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.

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Happy National Entrepreneurship Day!

 

A 2009 P3 Team.

By Presidential Proclamation, today is National Entrepreneurship Day, and we want to give a quick shout out to all the innovative entrepreneurs creating sustainable solutions to environmental challenges.

These are people like our Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awardees and our People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) college students. EPA supports these entrepreneurs so they can use their scientific and engineering know how to create jobs while making our planet greener and our lives healthier.

Interested? Read more:

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive 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 specific content on 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.