Working to Prevent Pollution
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to Prevent Pollution
A target in Goal Five of EPA’s Strategic Plan is to reduce pollution by 4.5 billion pounds, conserve 31.5 trillion BTUs of energy and 19 billion gallons of water, and save $791.9 million by 2011.
OPPT's pollution prevention program received an 82.7 percent rating from the Office of Management and Budget on its Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) effectiveness review, the third highest rating to date at the time it was assessed. In 2007, OPPT continued to implement the recommendations from its PART assessment.
The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 established that prevention, or "source reduction," is the Agency's first priority for addressing pollution and waste. Therefore, EPA's guiding principle is to reduce when possible potential sources of waste and pollution rather than controlling pollution or treating or recycling waste after it is created.
The Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) has been complementing traditional "command and control" approaches with innovative, collaborative programs that encourage environmental stewardship as both a critical environmental strategy and a sustainable business practice. For example, OPPT has been using pollution prevention (P2) approaches to encourage replacement of existing chemicals of concern in the marketplace. OPPT offers incentives to create innovative technologies and substitute safer chemicals for riskier ones through programs such as Green Chemistry, Design for the Environment, Sustainable Futures, and the High Production Volume Challenge, to name a few. OPPT also is working to integrate pollution prevention into its traditional "command and control" regulatory activities across air, water and waste regulations.
The Environmental Assistance Network was created to coordinate activities within EPA's Strategic Goal 5, Environmental Stewardship. Among EPA's five major strategic goals, EPA's environmental stewardship goal includes OPPT's cross-cutting coordination on P2 opportunities in enforcement and compliance, small business development, and P2 research and development.
- The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program celebrated its 13th year at the June 2008 awards ceremony. To date the Program has given out 67 awards – 14 awards to academic researchers, 13 awards to small businesses, and 40 awards to larger businesses and organizations.
- Design for the Environment's (DfE) Formulator Safer Product Recognition Program, as of June 2008, had approximately 80 stakeholder partners and had allowed use of DfE’s label on approximately 500 safer products, distinguishing them as having been reformulated to be environmentally safer as well as cost competitive and effective.
- Sustainable Futures and the PBT Profiler provide online software enabling chemical manufacturing companies to assess and identify safer and greener chemicals early in their design phase. Approximately 11 percent of 2007 through June 2008 New Chemical pre-manufacture notifications were independently evaluated by submitters at the research and development stage using the Sustainable Futures tools.
- EPA's Green Building Workgroup, a cross-Agency group co-led by OPPT, guides EPA's development of green building policies, programs, partnerships, communications, and operations. Administrator Steve Johnson announced April 21, 2008, that EPA will be emphasizing green building as a new strategic direction. As a key partner in this strategy, OPPT committed to leading the Agency's engagement in developing green building consensus standards, including the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System and ASTM International's sustainable building standards.
In addition, OPPT further contributed to green building in 2007 through the development and expansion of the tool, Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers, which was a winner of the "Beyond Green 2007 High Performance Building Awards" from the Sustainable Building Industry Council.
- OPPT supported the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx) by awarding approximately $800,000 in grants to eight regional pollution prevention information centers, which provide pollution prevention information, networking opportunities and other services to states, local governments and technical assistance providers in their regions.
- EPA's Partnership for Sustainable Healthcare (PSH) evolved from a previous Agency partnership program to a fully independent entity, retaining the partnership program's name Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E). The new H2E, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a sub-recipient of an EPA cooperative agreement with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS).
EPA provides technical assistance to help NCMS and the new H2E carry out the cooperative agreement in which H2E provides hands-on help and information to hospitals, in particular, to reduce mercury and other wastes, and sponsors an awards program to recognize health-care facilities as good environmental stewards.
Through the efforts of PSH, NCMS, and H2E, in 2007 through June 2008 the healthcare sector:
- Eliminated over 986,500 grams of mercury;
- Recycled over 1,811,900 tons of waste;
- Reduced nearly 373,800 tons of hazardous waste;
- Conserved 70 million gallons of water; and
- Saved more than $28.2 million.
Read more information on EPA’s Partnership for Sustainable Healthcare (PSH).
- OPPT helped create and now co-chairs the EPA Office Directors' Multimedia and Pollution Prevention Forum (M2P2). This is the principal venue within the Agency for reviewing and exchanging information among media programs on activities to promote a multi-media approach to pollution prevention (e.g., rules with significant cross-media impacts, identification of regulatory/voluntary synergies, etc.).