Regional Highlights Pacific Northwest
Pollution Prevention Roundtable
October 11-12, 2000 in Seattle, Washington; Roundtable Report Digest

The following information is summarized from the October 2000 Northwest Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable meeting. A full meeting report is also available.

 

dot Wednesday, October 11, 2000

dot Welcome and Introductions

Attendees were asked to describe favorite projects they're working on. Answers included environmental management systems, environmental education, green purchasing, awards, climate change, sustainable tourism, rangeland sustainability, and incorporating P2 into permitting.

 

dot Total Cost and Assessment and Process Mapping Tools

Speaker:
Rob Reuter, Washington Department of Ecology
     425-649-7086,
rreu461@ecy.wa.gov

Total cost assessment (TCA) and process mapping are tools that help businesses make informed decisions about allocating resources in ways that reduce costs and risks. Technical assistance providers must understand the diverse audiences within businesses and tailor their messages to match the needs of each audience. An important goal of total cost assessment is to disaggregate costs that typically are lumped into "overhead" or "administrative" categories. Those include waste management and permitting. To develop a TCA, it's important to calculate costs per production unit and waste generated per production unit. Risks, such as future environmental liabilities, are not easily quantified, but can be rated on a 1-10 scale.
     Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot PPRC Review: "How Are We Doing"

A brownbag session was held to assess PPRC's services and offer suggestions for improvements. Ideas included more waste reduction and P2 information resources for commercial sectors, information on behavioral and organizational change, web frames to hold web site users to PPRC's site, and articles that can be reproduced for trade magazines.
     
Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot Product Stewardship

Speakers:
David Stitzhal, Full Circle Environmental, Inc.
     206-723-0528,
fullcircle@nwnexus.com

Chris Luboff, Seattle Public Utilities
     206-684-7644, chris.luboff@ci.seattle.wa.us

Product stewardship, also known as extended product or producer responsibility, is a framework for reducing the environmental impacts of products across their life cycles, from extraction of raw materials to end of product life. Techniques for implementing product stewardship include design for disassembly and recycling, product takeback, green purchasing, and "servicizing," the sale of services delivered by products rather than the products themselves. The Northwest Product Stewardship Council (http://www.govlink.org/nwpsc) is working to integrate product stewardship into the region's policy and economic structures. The council has begun a number of projects with key Northwest sectors: computers, apparel, retail, health care, and tires. For example, Eddie Bauer is looking into increasing the recycled content of product bags. The council is exploring a takeback program for discarded tires in the Northwest.
     Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot Salmon Economics: Innovative Business Leadership to Save Resources and Save Money

Speaker:
Karin Sable, University of Puget Sound
     253-879-3553,
ksable@ups.edu

The Center for Watershed and Community Health (http://www.upa.pdx.edu/CWCH) has undertaken a series of studies to document the economic benefits of actions that protect and restore salmon habitat. A January 2000 report entitled, "Saving Salmon, Saving Money: Innovative Business Leadership in the Pacific Northwest," examined 375 examples of businesses in 34 industries. Of those, 137 reduced gross costs by $42 million through energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction measures. In an extrapolation, the report estimated that waste reduction and efficiency measures implemented by 25 percent of businesses in nine sectors would result in cost savings of $1.1 billion over five years. The information in the reports can be used by public agencies to encourage desirable behavior change in businesses, through technical assistance and incentives.

Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot Thursday, October 12, 2000

dot Welcome and Introductions

Attendees were asked which new audiences they would like to reach with their work. Answers included land use planners, purchasing agents, curriculum writers, Republicans, and small business.

 

dot Small Business Development Centers and P2 TAP's

Speaker:
Katie Sewell, Idaho Small Business Development Center
     208-426-1640,
ksewell@boisestate.edu

Small business development centers (SBDC's) were established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 1980 to provide management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. There are 1,100 SBDC offices nationwide that serve more than 670,000 clients annually. Idaho's SBDC is a network of six university-based offices. SBDC's reach many businesses through their training programs and could serve as a delivery mechanism to transfer P2 information directly to small businesses. There has been legislation to provide for delivery of environmental information through SBDC's, but none has been successful, largely because of funding concerns. In 1999, a meeting of business assistance providers resulted in a proposal to develop partnerships among SBDC's and assistance providers, including P2Rx centers, small business assistance programs, and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships. Funding remains a critical issue.
     Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot Think Tank Session

Attendees broke into small groups to network and brainstorm ideas in four topical areas: 1) P2, salmon and climate, 2) Working with financial sectors, 3) Purchasing and contracting, and 4) Information management.

