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2004 EPA Region 7 Pollution Prevention Awards for Environmental Excellence

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act in 1990, starting a new era of voluntary environmental programs. This legislation challenged EPA to promote prevention of pollution before it is created, rather than controlling, treating or disposing of it. In the long run, the environmental improvements from community- and industry-based pollution prevention efforts will surpass those from our regulatory and enforcement efforts.

Environmental protection and economic progress can be complementary and not competing goals that drive us to a sustainable society. Pollution prevention pays and, increasingly, our nation is coming to understand prevention's value as a critical environmental strategy, a sustainable business practice, and a fundamental principle for all our society.

The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 authorized an awards program to encourage implementation of pollution prevention projects. EPA Region 7 has held a Pollution Prevention (P2) Awards Program every year since the mid-1990s.

We want to share what the 2004 award winners have voluntarily undertaken to reduce their impact on the environment. Please take the time to note what these businesses and industries have done to improve our environment.

Anheuser-Busch, Inc., St. Louis Brewery

Anheuser-Busch, Inc., St. Louis Brewery
Construction of a Unitank Cellar

In 2003, Anheuser-Busch/St. Louis constructed and started up a new $52-million stockhouse containing 12 unitank fermenters.

The Stockhouse 20 design had pollution prevention built in from the beginning. The new process allows for primary and secondary fermentation in the same tank, which reduces tank cleaning requirements, water usage and energy usage, and increases carbon dioxide collection efficiency.

The new unitank reduces the energy needed to heat the steam and hot water used to sterilize the beechwood chips. The estimated steam reduction is 550 million BTUs per year. Less transfers from tank to tank and process to process. This means less process loss, resulting in a more efficient use of resources and less wastewater generated. The new process also eliminates the cleaning of 122 chip tanks, saving an estimated 12.4 million gallons of water per year. This also reduces wastewater by 2.78 million gallons per year. The brewery collects the carbon dioxide generated and reuses this gas for packaging. Unitank collection of carbon dioxide reduces the release of an estimated 617 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Ball Metal Beverage Container Corporation

Ball Metal Beverage Container Corporation
Environmental Management System

In 2003, the Ball Kansas City plant developed and implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS) for their facility. As a result of the EMS, the plant identified a variety of opportunities to improve their environmental performance and reduce environmental impacts and costs.

The EMS showed that the facility could remove significant amounts of materials from outside storage and eliminate the requirement for a storm water permit. This resulted in cost savings for the facility.

The EMS showed that 9.6 million pounds of material could be diverted from landfill disposal through reuse or recycling. This saved the company $75,000 in 2003 in landfill tipping fees alone.

The EMS continues to identify opportunities to reduce expenses, enhance revenues, and improve environmental performance, worker safety, and corporate public image.

The Community Mercantile

The Community Mercantile
Energy Efficient Improvements

It is only "natural" that the Community Mercantile, a natural foods cooperative grocery store, is dedicated to pollution prevention efforts. Their journey to energy efficiency includes activities that each of us can do in our home or business to reduce waste generation, conserve natural resources, and save money. Rather than build (or demolish and rebuild), they moved into an old grocery store building and made substantial upgrades. They wanted a more energy-efficient operation.

- They installed compact fluorescent lamps that use 25 percent of the electricity of incandescent lighting.
- Where possible, they went to Energy Star-rated lighting and occupancy sensors to control the lighting.
- The "Merc" applied a "white roof" coating that reflects solar energy in the summer months.
- Double-paned, high-performance windows at the store front reduce heating and cooling costs.
- "Air doors" provide a curtain of air just inside each door to keep heated or cooled air in and outside air out.
- Ceiling fans circulate and draw the air, reducing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) load.
- Low-flush toilets help conserve water.
- Exit signs use light emitting diodes (LEDs), consuming only four watts of electricity and lasting 30 years.
- They installed case covers for the open coolers to help "keep the cool in."

