Northwest states Brownbag Lunch Meetings

The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center hosts and attends informal brown-bag lunch meetings to stay current on issues affecting pollution prevention, and to hear interesting speakers who educate participants on topics relevant to our work and offer fresh perspectives to think about.

November 18, 1999 — EPA Region 10's "Green Building" Project.
Judith Leckrone, EPA Region 10

Before it was remodeled, the EPA regional administrator's office suite featured the following:

After remodeling, the office suite featured the following: Judith Leckrone, a facilities manager from EPA Region 10, spoke about EPA's "green building" project at our regular brown bag on Nov. 18. The remodeling of the regional adminstrator's office suite was carried out as an educational project to help agencies and businesses learn about designing and managing a green building project.

The project was driven by standards to ensure that: 1) the remodeled space would better serve the people who work there and, 2) the project itself would incorporate resource efficiency, toxicity reduction, and waste reduction. The keys to making the project work were detailed, exacting specifications, diligent research, and frequent communication with contractors and building crews.

The P2 aspects of the project were extensive. To reduce waste, extensive reuse was mandated. Components, such as doors, were reused, stored for future use, or sold or given away for reuse elsewhere. More than 95 percent of construction debris was recycled, including all the drywall, metal framing, carpet, ceiling tile and glass.

To reduce electricity consumption, daylight, efficient lighting and motion sensors that automatically turn off lights in unoccupied spaces were included. Daylight is brought into the inner office area via modular, translucent walls.

To safeguard indoor air quality, the project specified low-VOC paints and drywall mud. A health and safety officer reviewed and approved materials. During construction, air flow was enhanced through techniques such as opening stairwells. Frequent wet mopping and vacuuming kept dust down.

Office furniture is constructed of wood from third-party certified forests. Furniture textiles were manufactured in a sustainable process that incorporated the entire life cycle. For example, wool came from free-range sheep and dyes were manufactured without release of toxics.

There were a number of barriers that had to be overcome to complete the project successfully. Finding out what was "doable" took a lot of research. Tradeoffs had to be made. For example, should a toilet be reused or dumped in favor of a water-efficient model? Furniture manufacturers were initially skeptical about using certified wood. Project managers had to ride herd on the building crews to make sure specifications were followed. There was one incident in which a drywaller persisted in using a volatile mud that did not meet specifications. After he was told repeatedly to stop using the product, a project manager was forced to pick up the drywall mud container, put it in an elevator car, and send it out of sight.

To find out more about this project, visit For paper copies of a case study, contact Judith Leckrone at 206-553-6911 or

For additional green building resources, see the summer 1999 edition of PPRC's P2 Northwest newsletter, at


October 21, 1999 — Insurance and P2
Jerry Parker, Washington Departmnent of Ecology

Telephone: 360-407-6750

So, what does insurance have to do with pollution prevention? Maybe a lot. The costs of insurance and the risks of pollution-related liabilities can be high, creating an opening for technical assistance providers to market P2 as a way to reduce those costs and risks – but there are barriers to overcome.

Insurance and P2 was the topic of our regular monthly brown bag on Oct. 21. Our speaker was Jerry Parker from the Washington Department of Ecology, who has prepared a series of fact sheets on this issue. Some of the fact sheets will be available on Ecology's web site in the near future. Paper copies are available by contacting Jerry Parker.

The purpose of the fact sheets is to help technical assistance providers become more familiar with insurance, so they can flag insurance costs and pollution risks when marketing P2 to their business clients. Another goal is to improve understanding of P2's risk reduction benefits by the insurance industry.

The series includes the following fact sheets:

The case studies include a regional example. Tiz's Door Sales in Everett, Washington cut its annual workers' compensation, health, and property insurance costs by $34,000 after reducing emissions from coating operations.