P2, Salmon and Climate
Climate change could affect salmon by reducing stream flows, increasing stream temperatures, upsetting timing of juvenile salmon migration to sea, and altering ocean food webs. Energy efficiency could be a tool for engaging businesses in salmon restoration. The trick is to package information in ways that meet target audience needs.

Financial Sectors
Banking and insurance could be powerful leverage points for getting businesses to adopt P2 practices as risk management measures. Financial sectors and the P2 community have different world views and speak different languages. Outreach to these sectors is necessary to develop relationships that will lead to greater understanding and joint projects.

Purchasing and Contracting
A number of barriers to green purchasing need to be overcome, including resolution of logistics issues involved with joint purchasing agreements, and putting environmental criteria into purchasing specifications. EPA has developed a suite of tools to help businesses and agencies start green purchasing programs. (See
http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/epp.)

Information Management
Resources are available to help assistance providers manage the deluge of information that crosses their desks. Resources include PPRC, the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx), the Small Business Environmental Home Page and GreenBiz.com.

Web sites
PPRC: http://www.pprc.org
P2Rx: http://www.p2rx.org
Small Business Home Page: http://www.smallbiz-enviroweb.org
GreenBiz.com: http://www.greenbiz.com

     Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot How to Set Up and Replicate Information Networks

Speakers:
Tom Watson, National Waste Prevention Coalition
     206-296-4481,
tom.watson@metrokc.gov

Steve Joyce, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program/Interagency Regulatory Analysis Committee
     206-263-3044, steve.joyce@metrokc.gov

Josh Chaitin, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program
     206-263-3076, josh.chaitin@metrokc.gov

Tom Watson
Listserves are a dime a dozen these days. There are three important issues in starting and maintaining a listserve: 1) The listserve should fill an unmet need, not duplicate an existing listserve, 2) Listserves must be maintained and kept fresh, and 3) Readers' time should be respected by checking all web links included in postings.

Steve Joyce
The Response Network and the Interagency Regulatory Analysis Committee (IRAC) are forums for helping different local government agencies communicate with each other. IRAC helps agencies resolve problems related to regulatory gaps, contradictions, or differences in regulatory interpretation. Workgroups brought together through a listserve must deliver a tangible product. Refreshments help workgroup meetings run better.

Josh Chaitin
The Waste Information Network (WIN) is an environmental information resource for Puget Sound technical assistance providers. WIN's annual expo was discontinued several years ago, and the network has shifted to sponsoring smaller, more focused events.

     Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 

dot Awards and Incentives Programs

Speakers:
Carolyn Gangmark, EPA Region 10
     206-553-4072,
gangmark.carolyn@epa.gov

Curt Nichols, Portland Office of Sustainable Development
     503-823-7418, curt@ci.portland.or.us

Joanne Phillipson, Washington Department of Ecology
     360-407-6740, joph461@ecy.wa.gov

Alexandra Scott, King County Solid Waste
     206-296-8454, alexandra.scott@metrokc.gov

Laurel Tomchick, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program
     206-263-3063, laurel.tomchick@metrokc.gov

There are divergent perspectives on the differences between awards and incentives programs. Awards programs pick one among several businesses that are strong environmental performers. In incentive programs, recognition is given to any business that meets the program criteria. But for businesses, the distinctions may not be important; either approach brings recognition. Tangible symbols of recognition, such as plaques or certificates, have great value to businesses. Award winners can serve as credible peers who educate other businesses. Awards differentiated by business sectors are not common. A plethora of awards programs may dilute their value, and business interest in awards and incentives may fall. There is a need for a national, highly publicized awards program, akin to the Oscars, that recognizes extraordinary environmental performance, to show the public what environmental success looks like.
     Additional details on this topic are available in the full meeting report.

 


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