Improving Air Quality in Alaska
Green Star recently signed a contract with the Municipality of Anchorage's Department of Health and Human Services to complete several air quality projects during 2004. During this winter/spring season, Green Star hopes to initiate several of the projects, which will continue through fall and winter. Several pilot projects aim to encourage employees at local businesses to use alternative means of transportation by offering free bus passes and developing employer-run incentive programs. Other projects include timer giveaways, store displays, and education and outreach campaigns to encourage the use of vehicle plug-ins and timers. Check out www.greenstarinc.org.
Saving Energy in Rural Alaskan Villages
The Rural Alaska Village Environmental Network (RAVEN) Electrical Savings Initiative is a project of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP). The Electrical Savings Initiative (ESI) focuses on education activities and installing electrical energy conservation products in rural Alaska to empower participants to reduce both individual and community dependence on expensive electrical resources. The program works with participants at the individual, community, and regional level. The Electrical Savings Initiative provides home energy assessments, education and energy-saving incentives to residents in each of the 75 rural communities that RurAL CAP works with. In 2003 - 2004, RAVEN members and local ESI Techs performed assessments and provided energy upgrades on a total of 1,450 low income homes receiving energy assistance. RurAL Cap estimates that each low-income homeowner will save an average of $300 savings per home per year. Projected lifetime savings of all the products installed in low-income Alaskan homes, is estimated to be approximately $1,350,000. For more information on this project, see www.ruralcap.com/Electrical_Savings/index.htm.
Small Business Assistance Program Moves to Small Business Development Center
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have entered into an agreement relocating the state's 507 Small Business Assistance Program from DEQ to the Idaho SBDC. Small Business Liaison Sally Tarowsky, who has worked for DEQ for 10 years, will be housed at the SBDC where she will continue to provide environmental compliance assistance to small businesses in the state. DEQ spearheaded the program shift, in consultation with the Idaho Legislature's Environmental Common Sense Committee, state budget officials, DEQ program heads, and small business owners, to provide a "one-stop shop" where small businesses can obtain on-site environmental assistance in addition to tax, labor, and other advice provided by the Idaho SBDC.Hosting conferences for Construction Operations impacted by the Storm Water Phase II regulations;
Hosting a conference for Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators and Small Quantity Generators;
Developing tools to assist businesses and assistance providers in determining when an air quality permit is needed; and
Developing tools to assist businesses that are subject to the National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Surface Coating of Miscellaneous Metal Parts and Products.
Special projects for the year include:
For more information, contact Sally Tarowsky at (208) 426-1839 or by e-mail at SallyTarowsky@boisestate.edu
New Hazardous Waste Resource for Central and Eastern Oregon
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is offering a new hazardous waste technical assistance resource for Central and Eastern Oregon. Jeannette Freeman, a Hazardous Waste Specialist, is available for one on one site visits to help companies understand and comply with hazardous waste regulations and will be coordinating and conducting hazardous waste group training sessions. Upcoming training topics include "Hazardous Waste Basics" and "Managing Common Wastes," encompassing hazardous waste determination; on-site management; permit requirements; record keeping and reporting; emergency planning; exclusions and exemptions; storage and disposal requirements; and spills. Training will be held throughout the year in Bend, Klamath Falls, Pendleton, Ontario, The Dalles and Redmond. Contact Jeannette at (541) 388-6146, ext. 229 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fluorescent Tube Recycling in Oregon Hospitals
As part of the Oregon Healthcare Without Harm Campaign, the Oregon Center for Environmental Health has negotiated a discounted rate for recycling fluorescent tubes for hospitals/healthcare facilities with a local, licensed recycler, Environmental Protection Services. Hospitals signing on to the program will be charged 6 cents per foot to recycle straight tubes, with varying prices for other lamps. Environmental Protection Services will also provide pick-up service and storage containers free of charge throughout the state of Oregon. In the first year of implementation, they have signed up 10 hospitals, resulting in over 60,000 fluorescent lamps diverted from landfills. For more information on this project, contact Neha Patel at (503) 233-1510 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Food Composting in Portland Airport
Port of Portland and airport restaurants and cafes initiated a food waste collection and composting program this spring. The program accepts pre-consumer food waste (meaning it hasn't been on someone's plate), coffee grounds and filters, bread, waxed cardboard, paper towels and napkins. Each vendor has a special bin for these items, and the contracted hauler transports the contents to Nature's Needs in North Plains, where materials are composted into a farm soil amendment. The program has the potential to divert 200 tons of organic waste annually. For more information, check out www.portlandairportpdx.com.
