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.

From the GLRPPR Help Desk archive

The GLRPPR Help Desk Librarian is here to answer your P2 questions. Previous questions and answers are archived on the GLRPPR web site and also appear in related sector resource categories. Below is a recent inquiry.

Question: I have heard about a $1/gallon government incentive for biodiesel. I would like some information about who provides the incentive and who gets it.

Answer: This incentive is also known as the Biodiesel and Ethanol (VEETC) Tax Credit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy:

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-357) created tax incentives for biodiesel fuels and extended the tax credit for fuel ethanol. The biodiesel credit is available to blenders/retailers beginning in January 2005. It also established the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), which provides ethanol blenders/retailers with $.51 per pure gallon of ethanol blended or $.0051 per percentage point of ethanol blended (i.e., E10 is eligible for $.051/gal; E85 is eligible for $.4335/gal). The incentive is available until 2010.

Section 1344 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended the tax credit for biodiesel producers through 2008. The credits are $.51 per gallon of ethanol at 190 proof or greater, $1.00 per gallon of agri-biodiesel, and $.50 per gallon of waste-grease biodiesel. If the fuel is used in a mixture, the credit amounts to $.0051 per percentage point ethanol or $.01 per percentage point of agri-biodiesel used or $.0050 per percentage point of waste-grease biodiesel (i.e. E100 is eligible for $.51 per gallon) (Source: U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)

For more details on this program and other incentives for using alternative fuel sources, see:

Getting bucks back for your biodiesel production
This article provides a good overview of the tax credit and related incentives for biodiesel producers.

State & Federal Incentives & Laws
This database captures state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics. State-level information is updated annually after each state’s legislative session ends. Federal information is updated after enacted legislation is signed into law.

Healthy Schools Campaign Launches Blog, Website

The Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) recently launched a new blog to help disseminate information on its activities, as well as regional and national stories related to its initiatives. The blog will feature posts from HSC staff members and invited guest bloggers.

HSC has also launched a new website, GreenCleanSchools.org, which features online access to portions of the free HSC publication, The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools. The site also features related news, events and educational opportunities; success stories; regulatory and market updates; featured green cleaning products and equipment; and a question-and-answer style column called Ask Steve, written by Steve Ashkin, president of the Ashkin Group, nationally renowned green cleaning expert and author of The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools.

Industrial Ecology of Metals Forum Launched

A free new tool has been launched to promote the application of industrial ecology and facilities research on material flows. The Industrial Ecology of Metals Forum maintains two web-based dynamic and interactive compendia of data: one containing the concentrations of metals found in various high-volume materials, and the other containing the flow rate information for high-volume materials. A discussion group focused on building and maintaining the compendia completes the Forum. The Forum also contains an area for comments on data quality issues. The compendia are available to the general public for viewing, but only discussion group members can make additions to or comments on data contained in the compendia. Funding for the Forum is provided by the U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) and by U.S. EPA Region 5. For more information on the Forum, contact Gary Miller, Assistant Director, WMRC.

Canadian Government Announces ecoENERGY Efficiency Initiative

The Government of Canada has announced a plan to invest $300 million over four years to promote energy efficiency. The ecoENERGY Efficiency Initiative includes three components: a retrofit program that offers information and support for the retrofit of homes, buildings and industrial processes; a program to encourage the construction of more energy efficient buildings and houses; and a program to accelerate energy-saving investments and exchange of best-practice information within the industrial sector. See the Natural Resources Canada Backgrounder for more information on this initiative.

This initiative is the latest in a series of measures set forth by the Canadian government to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and cleaner energy technologies. See the ecoENERGY web site for more information on all these energy-related initiatives, as well as the Natural Resources Canada Backgrounders on the ecoEnergy Renewable Initiative and the ecoENERGY Technology Initiative.

Online Training for the P2 Results Data System

GLRPPR will be presenting a free online training on the use of the P2 Results Data System on Wednesday, January 24th at 1:30 PM CT. The course will include a background of the tool, step-by-step instructions for registering and entering data, plans for future improvements of the tool, and a Q and A session. The course will be presented by Ken Grimm of NPPR with assistance from GLRPPR webmaster, Tyler Rubach. To sign up for the course, fill out the online registration form. Upon submission of the registration form you will receive a confirmation email and be put on a mailing list to receive further instructions and details via email as the date of the course approaches.

For more information on the measurement initiative and the P2 Results Data System, see the project fact sheet and the “About the Project” section of the regional module available on the GLRPPR web site.

A similar training session will be presented at the joint GLRPPR/Region 7 roundtable conference in March in Chicago, IL. Continue to check the conference web page for more information on the conference in the coming weeks.

Best Workplaces for Commuters

A cooperative effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and participating corporations (including 1,600 work sites that earned the Best Workplaces for Commuter designation), Best Workplaces for Commuters provides information for employers and employees looking for alternatives to a gas-guzzling commuter lifestyle.

The site includes facts and figures about the program and about commuting more generally, as well as benefits of a sustainable commuter program, resources for setting up a benefits program at your workplace, and summaries of successful programs.

For more information about the benefits of alternative commuter programs, see also:

If you have suggestions for additional resources, please login and post them in the comments.