New data summary reports available: Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Fabricated Metals Industry

December 13th, 2017 by

In 2015, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) began a project to analyze data from U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)Greenhouse Gas Emissions database, and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database to determine the impact of manufacturing on the economy and environment of the six states in U.S. EPA Region 5. The following fact sheets are currently available:

The full report, The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data, is available in IDEALS, the University of Illinois’ institutional repository.

Rethinking the holidays

December 12th, 2017 by

This post originally appeared on Environmental News Bits.

It’s that time of year again. The days are at their shortest, the temperature has plummeted (at least here in Illinois), and the stores are hitting all of us with messages to buy, buy, buy.

Whether you’re tired of the commercialization of the season, want to lighten up your environmental footprint, or just don’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts, here are some alternatives to consider.

New Dream’s guide to simplifying the holidays is a good place to start.  The site includes SoKind, an alternative gift registry that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more. It also features a catalog of low-cost, non-material gift ideas and a printable coupon book, an easy-to-use template that you can print out, customize, and give to family and friends of all ages.

Looking to give the gift of experience instead of stuff? The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s list of 50 things you can give that are more about experience is a great place to start. Although some of the suggestions highlight Minnesota experiences, they can help spark ideas that are local to you (or your recipient).

Finally, you can give the gift of charity this holiday season. Make a gift contribution to an organization that does work that’s important to your friends and family.

For other tips on reducing holiday waste, see:

Presentations from the Toxic Use Reduction Institute’s Fall 2017 Continuing Education Meeting now available

December 5th, 2017 by

The Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Institute recently hosted an continuing education meeting. The presentations from that event are now available on their web site. They include:

Strategies for Life Cycle Thinking and Product Sustainability at GE Plenary Speaker: Bill Flanagan, Aspire Sustainability
Partners Update – November 16, 2017
Session A
Materials Accounting Refresher Jeff Bibeau, Tighe & Bond
Session B
Reducing Chemicals in Water Demineralization Systems Maura Hawkins, Berkshire Environmental Consultants
Session C
Business Value of LCA at GE Bill Flanagan, Aspire Sustainability
Leveraging LCA to Improve TUR Tom Gloria, Industrial Ecology Consultants
Product Sustainability: An Intro to Life Cycle Assessment & Circular Economy Sebastian Birke, ThinkStep
Marketing Sustainability via LCAs Raymond Lizotte, Schneider Electric
Session D
Improved Operations and Maintenance:
The Low Hanging Fruit
Heather Tenney, Toxics Use Reduction Institute
A Workers Perspective; Transitioning  to Safer Chemicals Steve Gauthier, Gauthier Safety Consulting
Session E
Resource Conservation Planning & Saving Energy with Metering Tools Rich Bizzozero, MA Office of Technical Assistance
Saving Energy With Meter Data Lauren Mattison, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Session F
Pollution Prevention Options Analysis System Jason Marshall, Toxics Use Reduction Institute
Using P2OASys Alicia McCarthy, Toxics Use Reduction Institute
Options Evaluation Tool Pam Eliason,  Toxics Use Reduction Institute
P2OASys Activity 1
P2OASys Activity 2

Regional U.S. EPA P2 grant project summaries now available on the GLRPPR web site

November 15th, 2017 by

Project summaries highlighting recent work by U.S. EPA Region 5 P2 grantees are now available on the GLRPPR web site. They include:

We’ll be updating the page as EPA releases new summaries.

 

Current issue of MnTAP Source now available

November 9th, 2017 by

The latest issue of MnTAP Source is now available. The current issue includes case studies in which MnTAP has partnered with Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to work with Minnesota municipal wastewater treatment facilities to identify significant energy efficiency (E2) projects.

The complete table of contents appears below:

  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Project: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Generation – pg 1
  • Opportunities: What’s New – pg 2
    • Tune Up Your Food Processing Act!
    • Cleaning the Air in North Minneapolis
    • MnTAP’s Website Got a Makeover!
  • Safer Products:  – pg 3
    • Cleaner Brake Cleaners in Duluth, MN
    • Foundry Sand Silica Alternatives
  • Wastewater Energy Efficiency – pg 4
    • Large Energy Savings Found in Saint Peter and New Prague WWTPs
  • Energy Efficiency Impacts the Bottom Line & Climate Health – pg 5
    • Staff Snapshot: A.J. Van den Berghe
    • Operating Sustainably at Pine River
  • Results – pg 6
    • Applying E3 to Fiber Reinforced Plastics
    • Good Advice from 2003 – Tight as a Drum
    • Minnesota Materials Exchange
  • Symposium – pg 7
    • 2017 Interns Identify Over $1,514,000 in Savings
  • How can we help you? – pg 8

You can read past issues of the newsletter here.

