Pollution prevention for small businesses
Pollution Prevention (P2) 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.
Pollution prevention is accomplished by:
- modifying production processes
- promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances
- implementing energy, water, and other conservation techniques
- re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream
A business may reduce its regulatory burden and operating costs by decreasing its environmental emissions or discharges through reduced quantity or toxicity of inputs and wastes. Companies that can embrace such cost-saving technologies can have an economic advantage over competitors.
Considering pollution prevention in your operations does not have to involve exotic or costly technologies. Some of the most effective methods are simple modifications in work practices and equipment. Others require more detailed engineering or design changes, but experience has proven that pollution prevention usually pays for itself through savings in raw material purchases and waste and disposal costs.
For more information about pollution prevention for businesses, contact Angie Bourdaghs at 651-757-2176, or 800-657-3938.
Related links - P2
- Governors Awards for Pollution Prevention
- Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR)
- Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)
- Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)
- MPCA Industry Best P2 Practices
- Small Business Enterprise newsletter
- MN Waste Wise
- Illinois EPA P2 Checklist
- PIM Great Printer Environmental Initiative
Did you know?
In doing business and producing products, Minnesota industry consumes about 30% of the natural gas and 53% of the electricity used in the state.
All industrial businesses can realize cost and environmental savings from considering the many energy efficiency options available in their facility. Efficiency simply means making existing applications that use energy from any source (coal, natural gas, renewable, etc.) more efficient, or conserving energy through specific behaviors. From the more obvious lighting upgrades to the less obvious costly air compressor leaks, you can benefit from analyzing your use and making changes based on your inventory. Do this by examining your current energy usage, efficiency upgrade options, potential cost savings, and available financial incentives.
Energy efficiency is an easy way to help manage volatile energy costs while reducing overall energy costs on a monthly basis, year after year. There is a wide spectrum of strategies available, from the easy to implement options to those involving a higher initial capital investment to realize long-term savings. Energy efficiency is one way in which a business can gain a competitive edge in tough economic times.
Energy efficiency is good for the environment too. Businesses can reduce or eliminate their direct and purchased emissions through energy efficiency and conservation and the purchasing of renewable energy. This contributes to better air (and water) quality and reduces your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
Begin by assessing your energy uses and the equipment, methods, and behavior associated with the use and take steps to lower use. For the most comprehensive look at your energy use, have an energy auditor visit your facility.
Be sure to explore the many rebates available from your utility for a whole host of energy efficiency projects.
Related links - Energy efficiency
- MPCA Energy and Pollution Prevention
- MDOC Energy Info Center: Small Business
- Energy Smart
- MnTAP Energy Conservation
- Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RETAP)
- Center for Energy and Environment: One Stop Lighting Efficiency Shop
- GLRPPR: Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency (for Printers)
- ACEEE : Energy Efficiency for Manufacturing
- DOE Industrial Best Practices
- DOE Energy Efficiency
- Compressed Air Challenge
- WRRC Best Industry References: Energy Conservation
- Energy Star: Small Business
Procurement is an inevitable part of doing business. These purchases contribute significantly to the capital costs of running a business. It is good business practice to consider how your purchases impact the way you do business, and also how they impact the environment. Green purchasing involves replacing currently purchased products with environmentally-preferable alternatives. This means buying products that have a potential to reduce waste, energy use, or pollution. Often, green products save time and money by preventing waste from being created in the first place.
Green purchasing for businesses can:
- Save money by eliminating or lowering fees for waste management or hazardous material management (like special training, handling and storage), reducing time and costs for reporting, potentially receiving fewer fines or annual permit fees, and by using fewer resources (from efficiency products),
- Simplify compliance with environmental regulations,
- Reduce risk of accidents, reduce liability, and lower health and safety costs,
- Improve health of employees and communities through cleaner air and water and less hazardous wastes to handle and dispose,
- Improve marketability by branding your green efforts, and
- Demonstrate due diligence.
See the following fact sheet for more information:
Related links - Green purchasing
- MN Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Guide
- NERC Green Purchasing for Businesses
- NAGPI EPP Information for Businesses
- EPA: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
- Responsible Purchasing Network
- MnTAP 2008 Intern Presentation on EPP (Hospital)
- MnTAP Materials Exchange: Linking organizations that have reusable goods they no longer need with those that can use them.
- Green Construction, Operations and Maintenance: A green, or sustainable, building is one that is healthy and comfortable for occupants and economical to operate. These types of buildings conserve resources, toxic materials, and waste.
- Office Paper Reduction: Take steps to reduce your consumption of paper and increase efficiency at work to save time, money, and resources.
- Greening Your Fleet: Purchasing Green Vehicles; Benefit from lower gas bills by purchasing more efficient vehicles. Small Business Environmental Loan: Low-interest loans to retrofit your semi truck fleet. SmartWay (U.S. EPA) :: Exploring environmentally cleaner, more fuel efficient transportation options.
- Green Chemistry: Involves the design and redesign of chemical syntheses and chemical products to prevent pollution and thereby solve environmental problems. See case studies of EPA Green Chemistry award winners by sector to get useful ideas for your business products.
- GreenBiz: Smaller firms, which make up 98 percent of all companies in the U.S., have a key role to play in environmental stewardship. This Web page highlights ways that small companies can become more environmentally efficient, and the benefits that can come as a result of going green.
- Checklist for Greening Your Business
- Smart Steps to Sustainability: A Guide to Greening your Small Business: What does it mean to "go green"? EPA's Office of Small Business Programs offers a variety of resources, information, and ideas to help your organization reduce its environmental impacts.