Port of Portland Now Using Bio-diesel
The Port of Portland has also begun using plant-based diesel fuel in its trucks and tractors. Diesel fuel is notorious for emitting hazardous air pollutants. Therefore, the Port is substituting 20 percent of the petroleum-based diesel with bio-diesel made from soybeans or mustard seeds. Air pollutants of concern will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent. For more information, check out www.portlandairportpdx.com.
Eco-Logical Business Program for Landscapers
Landscaping businesses in the Portland area that reduce pollution can now become Eco-Logical businesses. The Eco-Logical Business Program (EcoBiz), started in 1999 with the goal of preventing and minimizing air, water and solid waste pollution generated by small businesses in the tri-county area. The Pollution Prevention Outreach Team from Portland area public agencies is developing a set of "best management practices" that landscapers can use to reduce their impacts on the environment. The team will soon release "A Best Management Practices Guide for Landscape Businesses" with information and tips about complying with environmental regulations, reducing and reusing waste, and reducing costs. Check out www.ecobiz.org for more information.
Changing the Paper Market
Metafore is a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon whose mission is to catalyze business action to restore and preserve forests around the world. Metafore's project, the Paper Working Group, consists of large-volume paper and paperboard buyers who embrace social, environmental and economic responsibility in their business practices and transactions. Metafore convened this group of leading businesses, which includes Hewlett-Packard, McDonald's, Starbucks and Nike, to collectively identify ways to develop a consistent and affordable supply of environmentally preferable paper. Environmentally preferable paper, as defined by the group, contributes to forest conservation, and is manufactured in a way that reduces environmental impacts and results in a reduction in waste. Collectively, the group represents 1% of the global paper market and therefore has the potential to send a powerful signal to the paper industry. The participating businesses of the Paper Working Group seek to meet environmental goals based on their own values and at the same time create a change in present-day paper making and purchasing. For more information, visit www.metafore.org.
Grants Awarded to Innovative Green Building Projects
In March 2004, Portland's Office of Sustainable Development awarded $100,000 in grants to eleven green building projects throughout Portland. These specialized grants will support building projects designed to achieve a high level of environmental performance, durability, and safety and health through integrated design, emerging technologies and best practices. Winning projects received between $3,000 and $15,000 for items such as an urban study of sustainable stormwater management, a zero-energy home, Portland's first LEED platinum mixed-use development, a home remodel using natural building materials and many more. For more information about these grant projects, visit www.green-rated.org.
Thermostat Recycling Outreach
The Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) is working to encourage proper stewardship of mercury-containing thermostats. Oregon legislation, proposed by OEC and passed in 2001, phases out the sale of new mercury-containing thermostats by 2006, requires labeling of mercury-containing thermostats still being sold, and requires the manufacturers of such thermostats to offer a free take-back program via the Thermostat Recycling Corporation. However, most mercury-containing thermostats are not currently recycled. OEC is working to increase the number of wholesalers that collect mercury-containing thermostats and to educate contractors about the importance of utilizing this free service. For more information on the Thermostat Recycling Corporation and participating wholesalers, visit www.nema.org/trc or call 1-800-238-8192. For more information on OEC's project, contact Heidi Sickert at (503) 222-1963 ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cleaning Up Diesel Emissions
Diesel Solutions, an award-winning pollution-prevention program led by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, is making significant progress toward cleaning up emissions from diesel vehicles throughout the region. Since 2001, this voluntary initiative has provided advice and grants to assist partners to retrofit transit buses, trucks and school buses and switch to ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel. In addition, a statewide school-bus retrofit program funded by the 2003 legislature, is building on the experience from the Clean Air Agency's Diesel Solutions program. More than 1,500 school buses will become cleaner this year as a result of this new program. Retrofit devices combined with clean fuels reduce toxic pollution from diesel vehicles by 50 to 90 percent, depending on the type of retrofit device and fuel used. Clean fuel options include ultra-low-sulfur diesel, biodiesel, and a mix of ultra-low-sulfur diesel and biodiesel. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirement mandating the sale of new low-polluting vehicles takes effect in 2007. However, because diesel engines have long lives, that requirement won't deliver significant benefits until about 2015. To learn more about the Diesel Solutions program, visit www.pscleanair.org/dieselsolutions/index.shtml.
Environmentally Responsible Purchasing Through Innovative Commodities Teams
The City of Seattle environmentally responsible purchasing efforts are integrated in the work of interdepartmental "Commodities Teams," as well as in various major projects. These Teams are coordinated by the City Purchasing office, and include City purchasing agents as well as staff who use goods and services contracts. A few highlights from the Teams include:The Janitorial Team, building on last year's work getting several contracts for "green" cleaning products, is examining certain carpet and floor care products, based on their environmental and safety criteria.
