Rate Archived GLRPPR Help Desk Answers

Did you know you could rate the usefulness of the answers provided in the GLRPPR Help Desk Archive? Just click on the “View Answer” link for any question in the archive. Below the response displayed, there will be a prompt saying “Was this answer helpful to you?” and you may click “yes” or “no.” Note that if you would like to add to or comment upon the information provided in the archived answer, you can click the word “Comments” at the bottom of the response and fill out a simple online form to submit your comment. This is your opportunity to share information about a resource that you’re aware of, but which wasn’t included in the archived answer, to say how you used the information provided, or to simply thank our Help Desk Librarian for the great info.

Remember that submitting a pollution prevention related question to the Help Desk Librarian is easy–just fill out the online form and submit it. You’ll get an hour of free literature and Internet searching by a professional librarian and a response within a week that will provide a great start for exploring the topic you’ve inquired about. Archived Help Desk questions and answers are also integrated into relevant Sector Resources on the GLRPPR web site.

If you have questions or would like further information about the GLRPPR Help Desk, contact Laura Barnes.

Tending to the tank cars

[Post author: Scott Butner]

Railcars at sunset (clean), originally uploaded by Scott Butner.

Sorry I haven’t been able to post more Korea pictures yet — sort of waiting until we have an “OK” from our host to include more pictures of the industrial facilities we visited.

So instead, my weekly photo post is a reminder that access to hazardous materials needs to be controlled not just on-site, but in adjacent sidings and rail yards as well.

P2 Go Bragh: Emerald Isle

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For those of us of Irish descent (and those who pretend to be Irish, if just for today), I thought it would be appropriate to spend some time considering environmental initiatives in Ireland. Here are a few examples of green activities on the Emerald Isle:

  • Wind Power: According to Sustainable Energy Ireland, “wind energy provides electricity to the equivalent of 40 million European citizens, and wind farms in Ireland supply enough clean green power to support over 146,000 users.” Their web site provides an interactive map of existing wind farms in Ireland (as of April 2007). A recent post on the Green Tech Blog (“Ireland: Where Wind Power is King” by Michael Kanellos) discusses the great potential for further wind farm development on the island, both on and offshore.
  • Cultivate Living and Learning Centre: The Cultivate Centre in Dublin serves as a hub for environmental activities and ideas. Their web site provides a green map of Dublin; environmental workshop listing; a directory of schools, businesses and other organizations in Ireland that are teaching or training and have principles of sustainability rooted in their mission and strategies; information on energy issues and climate change; and a host of other resources. The themes addressed in their educational programs include green building, permaculture and organic gardening, renewable energy, energy conservation, and rethinking urban design and planning.
  • Cleaner Greener Production Programme (CGPP): This program of Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency encourages Irish business and industry to produce goods and services in more environmentally friendly ways. That agency defines “Cleaner Greener Production” as “the application of integrated preventive environmental strategies to processes, products and services to increase overall efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment, for example: (1) Production processes: conserving raw materials and energy, eliminating toxic raw materials and reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions and wastes (2) Products: reducing negative impacts along the life cycle of a product, from raw materials extraction to its ultimate disposal (3) Services: encouraging and supporting the development of higher environmental performance in the service sector, by incorporating environmental concerns into designing and delivering services.”

CGPP logo

P2 Go Bragh: Kiss Me, I Recycle

Cheers to the folks at Green Guardian for using the upcoming holiday to promote container recycling. GreenGuardian.com is a web site created to promote environmentally responsible purchasing and disposal choices among the citizens of Minnesota’s Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The site is sponsored by the region’s Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and is organized into sections geared specifically toward residents, businesses and children.

