Pollution Prevention Program

Businesses Gain by Preventing Pollution

by Mindy Lemoine

Starting down the path of an environmental management system p21can lead a business to unexpected outcomes, like an abandoned quarry being turned into a 15-million-gallon rain barrel, sixth-graders being trained to sample aquatic macroinvertebrates, and implementation of a Leak Squad at a brewery.

What does EPA have to do with these voluntary actions?  The link is EPA’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Program, which provides grants to support P2 programs in states.

Some P2 programs send experts out to businesses to identify opportunities to reduce pollution at the source.  Others, like the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Excellence Program, identify businesses that are environmental leaders, provide training, and publicize their innovations and accomplishments.

Businesses voluntarily decide to apply to Virginia’s Environmental Excellence Program.  Each applicant commits to develop and implement an effective environmental management system (EMS).  The EMS can track environmental measures, including water use and water discharges.

Businesses also commit to the evolution of their EMS.  They usually start at the Environmental Enterprise level designed for businesses in the early stages of implementing an EMS and pollution prevention program.  Over time, many participants “level up” to the Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise level, with a fully implemented EMS, verified by an independent third party.

Businesses appreciate the regulatory fee discounts and recognition events that come with participation in the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program.  EPA is impressed with the pollution prevention results, such as reducing water usage by over 234 million gallons in 2015 from company baselines.

But could the best reward for employees of these companies be wading through a creek with a group of sixth-graders and pointing to the biggest rain-barrel in the world?

 

About the Author: Mindy Lemoine is the Pollution Prevention Program Coordinator in EPA Region 3. She previously worked with local governments on protecting Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River watersheds. She lives in the Tookany Creek watershed, and recently replaced her lawn with a suburban permaculture including sedges, pawpaws, and nut trees.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

What Do Pollution Prevention, Business Profitability And Green Jobs Have In Common?

By Tom Murray

The answer is a guy named Tim.

I’ve been in the pollution prevention game for quite awhile now and I and others in the field can regale you with P2 success stories well into the night. But every once in a while a story crosses my desk that just grabs me and this is one of them. A few years ago, the word sustainability crept into our lexicon and has set the world on fire. It is a cool word that many refer to as the triple bottom line; People, Planet, Profit and so forth. Well, like our brethren in other federal agencies and those with whom we partner in the manufacturing world, we have learned to speak P2 within this new concept of sustainability. We have also learned new and interesting ways to quantitatively measure our results especially as they relate to environmental improvement (Planet) and business profitability (Profit). But how do we measure the third element? – The people element? I think we do that through stories and that brings me back to Tim.

Under the Pollution Prevention Program, we issue grants through our regions to organizations which then use those dollars to put P2 activities in motion. Tim was a beneficiary of one of those grants through the 2011 Southwest Ohio Intern Program funded by our EPA Chicago office. To me, Tim’s story represents the People part of sustainability because he made the best of this opportunity. Tim, who is graduating from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in June, was assigned as an intern to a manufacturing facility in Southwest Ohio. This facility had recently undergone assessments which created for them many opportunities that when implemented would increase their profitability. Tim was asked by the facilities engineering manager at this company to help him implement these key P2 opportunities. In the short time that Tim was there, he helped save the company over $140,000.00 annually – that’s money saved every year, folks. And, his efforts helped set the stage for further improvements by this company as it waved Tim farewell and looked ahead for further environmental and business improvements on its personal sustainability journey.
But here’s what grabbed me. Tim’s efforts caught the attention of many in the engineering field including senior engineers and sustainability professionals at Honda.Motor Company. Tim announced recently that he has been hired by Honda R&D as a Transmission Design Engineer starting June 2012. Pollution Prevention, business profitability and a new job for a young person with green skills and a great attitude–that’s sustainability and that’s cool. Congratulations, Tim!

About the author: Tom Murray is a senior scientist with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and is currently chief of the Prevention Analysis Branch in the Agency’s Pollution Prevention Division.  Tom has 40 years in government service.  Tom and his staff are the architects of several environmental partnership programs including the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment program, the Green Suppliers Network and the new E3 (Economy, Energy and Environment) initiative, a cross-agency collaboration with industry focused on manufacturing growth, energy efficiency and environmental performance

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.