The light fixture changes alone save over 300 tons of coal each year. Looking at that in terms of air quality standards, they are preventing the generation of 386,000 pounds of "greenhouse" carbon dioxide, 3,200 pounds of sulfur dioxide (a leading cause of acid rain), and 1,500 pounds of nitrogen oxide, a key ingredient in ground-level ozone (smog).

Davenport Community School District in partnership with the Trane Company
Energy Construction / Awareness Program

The Davenport Community School District is an energy conservation leader. It's Iowa's third largest district with 17,000 students and 2,100 employees. Their energy conservation program involves employee behavior modification and increasing energy efficiencies.

Davenport's hallmark is energy efficiency. They sought savings through audits and staff suggestions, as well as incorporating energy tips/suggestions in weekly communication materials and classroom instruction. They've made the following improvements:

- All buildings have energy-efficient lighting.
- All vending machines (more than 100) have "energy misers."
- New equipment purchases must meet Energy Star specifications.
- Lighting, water coolers, and room unit ventilators use occupancy sensors.

These measures reduced electrical consumption by 1.7 million kilowatt hours.

A computerized energy management system sets parameters for time of day, occupancy, ventilation scheduling, and start-up. These are staggered to help limit Davenport's electricity demand. Davenport maximized efficiency options on HVAC equipment through geothermal, passive solar, heat recovery, boiler efficiency, and variable air volume controls. Finally, the district established and enforces a "no idle" rule for all buses and district vehicles.

These changes resulted in total energy reductions of more than 25 billion BTUs and a cost savings of $195,000.

General Electric-Burlington

General Electric-Burlington
P2 Program

In 2002, General Electric's Burlington plant became very committed to waste reduction and pollution prevention. Through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' P2 intern program and other employee pollution prevention teams, GE identified many pollution prevention projects.

GE is in the middle of a two-year conversion from an electro-coat primer containing lead to a non-leaded electro-coat primer. This is reducing employee exposure to lead and removes lead from the GE waste streams. Since non-leaded primer contains less glycol ethers, GE has reduced hazardous air pollutant emissions from this process by 1,740 pounds.

GE implemented a process to recover silver from silver-plating rinse waters. At the same time, they developed a process to destroy cyanide in wastewater. In the past, wastewater containing cyanide was sent off-site for cyanide destruction, silver reclamation, and disposal. This new process has recovered a total of 280 pounds of silver and reduced the cyanide waste for off-site disposal by 5,000 gallons annually.

In 2003, GE purchased a maintenance shop parts washer that uses microorganisms to consume oil in the liquid waste, so the treated contents can be discharged to the sanitary sewer. This parts washer replaced equipment that contained solvents, allowing a waste solvent reduction of 1,000 gallons annually and reducing the emission of volatile organic vapors.

In August 2002, GE began using a container recycling company that takes cleaned and empty fiber containers and large totes for resale. The company also takes other types of containers (steel and plastic drums, for example) for shredding or crushing and recycling. Currently, 90 to 95 percent of all used containers from GE are either reused or recycled. This effort has diverted 2.5 tons of waste from the landfill annually.

GE obtained a solvent reclamation unit to reclaim waste solvents generated from wipe-down and painting processes. Use of this unit has reduced the annual solvent purchases by approximately 40 percent and reduced the solvent waste stream for off-site hazardous waste disposal by 3.5 tons annually.


Habitat ReStore-Kansas City in Partnership with State Street

Habitat ReStore-Kansas City in Partnership with State Street Bank
Surplus and Salvaged Building Materials

Habitat ReStore accepts contributions of building materials and hand-dismantles residential structures, making the salvaged materials available for sale to the public and using that money to support the construction of houses by Habitat for Humanity. This has the added benefit of diverting salvaged construction materials from the waste stream and keeping them out of our landfills.

Through Habitat ReStore's Deconstruction Services, 60 to 70 percent of materials from buildings slated for demolition or remodeling can be salvaged and returned to useful purposes, rather than discarded into landfills.

