13th, 2015 by

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.

“From academia to business, we congratulate those who bring innovative solutions that will help solve some of the most critical environmental problems,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “These innovations reduce the use of energy, hazardous chemicals and water, while cutting manufacturing costs and sparking investments. In some cases they turn pollution into useful products. Ultimately, these manufacturing processes and products are safer for people’s health and the environment. We will continue to work with the 2015 winners as their technologies are adopted in the marketplace.”

The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The winners and their innovative technologies are:

Algenol in Fort Myers, Florida, is being recognized for developing a blue-green algae to produce ethanol and other fuels. The algae uses CO2 from air or industrial emitters with sunlight and saltwater to create fuel while dramatically reducing the carbon footprint, costs and water usage, with no reliance on food crops as feedstocks. This is a win-win for the company, the public, and the environment. It has the potential to revolutionize this industry and reduce the carbon footprint of fuel production.

Hybrid Coating Technologies/Nanotech Industries of Daly City, California, is being recognized for developing a safer, plant-based polyurethane for use on floors, furniture and in foam insulation. The technology eliminates the use of isocyanates, which contribute to workplace asthma. This is already in production, is reducing VOC’s and costs, and is safer for people and the environment.

LanzaTech in Skokie, Illinois, is being recognized for the development of a process that uses waste gas to produce fuels and chemicals, reducing companies’ carbon footprint. LanzaTech has partnered with Global Fortune 500 Companies and others to use this technology, including facilities that can each produce 100,000 gallons per year of ethanol, and a number of chemical ingredients for the manufacture of plastics. This technology is already a proven winner and has enormous potential for American industry.

SOLTEX (Synthetic Oils and Lubricants of Texas) in Houston, Texas, is being recognized for developing a new chemical reaction process that eliminates the use of water and reduces hazardous chemicals in the production of additives for lubricants and gasoline. If widely used, this technology has the potential to eliminate millions of gallons of wastewater per year and reduce the use of a hazardous chemical by 50 percent.

Renmatix in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is being recognized for developing a process using supercritical water to more cost effectively break down plant material into sugars used as building blocks for renewable chemicals and fuels. This innovative low-cost process could result in a sizeable increase in the production of plant-based chemicals and fuels, and reduce the dependence on petroleum fuels.

Professor Eugene Chen of Colorado State University is being recognized for developing a process that uses plant-based materials in the production of renewable chemicals and liquid fuels. This new technology is waste-free and metal-free. It offers significant potential for the production of renewable chemicals, fuels, and bioplastics that can be used in a wide range of safer industrial and consumer products.

During the 20 years of the program, EPA has received more than 1500 nominations and presented awards to 104 technologies. Winning technologies are responsible for annually reducing the use or generation of more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent releases to air.

An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2015 submissions from among scores of nominated technologies and made recommendations to EPA for the 2015 winners. The 2015 awards event will be held in conjunction with the 2015 Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference.

For more information on this year’s winners and those from the last two decades, visit http://www2.epa.gov/green-chemistry.

Job announcement: Director of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute

July 9th, 2015 by

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is now accepting applications for the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute Director.

To view the full position announcement or to apply, visit http://careers.rit.edu/staff, click Search Openings, and enter 1850BR in the keyword field.

Salary range: $ 86,200 – $138,000

The Director leads and directs the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I), a statewide technology development, transfer, and assistance center whose mission is to make New York state more environmentally sustainable for businesses, workers, and the public through more efficient use of raw materials, energy and water, and reductions in toxic chemical use, emissions to the environment and waste generation.  NYSP2I is an integrated program of several major elements: direct technical assistance to industry and organizations; research, development, and diffusion; outreach; professional training; a community grants program; and academic educational program development. NYSP2I is led by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and is a partnership between RIT, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University at Buffalo and the ten NYS Regional Technology Development Centers (RTDCs). The primary source of funding for NYSP2I is provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through a dedicated line item. The Director will manage a team of professionals at the NYSP2I at RIT

This role will contribute to NYSP2I’s success by delivering quality work in the following service areas:

  • Engage New York State industry and organizations for the purpose of providing direct assistance in the areas of toxics use reduction, process improvement, and resource conservation;
  • Research, develop and transfer pollution prevention (P2) technologies to NY companies;
  • Assist NYS companies with introducing green technologies to the market;
  • Help companies achieve sustainable supply chain goals;
  • Develop P2 assessment tools and deliver P2 training to businesses, technical assistance providers, and community organizations;
  • Provide research and technical support to the RTDCs;
  • Develop and implement P2 priority setting and performance tracking programs to maximize program effectiveness; and
  • Provide grants to community projects that help to achieve pollution prevention.

Required Minimum Qualifications

Demonstrated knowledge of engineering, science, green chemistry, environmental science or sustainability, in addition to project and business management principles, methods and techniques. Master’s degree in a technical field of study required (i.e. engineering, chemistry, environmental studies, sustainability, or related fields). PhD strongly preferred.


  • A minimum of ten years related work experience is required.
  • Must have a minimum of five years of experience in a technical P2, green chemistry, environmental science or sustainability position, in addition to experience in a leadership role with supervisory responsibility.
  • Must have experience in the following areas: project/program management, technical assistance and training, P2 technologies/approaches, manufacturing and/or P2 assessments.
  • Experience in environmental regulatory compliance and management systems will also be considered.
  • Experience with proposal development and securing grant funding.
  • Experience working with state and/or federal funding and contracting processes preferred.

Essential Skills and Abilities

  • Highly motivated and self-directed
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge and ability to work with a variety of persons and organizations having diverse issues, concerns, and agendas
  • Knowledge and ability to coordinate meetings, deliver presentations and collaborate with stakeholders
  • Knowledge and ability to lead; think creatively; proactively adapt to changing environment; act decisively, and inspire and empower others.
  • Demonstrated in-depth knowledge and expertise in pollution prevention and sustainable consumption and production
  • Project organization and management skills.
  • Effective verbal communication and public speaking skills

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

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

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

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.

