P2 for Hospital Sterilizers, Area Source Categories, & Biotech Labs

The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC) has developed three new Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) Topic Hubs: P2 for Hospital Sterilizers, P2 for Area Source Categories, and Biotechnology Labs. The Hospital Sterilizer Topic Hub provides information for health care facilities and pollution prevention professionals on the sterilizer ethylene oxide (EtO) and how to reduce its use while providing necessary sterilization capabilities at a health care facility. The P2 for Area Source Categories Topic Hub provides information and tools to facilitate assistance to sources that are themselves small emitters of toxic air pollutants, but collectively comprise 1/4 to 1/3 of all toxic air emissions. The Biotechnology Labs Topic Hub provides information for biotech research labs, manufacturers, and P2 professionals on how to reduce toxic material use, wastes and energy and water use in biotech labs.

For more information on the P2Rx Topic Hubs, and to see a complete list of available Topic Hubs, see the GLRPPR web site.

Green Cleaning Schools Act Introduced to IL Legislature

The Healthy Schools Campaign has introduced House Bill 895 (Green Cleaning Schools Act) to the Illinois legislature. This bill would require the creation and regular ammendment of guidelines and specifications for environmentally friendly cleaning and maintenance products for school facilities, and would also require the establishment of green cleaning policies at both public and private schools in Illinois following implementation of the guidelines. See the Healthy Schools Campaign Blog entry related to this action, and continue to monitor their blog for updates.

P2 for the Snowbound

It’s been an interesting week here in central Illinois. A full-fledged blizzard (how often to you see a “Blizzard Warning” in the corner of your TV screen?) dumped mounds of snow on the Champaign-Urbana area, resulting in a rare closing of the entire University of Illinois campus (for two straight days). Now, as those of us at WMRC headquarters dig ourselves out, it’s worth considering how our efforts to keep our streets and windshields clean affect the environment.

As snow melts, road salts runoff from streets, parking lots and other paved surfaces into storm sewers and eventually into waterways, where they may pose a risk to the aquatic environment. Road salts can also negatively impact vegetation and wildlife while still on the land, and can contribute to corrosion of automobiles and infrastructure. Check out Environment Canada’s web page on road salts, their environmental impacts, and what the Canadian government is doing to reduce environmental risks associated with road salts. This page includes case studies related to the management of road salt usage. For more information on road salt use north of the border, see RiverSides “Low-Salt Diet” page, which includes their publication, A Low-Salt Diet for Ontario’s Roads and Rivers. This document provides an overview of environmental and economic impacts of road salt use and discusses best management practices and alternative products.

The U.S. EPA Natural Emergencies–Snow and Ice page provides information on environmental concerns associated with snow and ice management for residences, highways and airports. Included are links to information on road salt application and storage, as well as application practices and research related to deicing chemicals. The Environmental Literacy Council provides a nice overview on the environmental impacts of deicing, considering road salt, alternatives to road salt (e.g. sand, calcium magnesium acetate, etc.) and liquid deicers. A list of recommended resources is provided for further information.

If you’re aware of other resources related to the environmental impacts of snow and ice management, or of information on environmentally friendly road salt alternatives/deicing products, email the information to Joy Scrogum for potential inclusion in the GLRPPR Sector Resources.

Red Roses, Green Hearts

Valentine’s Day is only a week away. Taking time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you is a fine idea, but doing so with waste reduction and pollution prevention in mind can make your heart and your environmental impact light. Here are some resources to help ensure your love is like a green, green rose.

Flowers are a traditional token of affection, but have you considered the impact of pesticides used to grow them, or the impact of transporting certain varieties over long distances? Organic Bouquet is a popular provider of organically grown flowers, including roses. They have several assortments available for Valentine’s Day, as well as organic and fair trade chocolates, and charitable bouquets (the proceeds from which benefit various non-profit organizations dedicated to social justice, environmental protection, wildlife conservation, and animal rights). To reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to obtain your bouquet, check your area for locally grown organic flowers at the Local Harvest web site. They also have a special section on their site devoted to Valentine’s Day gifts. The Green Guide offers a few articles related to Valentine’s bouquets, including The Good Valentine by Aysha Hussain and Rose, Art Thou Sick? by P.W. McRandle. Check out the VeriFlora certification program that addresses the socially, environmentally, and agriculturally responsible aspects of flower and ornamental growing operations.

Information on organic and fair trade options for flowers, chocolate, wine and coffee is provided by the Green Guide in Chocolate SSC: Better Blooms, Bon-Bons, Fine Wines and Java. For information on lead levels in chocolate, see Lighter Hearts by P.W. McRandle on The Green Guide site. Consumer Reports Greener Choices web site provides product overviews on chocolate and roses.

Co-op America has an online Valentine’s Day Green Gift Guide featuring special offers from businesses listed in the National Green Pages. Global Exchange Fair Trade Store has a Valentine’s Day section on its web site featuring a variety of items, including a Fair Trade Valentine’s Day Action Kit. One of the criteria for fair trade certification is the use of sustainable production methods. The Organic Consumers Association has an online Valentine’s Buying Guide, which includes information on flowers, chocolate, wine, cards and gifts. The Great Green Goods blog features a Valentine’s Day category with loads of information on environmentally friendly gift options.

If you’re considering giving your special someone a bottle of cologne or perfume, check out the Environmental Working Group‘s Skin Deep database, which provides safety ratings and comparisons of various personal care products.

If you want to take your sweetheart out to dinner, the Green Restaurant Association can help you find a certified green restaurant. Alas, not all of the states in our region have listings.

Although it was compiled for the winter holidays, GLRPPR’s P2 for the Holidays compendium includes links to information on simplifying holiday celebrations that are applicable to Valentine’s Day and other holidays as well. Consider forgoing the commercialism this year–remember that the best (and greenest) gift you can give your special someone is your heart.

All of the links provided above are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as endorsements by GLRPPR or WMRC.