Hand-dismantling a building is an environmentally friendly method of demolition that reduces noise pollution, air contamination, and soil compaction while salvaging good useable materials, in addition to creating jobs with livable wages and benefits.

From 2000 through the first quarter of 2004, Habitat ReStore has diverted 2,475 tons of construction materials from the waste stream into ReStore inventory and back into our community as improvements to neighborhood homes.

These figures represent over $1,314,000 in gross sales, with the net contributed to Habitat For Humanity to provide quality housing for low-income families in Kansas City.

HNI Corporation, Allsteel and The Hon Company
Lean Manufacturing and Integrated EMS

HNI has combined lean manufacturing ("Rapid and Continuous Improvement") with environmental management systems to create a competitive and leading manufacturing operation. HNI is the third largest manufacturer of office furniture in North America. It's subsidiary companies include Allsteel, Gunlocke Company, Maxon Inc., HON Company, and Hearth and Home Technologies.

HNI defines waste as "anything that fails to add value to the product." HNI trains employees to identify and eliminate waste in all its forms from every task in the business. They have developed a rotating program to ensure continuous improvement efforts, with self-audit protocols, management accountability, and Intranet support. For them, pollution prevention and waste minimization are regular daily efforts.

When California issued a "green specification for office furniture," some industry specialists said there was no capability to meet it. Allsteel Inc. explored and measured their current efforts, discovering that they met the state's rigorous specifications with off-the-shelf product. Allsteel President Stan Askren kept pushing employees in their environmental awareness to be "change agents who would pull 'green' through the supply chain."

HNI shared three pollution prevention stories. First, Allsteel achieved a 79-percent reduction in freight miles (and resulting vehicle emissions) by using their internal fleet to pick up raw material after the trucks delivered finished product. Incoming raw material deliveries went from 79 loads to just 16 loads per week. Second, HNI companies discovered that construction and demolition debris could serve as a viable feedstock. Approximately 5,000 tons of post-consumer wood waste is turned into product annually. That prevents one semi-trailer load from going to a landfill each day. Lastly, HNI reformulated coatings and reduced volatile organic chemical emissions by 58 percent, reduced hazardous waste generation by 70 percent, and lowered painting costs by 10 percent, while increasing production capacity by 20 percent.

S.A. Flick Seed Company

S.A. Flick Seed Company
Conversion of Waste Biomass into Renewable Fuel Pellets

S.A. Flick Seed Company grows, processes, and markets grass and other seeds. Along with other Missouri seed growers, Flick Seed is forming the Missouri BioEnergy Producer Group to convert waste biomass from seed processing into fuel pellets for residential home heating.

S.A. Flick Seed Company produces 300,000 pounds of seed waste per year from their seed processing facility. This seed waste is combined with office waste paper and pelletized to produce an alternative energy fuel pellet with a BTU value equal to coal.

Approximately 25 to 30 million pounds of seed tailings is produced annually from Missouri farmers. Currently, the only alternatives for this waste are landfilling or land application. However, neither alternative is desirable. Landfilling is a costly option, with an estimated two million dollars spent annually in Missouri landfill costs associated with seed waste. Land application brings noxious weeds to the farming enterprise.

The environmental benefits of replacing coal with seed tailings are substantial. Since seed tailings have an energy content comparable to coal, every pound of seed tailings that is used for energy replaces approximately the same mass of coal.

This innovative project reduces the amount of material going into the waste stream while producing an alternative source of energy.

Sellers - Sexton, Inc.<br />Environmental Management System Implementation

Sellers - Sexton, Inc.
Environmental Management System Implementation

Sellers-Sexton gives car dealers a great name! They are the first auto dealership in the United States to receive certification for an environmental management system (EMS). Larry Sexton, a car dealer in St. Robert, Missouri, had been looking for ways to incorporate environmental concerns into his dealership's operations, sales, service, parts inventory, and office activities. He heard of a Canadian dealership getting EMS certification and set that same goal for his business.

