[Post author: Wayne Duke]
Hoosier businesses have implemented environmental improvement projects and achieved monumental results as members of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM’s) Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP).
There are 46 ESP business members across the state, each committed to implementing or maintaining measurable environmental improvements, such as reducing water or energy use, decreasing solid or hazardous waste, or reducing air emissions. In an effort to recognize each company’s proven commitment to continual environmental improvement, ESP members recently met with IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly and five assistant commissioners.
Since the inception of ESP in 2006, members have implemented pollution prevention initiatives that resulted in the reduction of:
- Water use by 81,413,480 gallons, an amount comparable to 123 Olympic-sized swimming pools;
- Electricity use by 15,438,733 kilowatt hours, a number comparable to the amount of electricity needed to run 5,788 residential air conditioners for one year;
- Miles driven by 243,789 miles, a distance comparable to driving from Terre Haute to Richmond and back 877 times;
- Natural gas consumption by 8,999 therms, which is like eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from 1,875 propane cylinders used for home barbeques;
- Carbon dioxide emissions by 13,099,680 pounds, which is the amount of carbon sequestered annually by 1,350 acres of pine forests; and carbon dioxide equivalents by 5,954 tons, an amount equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 3,628 passenger vehicles;
- Solid waste sent to the landfill by 20,005,867 pounds, which is equivalent to the weight of about 66 Blue Whales;
- Volatile organic compound emissions by 837,100 pounds, an amount comparable to emissions from painting the interiors of 34,879 homes;
- Materials purchased by 122 pounds;
- Energy use by 48,979 million British Thermal Units, an amount comparable to the energy needed to operate 147 clothes washers for one year;
- Material use by 2,463,680 pounds, an amount comparable to the weight of 3,079 Monster truck tires; and,
- Hazardous waste by 185,981 pounds, an amount comparable to the weight of 18 Asian elephants.
- In addition, businesses have recycled 4,441,537.9 pounds of materials.
“ESP members go beyond environmental requirements that protect Hoosiers and our environment,” said IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly. “Indiana wins when companies use sound business practices to demonstrate their core value of environmental protection.”
To become an ESP member, businesses must maintain an exemplary compliance record, certify that they have adopted and implemented an approved environmental management system, and commit to specific measures for continued improvement in their environmental performance.
ESP members qualify for expedited permit review, flexibility in permitting, reduced reporting frequencies, and coordination of compliance inspections. To maintain ESP membership, companies must report on their environmental initiatives every year and reapply for ESP membership every three years.
Hoosier businesses can submit applications to IDEM for the Environmental Stewardship Program from September 1 through October 31 and April 1 through May 31. For more details, visit IDEM’s Web site at www.idem.IN.gov/prevention/esp or contact IDEM at (800) 988-7901.