There are barriers to baiting the insurance hook, however. There is lack of awareness on the part of businesses, especially small ones, of their possible pollution liabilities. In many cases, they may not know that their general liability policies exclude coverage of pollution damage. Many small companies do not have environmental insurance policies, so the insurance cost reduction benefits of P2 may be limited to reduced costs of fire and explosion coverage in their property policies. As the Tiz's Door case shows, workers compensation insurance premiums may be reduced through P2. The Tiz's Door case also shows that P2 can eliminate the need to buy environmental insurance.

Many insurance brokers are unfamiliar with P2 and its risk reduction benefits, or don't understand the difference between pollution prevention and end-of-pipe strategies. In many cases, companies that have reduced their risks by implementing P2 have not received breaks on their insurance costs, so data on P2-related risk reductions is limited. Tiz's Door had to negotiate aggressively with carriers to obtain the reported cost reductions.

Few industry environmental managers are in the insurance negotiation loop within their companies, so the connection between P2 and insurance cost reductions is not made. Companies will often allocate insurance costs to overhead and, consequently do not track the environmental component of those costs.

Nevertheless, there are opportunities for using P2 to reduce insurance costs and risks. Companies that sell environmental insurance policies have a strong interest in reducing risks. Many such insurers have risk management arms that work with customers to help them reduce their risks. In some cases, insurers may offer financial incentives for risk reduction.

There are a number of questions technical assistance providers need to consider. Two key questions are: At what point does providing information turn technical assistance providers into sales promoters for insurers? Do insurance savings provide a sufficient impetus for pollution prevention?

Useful Web Sites

Next month....

On Thursday, Nov. 18, our speaker will be Judith Leckrone from EPA Region 10. Judith will have a presentation on the "green building" project EPA undertook for remodeling the regional administrator's office suite. EPA has produced a detailed case study that describes the project, design and construction issues that were faced, environmental benefits, costs, and lessons learned. We'll meet at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, from noon to 1:30 p.m. See you then.


September 30, 1999 — Marketing Recycled Products
Erv Sandlin, King County Commission for Marketing Recyclable Products

It's one thing to toss paper, glass and other recyclables into collection bins. It's quite another to develop and maintain markets for the collected materials.

The King County Commission for Marketing Recyclable Materials was established 10 years ago to "close the loop" by building viable, lasting markets for paper, glass, cans, and other materials collected in recycling programs. Our speaker was Erv Sandlin, a commission program manager.

The commission, established in 1989 and funded by waste disposal tip fees, has focused on developing retail markets for products containing recycled content or packaged with recycled materials. Through retail programs, such as "Get in the Loop" for example, the commission has worked with retailers to identify and promote consumer products with recycled content, such as trash bags and assorted paper products. Other programs include working with auto repair shops to use re-refined motor oil, helping businesses try out office products with recycled content, and providing information to architects and builders about recycled building materials.

As markets and attitudes about recycled content products change, the commission is studying new approaches to market development. Earlier this year, the commission released the results of three research projects: 1) assessment of markets for recycled materials, 2) use of recycled materials by King County manufacturers, and 3) consumer attitudes.

MARKETS: The research found that markets for commodities such as mixed paper, glass, organics and wood waste need shoring up. One of the problem areas for wood waste, for example, is that there is no system in place to grade the materials so that potential buyers, such as fiberboard manufacturers, know what they would be getting. The commission plans to focus on strengthening markets by improving collection systems, developing methods of grading materials to help buyers assess product quality, and increasing capacity to process materials into useful manufacturing feedstocks.

MANUFACTURERS: Of nearly 700 King County manufacturers surveyed, more than a third expressed interest in using recycled materials. The commission sees an opportunity to help companies start using recycled materials or to increase their usage through technical and marketing assistance. A pilot project in the works, for example, involves a local company using recycled glass to manufacture an alternative medium for paint stripping and filtration.

CONSUMER ATTITUDES: Results from this survey were surprising. Respondents didn't list recycling as a pressing environmental issue unless prompted, which seems to indicate that consumers believe recycling to be a "settled" issue. Instead, people mentioned pollution and protection of natural resources when asked to list pressing environmental issues. The survey found that nearly two-thirds of respondents recycle, but more than half would not be willing to go out of their way to buy products with recycled content.