I receive their electronic Green Tips newsletter, and was pleased to see them taking the opportunity to tie St. Patrick’s Day to raising environmental awareness. The lead story in the latest newsletter was entitled “Kiss Me, I Recycle” and is an obvious play on the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” slogan you’re likely to see emblazoned on t-shirts, buttons and hats starting this weekend. (Incidentally, the SWMCB web site provides a handy “Kiss Me, I Recycle” St. Patrick’s Day button template for anyone interested in wearing green and simultaneously promoting green activities.) As eluded to in my previous post, there are likely to be lots of bottles and cans associated with St. Patrick’s Day festivities, and the SWMCB and MPCA are trying to ensure that folks consider recycling and are aware of how to properly recycle as well as what can be recycled. The “Kiss Me, I Recycle” story links to a helpful can and bottle recycling guide on GreenGuardian.com. The guide not only tells you what and how to recycle (which is strictly speaking, not pollution prevention since it’s an “end of the pipe” sort of activity) but also highlights the energy savings associated with recycling, as well as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, and water consumption that result from recycling containers as opposed to throwing them in the trash–all of which are important environmental benefits that are certainly complimentary to P2 activities.

This sort of campaign got me thinking about opportunities for similar outreach activities on college campuses. For example, I’ve heard that Mather House at Harvard University has a “green happy hour” for St. Patrick’s Day that involves the promotion of recycling, sustainability and waste reduction. I’m curious to know if other campuses have been involved in similar activities, perhaps on a wider scale. If you know of a “Green St. Patrick’s Day” event or promotion at a college or university, or if your organization, like SWMCB and MPCA, is tying environmental awareness campaigns to St. Patrick’s Day, please take a minute to share what you’ve done in the “Comments” section for this post.

Kiss Me, I Recycle

P2 Go Bragh: A Different Shade of Green Beer

The first installment in this series concerns something other than Irish heritage that, for better or worse, has become inextricably linked to the celebration of the holiday in the U.S.: beer. Although this alcoholic beverage is sometimes dyed green for the sake of St. Patrick’s Day parties, the following resources relate to beer and brewing practices that are green in the sense of their environmental impacts.

As is the trend with most organic foods and beverages, organic beer is becoming more and more widely available as even big box retailers climb aboard the “green products are good for public relations, profits and the environment” train. Co-op America offers an overview of organic beer and wine as well as the rationale for choosing locally produced beers whenever possible (to reduce negative effects of long distance shipping, among other reasons). You can also search their National Green Pages under “Wine/Beer” for examples of breweries that produce organic beer. There is also a North American Organic Brewers Festival, scheduled this year for June 27-29 in Portland, Oregon. The festival web site lists the participating breweries and the beers they’re presenting.

For those of you, like my husband, who enjoy brewing your own beer at home, you might find the Seven Bridges Cooperative an interesting resource. Based in California, Seven Bridges provides certified organic ingredients for home brewing, such as organically grown hops and grains.

Interestingly, organic beer became the topic of controversy last year, as the USDA added to the list of non-organic ingredients that may compose 5% of a product by weight and still allow that product to bear the label “organic.” Hops were on the list, and while critical to the production of beer, they do make up less than 5% of the finished product by weight. The Organic Consumers Association was outraged by what it termed the “Budweiser Exception” that could allow big brewing companies to mass produce “organic” beers without using organically grown hops; the controversy was covered by MSNBC. Anheuser-Busch has since switched to using 100% organic hops. See the USDA’s web site for more information on organic food standards and labels.

Turning to waste reduction and efficiency in the brewing process, regardless of the use of organic ingredients, the March/April 2007 edition of In Business magazine featured a profile of Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake, California, which recycles or reuses 98% of its residuals, with a goal toward generating zero waste. The April 2007 edition of eco-structure Magazine included a look at the sustainable practices of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. Among other things, the company purchases wind energy to power 100% of its brewery’s operations, the packaging hall was designed with energy efficiency in mind, and the brewhouse features a closed-loop heating system. For more information about New Belgium’s sustainability initiatives, see their web site.

For an example of sustainable initiatives at a brewery within the Great Lakes region, check out Michigan DEQ’s case study on the Leopold Bros. of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Goose Island Brewery in Chicago, Illinois is also a founding member of the Chicago Waste to Profit Network. An article from the October 2000 edition of Conscious Choice discusses several organic beers, including Goose Island’s organic beer production and partnering with Panorama Brewing Company to produce Wolaver’s Organic Ales regionally. Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the first brewery in that state and the first business in Milwaukee to receive the Travel Green Wisconsin certification from the state’s Department of Tourism. Check out the brewery’s web site detailing what they’ve done to reduce their environmental and social impact and earn this recognition.