University of Washington offers online certificate in green chemistry & chemical stewardship

June 3rd, 2015 by

Attend an informational webinar on June 22 from 7:30-9:00 pm CDT.
More information

During this 9 month online certificate program, you will learn the fundamental principles of green chemistry and evaluate frameworks for incorporating chemical toxicity and human health considerations into product design, material selections, and supply chain decision-making.

Explore the principles of green chemistry, an innovative approach for designing safer and more sustainable commercial products and industrial processes. Businesses are facing increasing market and regulatory pressures to use less toxic chemicals in their manufacturing processes and products, and there is a need to develop new solutions and more sustainable substitutes. Learn how to incorporate the principles of green chemistry into product design, material selections, and supply chain decision-making. Examine the connection between chemical toxicity and human health, and assess how these factors influence material and product decision making. Develop a new framework for reducing chemical risks and unintended adverse consequences. Incorporate best practices into your business
model that leads to a safer and sustainable approach for the design, use and
selection of chemicals.

Federal Green Challenge Winners Announced

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

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.

Report Demonstrates Over $5.4 Billion in Economic Benefits from Pollution Prevention

April 22nd, 2015 by

P2ResultsforCongress_April 2015The Clear Choice for Environmental Sustainability: Pollution Prevention Results from 2010 to 2012 presents available information on the achievements of state and local P2 programs for the calendar years 2010 to 2012. The Report was produced by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) based upon the results shared by 90 pollution prevention (P2) programs in the United States.

The Report shows that P2 projects yielded about $5.4 billion in economic benefits during the three year period. During this three-year period, waste was reduced by 8.9 billion pounds, which is the amount of waste produced by 5.5 million people annually. 8.8 billion gallons of water and 1.4 billion kWh of electricity were also conserved.  This study affirms that pollution prevention results in conservation of valuable resources and significant waste reductions.

Other achievements between 2010 and 2012 include 1.7 billion pounds of greenhouse gases (GHG) no longer being released into the earth’s atmosphere. There were also 30,000 attendees at P2-themed training events, more than 10,000 site visits conducted, and more than 240 environmental management systems development.

The Report is a product of the P2 Results Task Force, whose membership includes representatives from State P2 programs, EPA Headquarters and Regions, Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange Centers (P2Rx), as well as NPPR. The Task Force has developed a National Pollution Prevention Results Data System, (the System). The System aggregates data that is collected, managed, and synthesized by state and local P2 programs, non-profits, companies, and other organizations. It is a collaborative and ambitious effort to grow and maintain a national database of P2 results, with reduction efforts including behavior changes by industry; reductions in waste, energy consumption, and water usage; and economic gains achieved through these activities. P2 results data collection, reporting and analysis help P2 programs to ensure that they understand their impacts and can chart an effective course for the future.

Proven Results from Pollution Prevention

General Motors’ Toledo transmission manufacturing facility has committed to making pollution prevention and recycling a facility-wide priority. The plant’s effective energy conservation program was implemented as part of its “drive to zero” program. The program was recognized by the U.S. EPA for lowering greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent and subsequently avoiding nearly 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. GM Toledo hosts the largest rooftop solar array in the state of Ohio and uses landfill gas, which combined provide 19% of the facility’s energy use from renewable energy sources.  GM Toledo is also a landfill free facility, sending no waste from daily operations to landfill – all waste is reused, recycled or converted to energy. “Our reductions in carbon emissions from improved energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives at the Toledo facility are made possible through the ongoing collaborative work with local utilities, state and local environmental service organizations and other private businesses,” said Laura Bartling, GM’s Midwest environmental group manager. “They’ve demonstrated what can be achieved through a holistic and community-engaging approach at reducing our environmental footprint.”

Jeffrey Burke, Executive Director for NPPR said, “We have been measuring environmental outcomes since 1990 when the Pollution Prevention Act was signed by Congress.  The collective reduction of pollutants reduced into the air, water and land in the last 25 years is just astounding.  We believe that focusing on preventing pollution at its source rather than clean-up was the right choice from the start.”

To view the Report, go to http://www.p2.org/news/ .


The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the largest membership organization in the United States devoted solely to pollution prevention (P2). The mission of the Roundtable is to provide a national forum for promoting the development, implementation, and evaluation of efforts to avoid, eliminate, or reduce pollution at the source.

P2Rx is a national partnership of regional pollution prevention information centers funded in part through grants from EPA.  They build networks, deliver P2 information, and measure P2 program results.  The strength of the network lies in the expertise and diversity among the regional centers and the variety of audiences served including government and state environmental agencies, technical assistance providers, businesses, educators, nonprofit organizations, and the general public.  For more information, visit: www.p2rx.org.

EPA announces the 2015 Energy Star Partners of the Year award winners

April 14th, 2015 by

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy announced the winners of Energy Star’s Partner of the Year award, honoring 128 organizations for their dedication to conserving energy and helping millions of families and businesses help protect the environment.

79 winners were awarded the Sustained Excellence award for continuing their superior energy conservation efforts as leaders in the Energy Star program.

49  winners were awarded the Partner of the Year award for the first time for effectively managing their energy consumption by incorporating Energy Star products and practices in their operations.

The awards were given for multiple different categories, including home performance with Energy Star, climate communications, and excellence. In addition to the 128 award winners, 9 home builders received special recognition for their long-standing efforts in constructing Energy Star certified homes in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Energy Star Certified Homes Program.

To see the full list of winners, visit the 2015 Energy Star Award Winners webpage.