With markets in flux and consumer attitudes shifting, the commission is entering a transition in efforts to build markets for recycled materials. While retail "buy recycled" programs have been successful, the commission is looking at moving "upstream" in the production chain to help manufacturers incorporate recycled materials into their products. More broadly, the commission is working to integrate recycling and use of recycled materials with other resource conservation concerns, including waste reduction, toxicity reduction, energy and water efficiency, and protection of natural resources. An example is the EnviroExpo last April that showcased consumer products designed with resource conservation in mind. Among the products on display were water-efficient washing machines, electric bicycles, mulching lawn mowers, organic coffee, and lumber made from recycled plastic.

To find out more about marketing and buying recycled products, visit:

King County Commission for Marketing Recyclable Materials

Business and Industry Recycling Venture (BIRV)

EPA's Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Program

Later this month....

Insurance and its costs can be a powerful driver to implement pollution prevention. Jerry Parker from the Department of Ecology will be at our Thursday, Oct. 21 brown bag to showcase a series of fact sheets that technical assistance providers can use to incorporate insurance concerns into their outreach activities. We'll meet at the usual place, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, from noon to 1:30 p.m.


August 26, 1999 — Y2K and the Environment
Scott Butner, Battelle's Seattle Research Center

So, here we are, a scant four months away from the big calendar rollover to Y2K. What’s in store, especially in regards to the potential for Y2K computer foulups leading to environmental harm?

There is legitimate reason for some concern about the date change, but an equally interesting question, from a P2 standpoint, are parallels between Y2K planning and P2 planning. In fact, Y2K could be an interesting hook technical assistance providers could use to encourage businesses to think about waste-reducing process improvements.

Our presenter at this month’s brown bag was Scott Butner from the Battelle Seattle Research Center. The presentation included an overview of the Y2K problem, industries and processes that may be vulnerable to disruption, and Y2K "witching hours" (one of which is coming up early in September). Broader perspectives on tradeoffs made in designing complex technological systems transcend the easy "who can we blame?" questions that have arisen in regard to Y2K. Finally, Y2K illustrates the P2 principle of re-examining design constraints that once made sense but no longer apply.

First question. Why? Y2K refers to possible computer malfunctions that may occur as a result of storing dates in a two-digit instead of a four-digit format, for purposes of saving memory space. Conserving memory space seems strange today, when 32 megs of RAM can be picked up for the price of a pair of shoes. Until recently, however, memory was at a premium. For example, memory in the ENIAC, the first electronic computer, cost $10 per bit, about 240 million times as expensive as today.

With the two-digit format, microprocessors and data links that control manufacturing systems, inventories, power supplies and other critical functions may erroneously read the year 2000, abbreviated to "00," as the year 1900, causing incorrect computations for functions using dates as a reference point. For example, earlier this year, a consumer products manufacturer’s inventory control system incorrectly determined that newly produced soap had passed its expiration date. As a result, the soaps were disposed of as waste. Another example is temperature controls in distillation columns. Controls using dates to average out sensor temperature readings could foul up the distillation process through faulty temperature assessments.

Leap years are another potential problem area. In 1996, for example, a ballast control system at an offshore oil rig didn’t "know" about the extra day at the end of February. As a result, it adjusted the rig’s ballast based on faulty assessments of tidal conditions and nearly caused loss of the rig. The year 2000 is a leap year also, but processors may not "know" that because of programming errors. Under the Gregorian calendar devised by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, years divisible by 4 are leap years. But years ending in a double zero are not leap years unless they’re divisible by 400. So, 2000 is a leap year, but 1900 was not. This calendar rule was adopted to help keep the calendar in alignment with the seasons.

The main area of Y2K concern is embedded systems of microprocessors and associated data links. There are an estimated 250 billion such systems worldwide. While only 0.2 to 1 percent are believed to be "non-compliant" -- unable to correctly read the date at New Years rollover -- that still leaves the potential for 50 million to 250 million systems being out of Y2K compliance.

