Pollution Prevention (P2)
Pollution Prevention (P2) is defined in the Minnesota Toxic Pollution Prevention Act (Minn. Stat. 115D). It is a “front-end” method to decrease costs, risks, and environmental concerns. In contrast to managing pollution after it is created, P2 reduces or eliminates waste at its source. Once practices are in place, savings from P2 continue year after year.
P2 is a multimedia approach to solve environmental problems - it does not focus on pollution in a single, isolated medium such as air, water, or land. Well-intentioned pollution control and management solutions sometimes remove pollutants from one medium only to transfer them, and their liabilities, to another.
P2 approaches work most effectively when products and manufacturing processes are designed to minimize waste and pollution using green chemistry and design principles. Additionally, existing processes can also often be made more resource and energy-efficient, producing significant savings for manufacturers as well.
Pollution prevention may involve manufacturers taking steps such as product reformulation to eliminate or use less of a toxic chemical, or perhaps replacing a cleaning solvent with a safer alternative. It may also consist of activities like worker training to reduce overspray in coating operations or establishing or improving housekeeping and maintenance schedules to reduce spills and leaks. Several examples of pollution prevention steps are presented in this case study for Sunrise Fiberglass.
Pollution prevention does not include steps such as installing or upgrading filters or other equipment that capture, treat or otherwise manage wastes but do not prevent their generation during the actual process of manufacturing a product. It also does not include steps to remediate polluted land or water resources.
If you have a specific question about pollution prevention options or practices, send it in an email to email@example.com. Our P2 staff will respond with an answer or a referral as appropriate.
Explore Best Management Practices that touch a wide variety of industrial sectors or that fit a particular industrial sector.
Choose a topic
- Small Business Environmental Assistance Program – Compliance Assistance and Going Beyond Regulation
- Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program – HVAC and Lighting Assistance
- Zero Waste P2 Options – P2 Best Management Practices
- Great Lakes Regional P2 Roundtable – P2 publications and expert contacts
- P2 Resource Exchange - P2 Topic Hub
- P2 Infohouse – P2 publications, factsheets, case studies, and technical reports
Choose technical assistance for a particular industry process
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) provides direct technical assistance for P2. They are located at the University of Minnesota and their services are free, confidential, and non-regulatory.
MnTAP specialties include:
- Automotive / Vehicle Maintenance
- Dry Cleaning
- Ethanol Production
- Fiberglass Product Manufacturing Processes
- Food Production
- Healthcare Facilities
- Iron Mines
- Machining and Metal Fabrication
- Metal Casting
- Painting, Coating, and Wood-finishing
- Pulp and Paper Mills
MnTAP training broadcasts:
MnTAP has developed webcasts that highlight pollution prevention and cost-saving opportunities for common manufacturing processes such as parts cleaning and painting and coating and for industrial sectors such as metal fabrication and metal casting. MnTAP also sponsors several summer intern projects working with manufacturers to identify P2 opportunities. View this webcast for examples of 2010 intern projects.