Green Events Guide

November 7th, 2017 by

The Green Events Guide is geared to support planning and action around seven focus areas common to public events:

  • Food and Food Service
  • Venue
  • Communications and Event Materials
  • Vendors
  • People
  • Transportation
  • Housing

It is intended to assist community-based, volunteer event planning leaders and teams, especially folks in rural areas. This FREE online resource was developed by the EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden, with support from the U.S. EPA. The completed guide includes a webinar recorded on 10/20/17.

Michigan Retired Engineer Assistance Program P2 site assessment training materials now available

October 27th, 2017 by

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) received a U.S. EPA State and Tribal Assistance Grant focused on Pollution Prevention (P2). Under this grant, RETAP developed training and guidance documents for a number of P2 tools, as well as templates for conducting on-site technical assistance and source reduction planning (SRP). The materials developed as a result of this grant are now available on the GLRPPR web site.

These materials are specifically designed to reduce toxic/hazardous material usage and disposal at small to mid-sized manufacturers. They include:

For further information on toxics use reduction and pollution prevention site assessments, check out these additional GLRPPR resources:

More tools for locating P2 information

September 22nd, 2017 by

In 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 is 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 and on our YouTube channel.

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 column is currently on hiatus, but the archives are available here.

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.

U.S. EPA Pollution Prevention Tools and Calculators

U.S. EPA has links to general P2 informationP2 tools for chemical processes and purchasing; and calculators to measure the environmental and economic outcomes of P2 activities.

Alternatives assessment tools and a technical assistance case study

September 21st, 2017 by

Chemical substitution is a key tool for pollution prevention. Below,  you’ll find links to some key resources to help you assess less toxic alternatives to industrial chemicals, as well as an example of how one technical assistance program used alternatives assessment to identify less toxic degreasers.

Tools

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.

Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide: Green Chemistry & Green Engineering

The Green Chemistry & Green Engineering page on the P2 101 LibGuide provides links to a wide variety of alternatives assessment and risk assessment tools.

Tools for TAPs LibGuide: Chemical/Materials Substitution Tools

The Chemical/Materials Substitution Tools section of the Tools for TAPs LibGuide provides links and step-by-step instructions for using several chemical/materials assessment tools.

Technical Assistance Case Study

Degreasing: Finding Safer Products That Work

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) received funding from U.S. EPA to help businesses reduce the use of degreasing solvents while maintaining effectiveness and without increasing costs. You can find information about the project on MnTAP’s website.  For a deeper dive into how they implemented the project, see their presentation from the Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

Using public data to identify pollution prevention opportunities

September 20th, 2017 by

Government agencies produce a tremendous number of publicly available data sets. In this P2 Week blog post, I’ll highlight some resources that will help you get started with a data driven approach to identifying P2 opportunities.

Tools for TAPs LibGuide: Data to Inform Technical Assistance

The Data section of the Tools for TAPs LibGuide provides links to data sources and instructions for searching them.

Webinar: Utilizing Public Data to Identify Technical Assistance Targets

The U.S. government has a wealth of data available about the environmental and economic impact of manufacturers. This webinar, hosted by ESRC,  demonstrates how to use the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, Greenhouse Gas, and Enforcement and Compliance Online (ECHO) databases and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database to identify industrial sectors and facilities that can benefit from pollution prevention technical assistance.

Information that can be easily obtained and utilized from these data sources is key for any technical assistance provider when developing a strategy to target technical assistance. Real-world examples located in regions 3 and 4 are provided.

Presentation slides, resources mentioned during the webinar, and a time-coded index for the video below are available on the ESRC web site.

Report: The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data

The manufacturing sector is an important economic engine within the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While complying with applicable laws and regulations, these facilities also have an environmental impact on the region. In this study, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) used publicly available environmental data to establish a regional baseline for industrial chemical use and emissions; pollution prevention (P2) techniques; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and economic impact data for selected industry sectors in U.S. EPA Region 5. The report includes analyses of data from U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions database on Envirofacts, and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database on American FactFinder. GLRPPR has several other papers that focus on specific states or industrial sectors in the region:

How a competitor’s data can help your company cut pollution

This P2 Impact column by U.S. EPA’s Kara Koehrn explains how manufacturers can reduce pollution by using public data, chiefly Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) pollution prevention data, to learn from others in their industry.

Report: Strategy for using the US EPA Toxics Release Inventory to Identify Opportunities for Diffusion of Innovative Methods for Hazardous Waste and Toxic Emission Reduction

This report shows how P2 technical assistance providers can use TRI P2 data to identify manufacturing facilities that have implemented toxics source reduction methods and facilitate the diffusion of those methods to other facilities that may be facing barriers that block adoption of P2 practices.

 

Module 4: Identify and Target Facilities to Perform Hazardous Substances P2 Assessments

In 2013, U.S. EPA Region 5 (in collaboration with EPA headquarters) developed a 4-part training module to assist technical assistance programs (TAPs) in finding hazardous material reduction opportunities. This module demonstrates how the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program used TRI data to target their P2 technical assistance efforts. It also provides an overview of what types of information are included in TRI emissions and P2 data.