Small businesses are less likely to get their systems into Y2K compliance than large businesses. Even so, interdependence clouds the issue. Every company depends on outside suppliers and utilities. A screwup at a non-compliant vendor may cause problems for a company that is compliant. Industries to watch are those that are highly automated and have processing operations. Systems to watch include raw material handling and feeding, monitoring, operator panels, inventory management, backup power supplies and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

Y2K is not a one-day phenomenon. There are series of "witching hours," two of which have come and gone, that may present date-related problems. Sept. 9 is one of those witching hours, because it is abbreviated as 9-9-99. A series of nines is a value used in some programs to indicate "end of file." Others are the New Year rollover to Jan. 1, 2000, Jan. 10 (first day abbreviated to seven digits), Feb. 29 (leap day), and Dec. 31 (366th day of the year). The two "witching hours" that have come and gone are Jan. 1, 1999 (one year look-ahead) and April 9, 1999 (99th day of the 99th year).

Some interesting questions arise with getting systems Y2K-compliant. Are Y2K risks outweighed by the risk of opening up millions of systems for debugging? Will waste caused by Y2K be offset by waste generated in replacing equipment? What are the opportunity costs of spending money on Y2K compliance? Finally, why didn’t programmers think of ways to fix this problem years ago?

The answer to the last question gets to the tradeoffs that often are made in designing complex systems. An article published in the April 1999 edition of Wired estimated that the costs of Y2K fixes are outweighed by the savings achieved through two-digit date formatting. The P2 lesson that emerges is that it pays to re-visit design constraints, update and optimize accordingly. With many businesses focused on Y2K compliance in the waning months of 1999, technical assistance providers have an opportunity to show businesses that the planning approaches they’re using for computerized systems can be applied to other business operations for reducing waste.

Useful Y2K web sites:

Chemical Safety Board

Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association


Y2K Help Center for Small Business

And, since it’s never too early to start preparing for the big five-digit date rollover 8,000 years from now, check out these Y10K sites (place tongue in cheek first.)

The Y10K Crisis

Y10K Unlimited Consulting Knowledgebase (YUCK)


July 8, 1999— Environmental Management - A Manager's Perspective
Syd Randell, US Postal Service

Syd talked about his experience as an environmental manager at both the Postal Service and at a local plastics manufacturer. He offered a number of practical ideas useful to environmental managers working to implement changes within organizations, and to assistance providers working with companies. Here are a few:

The core drivers for getting environmental initiatives off the ground are: 1) compliance and 2) it's good for the business. Unless those drivers are addressed, change won't sell.

Push Vs. Pull
Encouraging change is a matter of pulling rather than pushing. Pushing is a command-and-control approach that won't be very effective. Pulling is convincing your target audience that implementing change is in their self-interest.

The secret to encouraging change is developing skills in interpersonal communication, working with people in a position to make decisions, and playing to your audience's needs and perceptions. For example, one way to describe the environmental manager's value to the organization is to point out the risk management services that the manager provides.

People in other departments of an organization may have widely varying perceptions of what the environmental manager does. To some in the Postal Service, Syd is the "compost guy." To others, he's the "T-shirt guy." He rides along with those perceptions in order to foster communication.

Talking to Decision-Makers
Make your case clearly and don't take a lot of time. You may not have their attention for long. "Be brief. Be brilliant. Be gone."

Getting change accomplished in a large organization takes time. Patience is needed to build awareness.

Tracking Change
Show the value of change in whatever language resonates with your audience's interests.

Changing Needs
As P2 and waste reduction measures are instituted and the company's environmental management needs change, the environmental manager's job must evolve to meet those needs. In business, no job is permanent. Some just last longer than others. A logical next step for the environmental manager is to integrate environmental management into the organization's core operations.

