It’s that time of year again. The days are at their shortest, the temperature has plummeted (at least here in Illinois), and the stores are hitting all of us with messages to buy, buy, buy.
Whether you’re tired of the commercialization of the season, want to lighten up your environmental footprint, or just don’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts, here are some alternatives to consider.
Looking to give the gift of experience instead of stuff? The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s list of 50 things you can give that are more about experience is a great place to start. Although some of the suggestions highlight Minnesota experiences, they can help spark ideas that are local to you (or your recipient).
Finally, you can give the gift of charity this holiday season. Make a gift contribution to an organization that does work that’s important to your friends and family.
The latest issue of MnTAP Source is now available. The current issue includes case studies in which MnTAP has partnered with Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to work with Minnesota municipal wastewater treatment facilities to identify significant energy efficiency (E2) projects.
The complete table of contents appears below:
Wastewater Treatment Plant Project: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Generation – pg 1
Opportunities: What’s New – pg 2
Tune Up Your Food Processing Act!
Cleaning the Air in North Minneapolis
MnTAP’s Website Got a Makeover!
Safer Products: – pg 3
Cleaner Brake Cleaners in Duluth, MN
Foundry Sand Silica Alternatives
Wastewater Energy Efficiency – pg 4
Large Energy Savings Found in Saint Peter and New Prague WWTPs
Energy Efficiency Impacts the Bottom Line & Climate Health – pg 5
The Green Events Guide is geared to support planning and action around seven focus areas common to public events:
Food and Food Service
Communications and Event Materials
It is intended to assist community-based, volunteer event planning leaders and teams, especially folks in rural areas. This FREE online resource was developed by the EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden, with support from the U.S. EPA. The completed guide includes a webinar recorded on 10/20/17.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) received a U.S. EPA State and Tribal Assistance Grant focused on Pollution Prevention (P2). Under this grant, RETAP developed training and guidance documents for a number of P2 tools, as well as templates for conducting on-site technical assistance and source reduction planning (SRP). The materials developed as a result of this grant are now available on the GLRPPR web site.
These materials are specifically designed to reduce toxic/hazardous material usage and disposal at small to mid-sized manufacturers. They include:
In the not-to-distant past, it was difficult to locate pollution prevention and sustainability information. Those days are gone. Now, we go to Google and we’re inundated. In this post, I’ll point you toward some resources that you may have forgotten about when you’re trying to locate information to solve a problem. Whether you’re an organization that wants to start a sustainability program or a seasoned pollution prevention technical assistance provider, there’s something on this list that will help you do your job better.
Topic Hubs and LibGuides
Topic hubs and LibGuides are similar. Both are curated collections of resources on specific topics that also include explanatory information. The only difference is the delivery platform. GLRPPR converted its Topic Hubs to LibGuides several years ago. Guides of particular interest to the P2 community include:
The Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide is particularly useful to those new to the P2 field. It includes links to essential resources and training that will help get you up to speed quickly.
GLRPPR Sector Resources
GLRPPR’s sector resources are curated collections of documents organized by sector or topic. Each resource includes a link and a brief description. Sector resources includes links to fact sheets, manuals, videos, journal articles, case studies, and software tools. Browse by sector/topic or search by keyword using Google site search.
If you have a sustainability question or problem you’re trying to solve, the GLRPPR Help Desk is the place to visit. You get one free hour of literature/web searching and will receive a response within a week. Note that we won’t often give absolute answers. Instead, we’ll give you references and let your draw your own conclusions based on the available information. We also won’t answer homework questions.
E-Mail Discussion Lists and GLRPPR E-mail Newsletter
E-mail discussion lists are a great way to tap the hive mind of your pollution prevention colleagues. GLRPPR members are automatically subscribed to the Roundtable regional e-mail discussion list. P2Tech is an international discussion list for pollution prevention and sustainability professionals. To subscribe to either list, contact Laura Barnes.
GLRPPR’s e-mail newsletter keeps you up-to-date on sustainability news, resources, events, and funding opportunities. Subscribe here.
P2 Impact is a collaboration between GreenBiz and the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. Each month, P2 practitioners write about topics related to pollution prevention and sustainability. The goal of the column is to tell the P2 story to GreenBiz’s business audience. The column is currently on hiatus, but the archives are available here.
P2 InfoHouse, maintained by the Pollution Prevention Information Center (P2RIC), is a searchable online collection of more than 50,000 pollution prevention (P2) related publications, fact sheets, case studies and technical reports. It includes a vast number of legacy pollution prevention documents that were originally released in hard copy. The collection is searchable by keyword.
Zero Waste Network Success Story Database
The Zero Waste Network’s Success Story Database contains case studies that are examples of how real facilities saved money, reduced waste, and/or lowered their regulatory burden through innovative P2 practices. The studies are often written in a companies own words, with minimal editing.
