WasteCap Wisconsin June 2007 Bulletin Available

Ok, so end-of-pipe recycling is not technically considered pollution prevention in the strictest sense of the term; it is often argued that only in-process recycling counts. But folks interested in P2 also tend to be interested in diverting waste from landfills, especially if that waste can be turned into an asset and put to further use, at the source or otherwise. Plus, many P2 professionals are becoming more and more interested in the concepts of product stewardship and extender producer responsibility, which include thinking about how to reuse and recycle materials once they’ve served their original purpose. Information on recycling and recycled-content products is also of interest in matters of environmentally preferable purchasing and green building. So, beneficial reuse is part of my personal sense of the intention of pollution prevention, and yes, I am going to talk about end-of-pipe recycling in this P2 blog. Gasp if you must, and direct all criticisms to me (Joy).

WasteCap Wisconsin LogoIf you’re interested in beneficial reuse in general, and specifically in construction and demolition debris recycling, electronics recycling, and organic material recycling (composting, food donation, scraps for animal feed, etc.), check out WasteCap Wisconsin’s web site. They offer case studies, publications, training opportunities, and other resources on these issues. They also produce a monthly e-mail bulletin chock full of case studies, resources, news, information on recycling technologies, legislation, events, and profiles of member organizations. The June 2007 issue is available online, and archived issues are available all the way back to 2005. Information on signing up for the bulletin is available on the WasteCap Wisconsin home page.

NWF Documents on EPP, Mercury Thermostat Recycling, & Mercury Switches in Vehicles

Thanks to Michael Murray, Ph.D., National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Staff Scientist for the Great Lakes Natural Resource Center, for providing three new NWF documents for access on the GLRPPR web site:

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing in the Great Lakes Region: A Survey of State, Municipal and Institutional Programs assesses EPP programs in the eight Great Lakes states, eight municipalities and three universities, with an emphasis on policies addressing PBT chemicals. Researched and written by Cameron S. Lory and Amy E. Scott-Runnels of INFORM, Inc., and Michael W. Murray, Ph.D. of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

Recycling Mercury Thermostats in Ohio outlines the problem of mercury in the environment, and provides information on mercury in thermostats and alternatives and recycling mercury containing thermostats in Ohio. It also includes a comparison of collection of mercury containing thermostats via the Thermostat Recycling Corporation voluntary program for both the U.S. as a whole and Ohio.

Putting the Brakes on Quicksilver: Removing Mercury From Vehicles in Ohio addresses the removal of mercury switches from automobiles in Ohio. This report was written by Michael W. Murray, Ph.D. with research assistance by Knoll Larkin and Liz Szaluta of the University of Michigan.

Grants Available for P2 Projects at Michigan Public Parks

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced the availability of applications for the 2007 Community Pollution Prevention (P2) Grants Program. The goal of this program is to institute P2 practices and waste reductions at public parks, and offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about P2 and environmentally sustainable practices while observing day-to-day operations at those parks. A total of $250,000 in grant funds are available and applications are due April 30, 2007. Examples of eligible activities include: development of a park-wide P2 program; recycling projects; implementation of education outreach programs to train park staff and visitors about P2; the disposal of solid and hazardous waste, pesticides, and fertilizers located on park property; replacement of hazardous cleaning products through the purchase of environmentally friendly products; the purchase and installation of water saving fixtures and landscaping; the purchase of energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling, and maintenance equipment; and green demolition and construction projects.

Be sure to check the GLRPPR Funding Opportunities page regularly for additional notices of grants available throughout the region. Relevant funding opportunities also appear in corresponding Sector/Subject Resources on 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.

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.

Making the Holiday Season Greener

December is almost here, which means that the winter holidays are once again upon us. In the spirit of the season, check out these resources to help make your holiday season a little greener.

P2 for the Holidays is an excellent compendium of resources that encourage celebrating the season while avoiding waste. NewDream.org’s Simplify the Holidays web site is also an excellent resource for making your holiday season greener and less hectic.

Brian Smith wrote “Recycling Christmas” for the Environmental News Service in December 2002. In it, he told the story of how his family decided to make the holidays simpler by giving “recycled” holiday gifts and avoiding the hectic shopping season.

About.com’s Family Crafts editor has compiled a nice list of instructions for making recycled ornaments out of everything from used lightbulbs to CDs. AllFreeCrafts.com provides instructions for making ornaments out of old holiday cards.

BellaOnline offers suggestions for making earth-friendly gift wrap.

If you know of other resources, login and leave them in the comments.

New Green Cleaning Guide for Schools Released

The Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) has released The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools. The Guide highlights five simple steps for establishing a green cleaning program in your school. It comes with an easy-to-use CD-Rom filled with practical advice, information, resources and tools. It also provides information about dozens of products consistent with HSC Green Clean recommendations. Visit the HSC web site to reserve a copy of the guide (up to 15 copies per order). Corporations and professional associations interested in partnership opportunities to promote green cleaning in schools should click here.