To find out more about the Postal Service and the environment, visit:


June 24, 1999— Alternative Fuels for Fleet Vehicles
Catherine Dickerson, Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC)

Northwest Guide to PBTs
Chris Wiley, Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC)

What do alternative vehicle fuels and persistent, bioaccumulative toxins have in common? Well, not a lot, but we heard about both at PPRC's regular monthly brown bag on June 24. We showcased two of our most recent on-line Topical Reports, 1) Alternative Fuels for Fleet Vehicles and 2) The Northwest Guide to PBT's. Here's a quick summary of what the two reports have to offer:

Alternative Fuels for Fleet Vehicles

Our presenter was Catherine Dickerson, PPRC's technical lead. The report is targeted primarily at vehicle fleet managers. Federal, state, and in some cases private fleet managers are facing federal requirements to switch to alternative fueled vehicles. These requirements are spelled out in the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments and the 1992 Energy Policy Act.

The Topical Report describes the following alternatives: compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ethanol, electricity from batteries, hydrogen for combustion and fuel cells, and biodiesel. The descriptions include how the fuels are produced, their environmental characteristics, economics, health and safety issues, and miscellaneous information. For comparison purposes, the same information is provided for gasoline and conventional diesel. The environmental characteristics information refers only to the impacts of use. Impacts of production, refining, transportation, and other elements of the lifecycle are not included in this report.

Additionally, the report contains loads of links providing additional information about the various fuels, fleet management, and other alternative transportation options.

Here are some additional web hits on alternative vehicle fuels:

Alternative Fuels Data Center

Clean Cities
(Includes contact information for Puget Sound, Portland and Rogue River Valley Clean Cities groups.)

Northwest Guide to PBT's

Our presenter was Chris Wiley, PPRC's industry outreach lead. Persistent, bioaccumulative toxins (PBT) are highly toxic, long-lasting substances that build up in food chains, endangering human health and causing environmental harm. Both EPA and the Washington Department of Ecology have initiated strategies to reduce and/or eliminate releases of these substances. One of EPA's strategies calls for reducing 53 PBT's in hazardous waste regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Our topical report focuses on these 53 substances to help P2 service providers set priorities for outreach campaigns and sector work.

The report includes the following information on each of the 53 chemicals and metals, where data is available.

The environmental release information is derived from Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reports filed by manufacturers, which are not required of all companies. As a result, it doesn't provide a complete picture on how much of these substances actually get into the environment. In discussion, there was considerable interest in obtaining information on the quantity of PBT's that wind up in end-use products and the risks they pose to health and the environment from that pathway. An example raised was soft plastic medical equipment manufactured with phthalates.

Here are some additional web hits on PBT's

EPA's PBT Project

Ecology's PBT Initiative

And two web hits on both sides of the phthalates issue...

American Council on Science and Health

Health Care Without Harm
(scroll down to "Heed the Warnings" link. You'll need a PDF reader.)


April 29, 1999— Promoting Alternative Fuel Vehicles In The Puget Sound Region
Brian O'Sullivan, Representing the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition (PSCCC)

The PSCCC is a regional, voluntary group leading an initiative to expand the use of vehicles operating with fuels other than petroleum-based gasoline and diesel. The group's goal is to accelerate the use of alternative fuel vehicles within Puget Sound. The coalition hopes to accomplish this by creating partnerships to establish an alternative fuel vehicle market and supporting infrastructure, and to make use of alternative fuel vehicles both efficient and economically viable.

The Clean Cities Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and supported by grants from DOE and other agencies. DOE's objective is to go beyond the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which requires federal fleets to include alternative fuel vehicles. Alternative fuels promoted by the Clean Cities Coalition include compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), propane, electricity, and hybrid fuels: i.e., diesel-electric, or gas-electric.

Here is how car sharing works: members of a car sharing organization have access to a fleet of vehicles parked throughout a target community. Cars are available on a reservation basis and users walk or take a bus to pick up a vehicle. Hourly and mileage charges cover all costs, including maintenance, insurance and fuel. In the program underway in Portland, compact cars cost $1.50 per hour and 40 cents per mile to use. In Portland, each member has a key that will open the door of any car in the fleet. Ignition keys are kept in boxes inside the cars, and access is gained by punching a key code.