For more resources related to P2 for breweries, check out the GLRPPR Food Processing Sector Resource. I’ll be adding a “Beverage Manufacturing” subcategory in the near future to make finding resources related to brewing and other beverage production within this Sector Resource easier.

P2 Go Bragh

ShamrockSt. Patrick’s Day is less than a week away, and as someone with Celtic roots who is also married to someone with Celtic roots, this is a big deal to me. Connecting with our Irish heritage is a major part of the celebration of this holiday in the U.S. It’s an even bigger deal for me because St. Patrick’s Day is also my mother’s birthday (and you guessed it—her name is Patricia).

Whenever a holiday approaches, I like to consider how pollution prevention applies. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and my sainted mother, I’ll be taking some time over the next few days to ponder a different shade of “green” than the one you’ll find on “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirts. Happy Birthday, Ma! [Note that my mother will likely never read this; she doesn’t own a computer and is as non-technical as a person can be. Try as I might, I can’t get her to understand what it is I do for a living. She knows it involves “environmental stuff” and computers, and that it is somehow tied to the University of Illinois. Still, she’s the greatest, and without her I could never have grown up into a person who cares about the environment and concepts such as pollution prevention (P2).]

If you’re interested in finding out more about St. Patrick’s Day in general, check out Wikipedia and the History Channel. Also, the name for this series of posts (“P2 Go Bragh”) comes from the incorrectly spelled, Anglicized phrase “Erin go Bragh,” which is intended to mean “Ireland forever” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Go_Bragh). Thus, this series of posts is in the spirit of “pollution prevention forever” and sustainability.

PU Mixing station

[Post author: Scott Butner]

PU Mixing station, originally uploaded by Scott Butner.

this is a mixing station at one of the factories we visited here in Busan — this is where polyurethane is mixed with solvent and dyes to the customer’s specifications, then mixed before being sent to the knife coater.

The factory recently installed fume hoods over each mixing station, to reduce vapor concentrations (the solvent mix is a blend of toluene, MEK and DMF — DMF is relatively non volatile (bp around 153 C) but the other two are of course fairly volatile.

Some of the material is sprayed onto the floor and fume hood walls, as it wicks up the impeller shaft and is then scattered about. This creates a clean-up problem as well as some loss of working material.

Perhaps a bigger concern is that the facility emits about 30 tons/mo of solvent vapors which is not recovered. The b.p. range and water miscibility of DMF make this a problematic recovery, but I’d be interested in hearing if anyone’s aware of case studies…..


Greetings from Busan

[Post author: Scott Butner]

Busan skyline, originally uploaded by Scott Butner.

Well, the NPPR team (Ken Grimm, Pollution Prevention Resource Center; Tony Cooper, WA Department of Ecology; Thomas Vinson, Southwest Zero Waste Network; and myself) spent a day acclimatizing to Busan, South Korea. We’ll be here all week conducting P2 assessments and training.

Busan is Korea’s 2nd largest city, and while it’s architecture is often uninspired, the setting of the city is beautiful — nestled amongst steep hills that surround a bustling harbor, it is somewhat reminiscent of San Francisco.

Evidence of growth is everywhere. As you can see.

Tomorrow, we’ll be starting our first assessments.

Leaving on a jet plane

[Post author: Scott Butner]

Waiting for a plane, originally uploaded by Scott Butner.

…I sorta know when I’ll be back again.

Later this week, I’ll be heading to Busan, South Korea with colleagues from the National P2 Roundtable, to conduct P2 assessments of Korean industries. I’ll be accompanied by Thomas Vinson of the Southwest Zero Waste Network, Ken Grimm of the Pollution Prevention Resource Center; and Tony Cooper of the WA Dept of Ecology.

Computing technology, work schedule, and jet lag permitting, I will be posting a daily photo blog of our adventures in Busan on this blog, starting Saturday, March 8.

Check back daily to see what we’re up to!