U.S. EPA Pollution Prevention Tools and Calculators
Chemical substitution is a key tool for pollution prevention. Below, you’ll find links to some key resources to help you assess less toxic alternatives to industrial chemicals, as well as an example of how one technical assistance program used alternatives assessment to identify less toxic degreasers.
SUBSPORT: Substitution Support Portal
SUBSPORT is a free-of-charge, multilingual platform for information exchange on alternative substances and technologies, as well as tools and guidance for substance evaluation and substitution management. It includes:
a description of existing substitution tools to compare and assess alternative substances and technologies
a database comprising case stories from companies and literature with general information on alternatives to the use of hazardous substances and detailed alternative assessment reports for 10 substances or substance groups of high concern each including up to five essential applications (only partly translated to French, German and Spanish)
interactive elements for discussion, networking, and exchange of information and experience as well as for portal updates
Program for Assisting the Replacement of Industrial Solvents (PARIS III)
PARIS III, developed by U.S. EPA, is a desktop/laptop application that allows users to find mixtures of solvents with specific physical and chemical properties that also have relatively low environmental impacts. The software helps users find replacements for solvent mixtures that are currently being used in industrial processes but have dangerous environmental side effects. The software can also be used to find solvents with lower environmental impact when designing new industrial processes, as well as more benign solvents that can be added to harmful solvents favored by industry to help reduce the harmful environmental impact of their processes.
The CleanerSolutions Database, developed by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, helps users select an alternative cleaner that meets their needs. The information is based on lab testing done by TURI. Use the tool to find a cleaner for a particular contaminant; replace a solvent; identify products based on safety and environmental criteria; and search by vendor information.
P2OASys Tool to Compare Materials
Sometimes changing chemicals or processes can have unintended environmental and health impacts. TURI’s P2OASys is an Excel based tool that allows companies to assess the potential environmental, worker, and public health impacts of alternative technologies aimed at reducing toxics use. The goal is more comprehensive and systematic thinking about the potential hazards posed by current and alternative processes identified during the TUR planning process. The tool can help companies:
Systematically examine the potential environmental and worker impacts of options, examining the total impacts of process changes, rather than simply those of chemical changes
Compare options with current processes based on quantitative and qualitative factors.
Although chemical manufacturers provide material safety data sheets with their chemicals, sometimes this information isn’t enough. TURI’s librarian created this guide to assist in researching environmental, health and safety information for chemicals.
Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide: Green Chemistry & Green Engineering
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) received funding from U.S. EPA to help businesses reduce the use of degreasing solvents while maintaining effectiveness and without increasing costs. You can find information about the project on MnTAP’s website. For a deeper dive into how they implemented the project, see their presentation from the Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable.
Government agencies produce a tremendous number of publicly available data sets. In this P2 Week blog post, I’ll highlight some resources that will help you get started with a data driven approach to identifying P2 opportunities.
Tools for TAPs LibGuide: Data to Inform Technical Assistance
Webinar: Utilizing Public Data to Identify Technical Assistance Targets
The U.S. government has a wealth of data available about the environmental and economic impact of manufacturers. This webinar, hosted by ESRC, demonstrates how to use the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, Greenhouse Gas, and Enforcement and Compliance Online (ECHO) databases and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database to identify industrial sectors and facilities that can benefit from pollution prevention technical assistance.
Information that can be easily obtained and utilized from these data sources is key for any technical assistance provider when developing a strategy to target technical assistance. Real-world examples located in regions 3 and 4 are provided.
Presentation slides, resources mentioned during the webinar, and a time-coded index for the video below are available on the ESRC web site.
Report: The Economic and Environmental Impact of Great Lakes Manufacturing: Snapshot of Emissions, Pollution Prevention Practices, and Economic Impact Using Public Data
The manufacturing sector is an important economic engine within the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While complying with applicable laws and regulations, these facilities also have an environmental impact on the region. In this study, the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR) used publicly available environmental data to establish a regional baseline for industrial chemical use and emissions; pollution prevention (P2) techniques; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and economic impact data for selected industry sectors in U.S. EPA Region 5. The report includes analyses of data from U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the Greenhouse Gas Emissions database on Envirofacts, and the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns database on American FactFinder. GLRPPR has several other papers that focus on specific states or industrial sectors in the region:
Report: Strategy for using the US EPA Toxics Release Inventory to Identify Opportunities for Diffusion of Innovative Methods for Hazardous Waste and Toxic Emission Reduction
This report shows how P2 technical assistance providers can use TRI P2 data to identify manufacturing facilities that have implemented toxics source reduction methods and facilitate the diffusion of those methods to other facilities that may be facing barriers that block adoption of P2 practices.
Module 4: Identify and Target Facilities to Perform Hazardous Substances P2 Assessments
In 2013, U.S. EPA Region 5 (in collaboration with EPA headquarters) developed a 4-part training module to assist technical assistance programs (TAPs) in finding hazardous material reduction opportunities. This module demonstrates how the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program used TRI data to target their P2 technical assistance efforts. It also provides an overview of what types of information are included in TRI emissions and P2 data.