Sellers-Sexton teamed with Oxegen, Inc. to identify key issues and practices that could have negative environmental impacts. The team scripted procedures and processes that would ensure protective environmental practices. The team then trained all employees on this new environmental management system, raising environmental awareness and responsibility.

Some of the physical changes at the dealership included battery containment, used parts bins, containment walls for used oil storage tanks, and a recycling shed for paper, cardboard, fluorescent lamps, aluminum, and used tires. Waste oil is burned in used oil furnaces to heat the repair and detail shops. They also placed spill kits in the service department.

They went outside their business to stimulate community stewardship. Sellers-Sexton employees adopted a -mile section of Missouri Avenue in the Adopt-a-Highway program. They sponsor a Missouri Stream Team that cleans up local streams and a six-mile stretch of the Big Piney River. Seller-Sexton also sponsored an environmental awareness and poster contest at Fort Wood's Pershing Elementary School.

Target Corporation, Minneapolis, MN, Region 7 Store

Target Corporation, Minneapolis, MN, Region 7 Stores
Target Stores Waste Reduction Efforts

Target Corp. has 69 Stores in Region 7 that are involved in the company-mandated program of waste reduction and pollution prevention. Target has implemented innovations such as:

- A national program of waste reduction
- A program to virtually eliminate excess packaging on clothing lines, working with other vendors to minimize packaging
- Using recycled-content paper for its printing operations
- Offering products made from recycled content
- Conducting annual self-assessments of environmental operations and publishing the results

Target has a Stewardship Focus Group dedicated to reducing waste generated in new store construction and existing store remodeling. The program has diverted 1,174,000 pounds of cardboard from the waste stream. Additionally, they have diverted 1,584,000 pounds of steel from the waste stream through metal recycling.

The Target salvage program keeps returned or damaged merchandise and excess new clearance merchandise out of landfills by selling it to local Goodwills and other non-profits at a greatly reduced rate. The salvage program has diverted 93 million pounds of unsaleable merchandise from the waste stream in 2004.

A company-wide program of food donation has been undertaken to reduce food waste and donate this food to people in need. Target donated over 1,328,000 pounds of food through the Second Harvest Food Network in 2004, diverting it from the waste stream.

Target stores in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska recycle a large quantity of waste materials through these waste reduction and pollution prevention programs. In 2003, the 69 stores in EPA Region 7 recycled 16,591 tons of corrugated cardboard and took part in company-wide programs that recycled over 400,000 tons of materials nationwide.

UBF Foodsolutions

UBF Foodsolutions
Environmental Management System

UBF, a premier food products blending company, traces the origins of their environmental success to their current owner, Unilever. Under this new ownership, environmental and safety coordinators were established at each plant, which heralded significant program changes including environmental management systems. UBF describes the changes as a "culture shift, as old paradigms are broken and new initiatives are rolled out." Clearly, the "old dog" is not only learning new tricks, but also realizing annual savings of about $80,000.

UBF reevaluated their waste streams. They found safer alternatives to chlorinated solvents - simple soap, water and elbow grease (saving $1,500 annually). They started recycling 10,000 poly super sacks (saving 100,000 pounds of trash annually). Cardboard and wood pallets went from disposal cost to recycling revenue (new revenue of $45,000). Additional savings came from hazardous waste evaluation and facility classification.

Fumigation is a norm for pest control. In addition to the expense, it poses safety and environmental risks. UBF adopted an Integrated Pest Management approach to pest control. Glueboards, light traps, pheromone devices, and localized treatment have substantially improved pesticide management.

They've been clear in their emphasis that strong support from and accountability to Unilever have helped them be a more successful business. They continue to build individual management goals in an effort to improve annual plant initiatives and goals. They state simply that their pollution prevention efforts "have not only helped our business, but we are getting more environmentally friendly."

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