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.

New GLRPPR White Paper: Assessing the Information Needs of Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance Providers in the Great Lakes Region

April 9th, 2015 by

As part of its 2013-2014 Pollution Prevention Information Network (PPIN) grant, GLRPPR contracted with the University of Illinois’ Survey Research Laboratory (SRL) to conduct a regional information needs assessment. The assessment was designed to determine how pollution prevention (P2) technical assistance providers in the region currently locate and access information; how they stay up-to-date in the field; how they prefer to receive training; and what training and information gaps exist within these broad focus areas. This white paper summarizes the needs assessment results. The full needs assessment report is available at http://hdl.handle.net/2142/73269.

Simplifying Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

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

Green Chemistry Connection, An Online Community for Green Chemistry Practitioners, Launched Nationwide

February 25th, 2015 by

The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) announces the national launch of the “Green Chemistry Connection,” an online community of green chemistry practitioners and an information clearinghouse now available at www.GreenChemConnect.org.

NEWMOA created the Green Chemistry Connection in order to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and expertise on one easy-to-access and use web platform. NEWMOA conducted a “soft-launch” of the website in 2014 in the northeast with more than 115 members. With the re-launch of the website for a national audience, NEWMOA hopes to expand the conversation on green chemistry and further enhance the quantity and quality of information available on the Network.

“Perhaps there is nothing more important when attempting to change the status quo than effective communication. Green chemistry seeks to change the status quo to a more sustainable society and economy through innovation… [GreenChemConnect.org] will allow everyone interested in designing a thriving, prospering, sustainable world in discovering the power and potential of green chemistry to meet environment/health goals at the same time as meeting economic and job creation goals.” Paul Anastas, Yale University

GreenChemConnect.org brings together federal, state, and local programs, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and private companies that are working on green chemistry initiatives. The goal for the Green Chemistry Connection is to broaden the understanding and adoption of green chemistry practices and principles in business, education, government, health care, and society as a catalyst to growing a sustainable economy.

Through www.GreenChemConnect.org, members can network and share information. Some of its features include:

  • Discussion forums for sharing ideas or posting questions
  • Blogs for sharing views, expertise, and experience
  • News complied from multiple sources
  • Announcements about upcoming events and activities
  • Notices about jobs
  • Groups for connecting with members interested in a particular topic
  • Library of links to green chemistry websites, publications, videos, case studies, curriculum and training materials, promotional materials, and resource lists
  • A Member Directory of organizations, companies, and academic researchers Social media sharing through other social networking sites, such as LinkedIn

According to John Warner, President of the Warner Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry, “This portal has an excellent potential to bring green chemistry community together in an effective way. I look forward to watching this grow.”

NEWMOA developed this website using Word Press and administers and maintains the Network. It is funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx™). NEWMOA thanks the New England Green Chemistry Initiative (NEGCI) Steering Committee and Government Programs and Strategies Workgroup for their involvement and support with developing this Network.

New Web Resource for Safer Chemical Substitution & Alternatives Assessments

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

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

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

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

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 Calls for Nominations for 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

December 2nd, 2014 by

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its call for nominations for the 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a new process or product that helps protect public health and the environment.

“The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge is an opportunity for EPA to recognize green solutions and help solve critical environmental problems,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Green chemistry is about designing products and processes that reduce energy, chemicals and water waste while cutting manufacturing costs, and sparking investments. Ultimately, these chemicals and products are safer for people’s health and the environment. This year, EPA is excited to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the awards.”

Nominations for innovative technologies in six categories are due to the agency by December 31, 2014. The categories are: academic; small business; greener synthetic pathways; greener reaction conditions and designing greener chemicals; and a new category for climate change. The awardees will be honored at a ceremony in Washington D.C., in July 2015.

Since the inception of the awards 20 years ago, EPA has received more than 1500 nominations and presented awards to 98 technologies. It has resulted in the reduction of more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents, savings of 21 billion gallons of water, and elimination of 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases to air.

More information on past award winners and how to submit entries may be found at: http://www2.epa.gov/green-chemistry.