The Building Materials Team is investigating ways to obtain sustainably grown and harvested wood in maintenance and repair jobs.
The "Copier Roundtable" is reviewing use of copiers and multifunction devices for printing and copying, to identify potential efficiencies, including reducing environmental impacts.
A paper-waste-reduction committee is starting up, to boost interdepartmental effectiveness in both reducing paper waste overall and using more 100% post-consumer recycled and chlorine-free paper for printing and copying.
For more information on these projects, contact Shirli Axelrod at (206) 684-7804 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Unwanted Medications Return program
Clark County, in partnership with local pharmacies, has established a program to safely dispose of unwanted or outdated medications. The Unwanted Medications Return program will accept prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Medications that are improperly disposed of in the sewer system or landfills may enter drinking water sources. The risks posed to humans by long-term consumption of minute quantities of medications in drinking water and the risks to the environment are still unknown. For more information, contact the Clark County Environmental Services Department at (360) 397-6118 ext. 4352.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance will conduct a multi-year study on electric voltage regulation in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The study, known as the Distribution Efficiency Initiative (DEI), will determine if and what type of voltage regulation would yield the greatest energy savings: voltage regulated at the home, voltage regulated at a utility's substation or a combination of both. As part of the study, a broad selection of residential customer load types will be evaluated to determine the energy and demand savings as a result of improved voltage regulation. One of these products includes the Home Voltage Regulator, which could reduce household energy usage by as much as 20% by eliminating wasted voltage. If installed in a million homes nationwide, carbon dioxide emissions from power plants could be reduced by 640,000 tons a year. For more information, check out www.nwalliance.org.
What's New at PPRC
New Database of Northwest P2 Projects
Recent research done during the planning stages of our fluorescent lamp recycling program led us to similar outreach projects that are already underway in Oregon by the Oregon Center for Environmental Health and the Oregon Environmental Council. After contacting these organizations, we received invaluable tips on how to implement similar programs in Washington, not to mention a ton of helpful resources and information (thanks Chris and Neha!). Of course, this experience isn't new in P2, as we hear of similar projects being done all the time (think of all those dental amalgam programs) so we've responded by developing a tool that will help to increase these types of information flows and encourage regional networking. With its expected debut to be in the early summer, this new service will be very similar to this newsletter, highlighting Northwest environmental assistance program activities. For more information on this exciting new resource and to have your projects listed, contact Crispin Stutzman at the PPRC office at (206) 352-2050. Check it out at www.pprc.org/activities/Index.cfm.
New "P2 Pays" Marketing Brochure
Recognizing the serious need for a marketing vehicle that would promote the message of P2 more effectively to business and industry, PPRC developed a new marketing brochure called "P2 Pays." This brochure, developed through a grant from the EPA, highlights the millions of dollars in cost savings from Northwest businesses who implemented P2 into their processes over the past decade. The brochure was designed with program compatibility in mind--it includes room for individual P2 programs to be publicized on the back page. We are currently looking into different options of disseminating this new brochure. For more information or to get on the list to receive a camera-ready copy that could be printed by your organization, contact Crispin Stutzman at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (206) 352-2050.
P2 Regional Roundtable Update
PPRC hosted the P2 Regional Roundtable on March 17-18, 2004 at the Mountaineers Building in Seattle, Washington. Over 60 public, non-profit, and private sector professionals attended from all over the Northwest to participate in this unique networking event. The latest project updates were shared and workshops were held on Product Stewardship, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Strategies, Lean Manufacturing, and Sustainability Work in Government Programs and Facilities. A few highlights include presentations by speakers from leading Northwest businesses Nike and Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters on their companies' efforts to integrate sustainable principles into their operations through product stewardship. Additionally, Roundtable participants heard from several public and non-profit fundmakers on the latest in fund priorities. This panel included representatives from the Bullitt Foundation, the Seattle Biotech Legacy Foundation, EPA Region 10, and Seattle Public Utilities. To access the minutes, go to www.pprc.org/pprc/pubs/rrt/mar04min.html. If you have suggestions for topics for our next Roundtable, contact Cathy Buller at email@example.com or by phone at (206) 352-2050.
The Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center (P2RIC.org) has created an online video library to make pollution prevention and waste reduction videos easily accessible to P2 specialists worldwide. You can watch P2 videos online or download video segments for use in your PowerPoint presentations. The video download capability offers value to educators and trainers who want to add punch to their presentations. Videos can be accessed at www.p2ric.org/video/index.cfm. Also, if your organization has produced or knows of videos that pertain to pollution prevention and would like them to be included in this library, contact Dan O'Dell at (402) 595-1823, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.