Lean Manufacturing and Environment
The Lean and Chemicals Toolkit
Appendix D: EPA Programs That Support Chemical Waste Reduction Efforts
On This Page
- Design for Environment Program
- Green Chemistry and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
- Green Engineering Program
- Green Suppliers Network Program
- High Production Volume Challenge Program
- Lean and Environment Initiative
- National Partnership for Environmental Priorities
- Resource Conservation Challenge
- Sector Strategies Program
- Sustainable Futures Program
This appendix describes the following EPA programs that help companies reduce chemical wastes, find safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals, and develop greener chemical products.
The Design for the Environment (DfE) program works in partnership with a range of industry, non-governmental organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to integrate health and environmental considerations into business decisions. DfE focuses on industries that combine the potential for chemical risk reduction with a strong motivation to make positive, lasting change. As incentives for participation and driving change, DfE offers unique technical tools. The DfE resources are further described in Chapter 6 of this toolkit.
EPA’s Green Chemistry promotes innovative chemical technologies that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture, and use of chemical products. The program works towards its goals by supporting green chemistry research, education, outreach, and incentive opportunities to scientists and industrial decision makers. The program also runs the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge, an awards program that recognizes outstanding green chemistry technologies.
The goal of the Green Engineering Program is to promote the research and use of green engineering approaches and techniques in production and design. Green engineering is the design, commercialization, and use of processes and products, which are feasible and economical while minimizing 1) generation of pollution at the source, and 2) risk to human health and the environment. The program hopes to institutionalize green thinking in the design and commercialization of products and processes through educational outreach, and collaborative projects with industry, regions, and other stakeholders. It hopes to go beyond focusing on waste.
The Green Suppliers Network is a partnership program among industry, EPA, and the US Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership to green America’s manufacturing supply chains. Green Suppliers works with all levels of the manufacturing supply chain to improve processes and minimize waste generation. Through on-site reviews, suppliers continuously learn ways to increase energy efficiency, identify cost-saving opportunities, and optimize resources and technologies to eliminate waste. This results in more effective processes and products with higher profits and fewer environmental impacts.
The HPV Challenge Program is a collaborative partnership program designed to ensure that the American public has access to information to make informed decisions about chemicals encountered in their daily lives. HPV chemicals are those that are manufactured or imported into the United States in amounts equal to or greater than one million pounds per year. Since the Program’s inception, chemical manufacturers and importers have participated by sponsoring over 2,200 chemicals. Sponsorship involves a commitment to develop data summaries of relevant existing information and to conduct testing to fill any data gaps. This collection of screening-level hazard data produced in the largest quantities is publicly available on the HPV Challenge Program website and in the HPV Information System (HPVIS).
Under the High Production Volume Challenge Program, companies are “challenged” to make health and environmental effects data publicly available on chemicals produced or imported in the United States in the greatest quantities. HPV chemicals are classified as those chemicals produced or imported in the United States in quantities of 1 million pounds or more per year. As of June 2007, companies have sponsored more than 2,200 HPV chemicals, with approximately 1,400 chemicals sponsored directly through the HPV Challenge Program and over 860 chemicals sponsored indirectly through international efforts.
Recognizing that Lean trends have implications for both regulatory and non-regulatory programs, EPA is working with Lean experts, organizations implementing Lean, state environmental agencies, and other partners to:
- Raise awareness about the relationship of Lean production to environmental performance
- Share “good practices” for improving the environmental benefits of Lean initiatives
- Develop and disseminate integrated Lean and environment tools
- Identify and address environmental regulatory considerations associated with Lean
- Explore how Lean techniques might be used to improve government administrative processes (e.g., permitting)
EPA is working with partners in a number of industry sectors and in government agencies to document Lean and environment success stories and to develop and test tools that organizations could use to maximize the environmental benefits of Lean. In addition, EPA is conducting outreach about Lean and the environment to Lean practitioners and pollution prevention (P2) technical assistance providers. Finally, EPA is working with states to apply Lean techniques to streamline permitting.
The National Partnership for Environmental Priorities under the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) is a partnership program designed to result in the reduction in the use (and consequently waste) of 31 priority chemicals (see Table 1 in Chapter 2) that the Agency has determined to be persistent bioaccumulative toxics (e.g., dioxin and mercury). Partners are enrolled in the program by regional partnership recruiters, who, when necessary, conduct site visits and assist facilities in determining where priority chemical reductions can be achieved.
The Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) is EPA’s national effort to conserve natural resources and energy by managing materials more efficiently. The goals of the RCC are to:
- Prevent pollution and promote reuse and recycling
- Reduce priority and toxic chemicals in products and waste
- Conserve energy and materials
The results of these national efforts are significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving tremendous amounts of energy annually.
The multi-media Sector Strategies Program (which is no longer operational) promoted widespread improvement in environmental performance, with reduced administrative burden, in twelve major manufacturing and service sectors: agribusiness, cement manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, colleges and universities, construction, forest products, iron and steel manufacturing, metal casting, oil and gas exploration and refining, paint and coatings, ports, and shipbuilding. Stakeholders worked collaboratively to address performance barriers and prompt industry-wide stewardship initiatives, such as the National Mercury Switch Removal Program that was launched in 2006.
EPA’s Sustainable Futures Program is a partnership program that provides chemical developers access to computer-based risk-screening methods and models for the development of new chemicals. Chemical manufacturers can use these tools to detect potentially hazardous chemicals early on in the development process and to find less hazardous substitutes for the chemicals they are producing. The Sustainable Futures Program provides training to companies on how to use these models to prescreen their chemicals. Companies that participate in this program may also be eligible for expedited EPA review of their chemicals. The program has been successful at encouraging companies to develop safer, less hazardous chemicals.