There are approximately 48 Clean Cities coalitions nationwide. Some of the coalitions are newly formed, and others have been in place five to six years. Coalitions exist in locations such as Portland, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, and Los Angeles. Progress in promoting use of alternative fuel vehicles is at various stages around the country: some Clean Cities coalitions have alternative fuel vehicle programs in place or contemplated, and others (like Puget Sound) are still working to secure commitments for funding and demonstration projects.

The 45 PSCCC members in the region include fleet managers, project managers, planners, and consultants from public agencies and private entities. Anyone is welcome to participate in the coalition.

PSCCC's main goal is to strategically target selected fleet operations, and get procurement officers and policy makers to build alternative fuel vehicles into their future vehicle purchases. Since the PSCCC was formed two years ago, their main focus has been on securing grant money to fund fleet fuel conversion or new vehicle purchases. The Clean Cities Coalition is also trying to promote the use of dedicated-fuel vehicles (instead of bi-fuel vehicles able to run on gas or diesel and an alternative fuel), and creation of a universal card for refueling at any available alternative fuel station.

Two major obstacles are hindering efforts to integrate alternative fuel vehicles into local fleets:

Other obstacles to adopting use of alternative fuel vehicles include:

The status of local efforts to increase use of alternative fuel vehicles looks like this:

Niche markets where alternative fuel vehicles may be most appropriate (for now) include public transit fleets, hotel and airport shuttle services, taxis, public utility vehicles, and heavy construction vehicles and equipment. Transit operators now seem more interested in fuel cells and other alternatives to CNG. The Clean Cities Coalition expects incremental progress as some market niches take off, with or without the influence of the coalition.

New EPA ozone standards could do a lot to promote conversion to alternative fuel vehicles. Possible niches to promote alternative fuels include areas with the greatest exposure to humans (and potential affects on human health), and potential impacts on endangered species due to particulate deposition.


  • Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition
  • U.S. Dept. of Energy's Clean Cities Program
  • U.S. Dept. of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center
  • The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC) is preparing a topical report on Alternative Fuels. Look for the report soon on our website at

    March 25, 1999— King County Metro Transit's Car Sharing Pilot Project
    Ref Lindmark, King County Metro Transit

    Imagine a transportation option that gives users the mobility advantages of automobiles, but results in less driving, less pollution and more use of alternative means of getting around.

    It's called car sharing, and later this year, a car sharing pilot project will get underway in Seattle. Ref Lindmark from King County Metro Transit described car sharing and the pilot project at our monthly brown bag on March 25.

    Here is how car sharing works: members of a car sharing organization have access to a fleet of vehicles parked throughout a target community. Cars are available on a reservation basis and users walk or take a bus to pick up a vehicle. Hourly and mileage charges cover all costs, including maintenance, insurance and fuel. In the program underway in Portland, compact cars cost $1.50 per hour and 40 cents per mile to use. In Portland, each member has a key that will open the door of any car in the fleet. Ignition keys are kept in boxes inside the cars, and access is gained by punching a key code.

    The Seattle pilot is expected to get underway in August or September in the Lower Queen Anne, Belltown, and First Hill/Capital Hill neighborhoods. Car sharing also will be offered at "transit-oriented developments" (TOD), a development concept where housing, transit services, job sites, and shopping are in proximity.

    The idea originated in Europe and is popping up on this side of the pond. In addition to Portland's privately operated organization, car sharing cooperatives are active in Vancouver and Victoria, BC. Car sharing works best in relatively dense urban neighborhoods where customers have a choice of practical transportation options, parking space is limited, and people live in proximity to schools, jobs and shopping. Car sharing makes economic sense for people who drive fewer than 8,000 to 10,000 miles per year.

    Car sharing is designed to improve mobility and reward behavior that reduces driving. Car sharing gives people who usually get around by bus or bicycle the option of having access to a car on those occasions when the bus or bike are not practical. The key is the difference between car ownership and car availability. Car ownership encourages car use to the exclusion of other options. Car availability, on the other hand, puts transit, cycling, walking and car use on more of an equal footing.

    With the flexibility offered by car sharing, households that have occasional need for a car, but don't need one every day, can get rid of a second car, or even dispense entirely with car ownership and all its insurance, parking, and maintenance costs. Studies in Europe have shown that car owners who joined a car sharing organization actually reduced their driving. Car sharers change their habits because the system encourages them to consolidate trips and discourages impulsive short trips by car. When driving goes down, energy consumption and tailpipe emissions go down too. Street space in dense neighborhoods is freed up. Car sharing fleets also could be a tool for introducing alternative fuel vehicles into the market.

    A goal of the Seattle pilot is to have a 100-vehicle fleet by the end of the first year. The project will be a public-private endeavor. King County will handle the marketing, the city will work out parking issues, and a private company to be selected through competitive bid will operate the program. The program will be open to residential customers and also to employers, who could use the cars for deliveries or make them available to employees who need to run errands during the workday. The intent is for the program to be a fully private operation at the end of the two-year pilot period.


  • To schedule a presentation about the Seattle car sharing pilot, contact Ref Lindmark at 206-684-1104,
  • Seattle Car Sharing:
  • Car Sharing Portland:
  • Car Sharing Network:

    January 14, 1999— Environmental Benefits of Lean Manufacturing and the Disconnect with Today's Regulatory System
    Rob Greenwood, Ross and Associates

    "Lean manufacturing" – less waste, greater efficiency, and continuous improvement – is a business practice that is becoming mainstream among large and small companies alike. There is a strong relationship between lean manufacturing and reducing the size of a company's environmental footprint. The constant, rapid change inherent in lean manufacturing, however, is at odds with regulatory strategies adopted two decades ago, which reflect static business practices that are now outdated.

    Those were key messages at our montly Brown Bag from our guest speaker, Rob Greenwood of Ross & Associates (, an environmental consulting firm.

    Companies are adopting lean manufacturing practices for business reasons – meet customer needs quickly and efficiently, drive down costs in a competitive global marketplace, and reduce business risks, so as to create maximum value with the fewest resources. The pollution prevention benefits are a lower-tier consideration.

    A good example is a brochure produced by an Raytheon operations department describes the true costs of manufacturing waste and lists in detail the various wastes that need to be squeezed out: lighting and heating of unused floor area, space taken up by excessive inventories, continuous rework, discard of usable materials, unnecessary cleaning, for example. Further, the Raytheon team developed about 200 metrics to track their progress in reducing waste.

    Nowhere does the brochure mention "pollution prevention" or "environment." Yet the approach is "P2 nirvana:" understanding costs, materials and processes; embedding agile practices into daily operations; measuring for results; and constantly seeking out improvement. Continous, rapid change is a prerequisite for lean manufacturing to work.

    But Greenwood said that today's regulatory system does not complement this approach. The prospect of permit review processes for proposed operating changes creates uncertainty, while the processes themselves consume time and administrative resources. The result is that innovation is stifled.

    An emerging strategy to correct this disconnect is developing new, transferable approaches to permitting and regulation that support innovation. An example is the "pollution prevention in permitting" (P4) project involving Imation Enterprises, a disc manufacturer in Oklahoma. The company needed to make rapid process and equipment changes without triggering lengthy air permit reviews. A Title V air permit was written containing pre-approval provisions for minor source changes, conditioned on compliance with an annual plantwide VOC cap and a daily emissions limit. The permit contains a P2 program, including goals, reporting, documentation and training.

    A question often asked is whether green businesses are also good businesses. The more interesting question is the reverse. Are good businesses green?


  • Manufacturing Extension Partnerships:
  • World Resources Institute Management Institute for Environment and Business:
  • Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development:

    Compiled by the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, 513 First Ave. West, Seattle, WA 98119
    phone: 206-352-2050, fax: 206-352-2049, e-mail:, WWW address:

    © 1999, Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center
    phone: 206-352-2050, e-mail:, web: