Term Paper: Pollution Prevention

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Pollution prevention has various meanings and is frequently used. Toxics use/reduction and sources reduction are the most narrow terms, being restricted to raw material or production process changes. Pollution prevention promotes a hierarchy that favors source reduction, but also promotes other minimization techniques or treatment where production changes are infeasible. Explain why the best approach is one that cost-effectively reduces waste, minimizes worker exposure to toxic materials, optimizes use materials, improves a product's competitiveness in local and world markets, and enhances a company's image of responsibility to the community.

"Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines for Waste Management Facilities" published by the International Finance Corporation states that these guidelines "contain the performance levels and measures that are generally considered to be achievable in new facilities by existing technology at reasonable costs." (Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines, 2007) the guidelines "should be tailored to the hazard and risks established for each project on the basis of the results of an environmental assessment in which site-specific variables, such as host country context, assimilative capacity of the environment and other project factors are taken into account." (Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines, 2007)

The work entitled: "Sustainable Development and Society" published by the GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy (2004) states that the most economical choices "are those that have the lowest life cycle cost in order to make those choices..." (GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy, 2004) the complete Sustainable Development model is stated to consider "the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmental quality and social equity is a useful framework for informing the business decisions we all must make." (GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy, 2004) the first two factors of the "sustainable development triad, economic concerns and environmental stewardship are well understood and being applied effectively today - particularly in the area of facilities design and construction." However there is a need for a greater comprehension of the third factor which is that of 'social equity'. Social equity is stated to be a "broad topic that includes both individual and corporate responsibility.

I. The RESOURCE CONSERVATION and RECOVERY ACT (RCRA)

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is a federal environmental law that regulates solid and hazardous wastes from generation through disposal. Hazardous wastes are divided into to categories: (1) listed and (2) characteristic. Characteristic Hazardous wastes are stated to exhibit "one or more of the four hazardous characteristics" which are those of: (1) ignitability; (2) corrosivity; (3) reactivity and (4) toxicity. (Ohio EPA, nd) Listed hazardous wastes are stated to be listed specifically by name or process in the hazardous waste regulations." Pollution prevention is stated to use "source reduction and environmentally sound recycling to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste and other pollution at the source. Pollution prevention, also termed P2 is stated to include "good operating practices, material substitutions, process changes and recycling." (Ohio EPA, nd) P2 further addresses "all waste streams" including solid and hazardous waste, air and water." (Ohio EPA, nd)

II. CASE STUDY in WASTE REDUCTION

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the eight states in EPA's Region IV are stated to have joined in funding a waste reduction assistance project which included the industries as follows:

2281 Carpet Yarn Spinning

2295 Fabric Coating

2434 Wood Kitchen Cabinets

2721 Magazine Printing

2752 Offset Printing

2771 Greeting Cards

2893 Printing Ink Manufacturer

3011 Trailer and Industrial Tires

3052 Hydraulic Industrial Hose

3069 Rubber Molded Products (Car Floor Mats)

3069 Rubber Weather Strips

3295 Fused Magnesite Ore

3429 Automotive Locks

3451 Screw Machine Products

3465 Automotive Suspension Systems

3471 Electroplater

3479 Hot Dip Galvanizing Service

3499 Metal Cabinet Manufacturer

3535 Conveyor Systems

3546 Bench Top Power Tools

3651 Speaker Enclosures

3728 Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment

3728 Aircraft Assemblies and Sub-Assemblies

3732 Boat, Bus and Truck Seats

3751 Bicycle Seats

3823 Electric Power Generator

4911 Electric Power Distribution - Urban (Transport and Service

4911 Electric Power Distribution - Rural (Vehicle Maintenance and Service Shops)

7699 Aircraft Repair

8062 General Medical and Mental Hospital

8744 Airbase Support Service

In the case of each of these industries waste streams were identified and a stated total of the reduction of 950 tons of hazardous waste and 600 tons of nonhazardous solid waste as well as 680.000 gallons of wastewater are reported. One case study extracted from this report is that of the industry of 'Fabric Coating' which is a manufacturer of vinyl and polyurethane coated fabrics that are used in boot liners, show uppers and insulating jackets and cap material. It is stated in the report that in 1989 "this company's use of 4,200 gallons of VOC solvents contributed to 30,000 pounds of VOC emissions, including wash solvents." The replacement of solvent materials with a "water-based material with the following product line potential percentages was suggested:

Vinyl Coating

Printed Top Coat

Vertical Cans

The result is stated to achieve a significant reduction in VOC emissions. Suggested as well was a replacement of the solvent type ink with water-based ink which would "generate cost savings of $35,000" per year with the solvent changes alone saving the amount of $29,000 annually. The results was substitution of solvent coating with a water-based coating and 'plastic sol' stated to be a material which is used to make vinyl and which can be recycled in the process" substituted for solvent for cleaning pumps. VOC emissions were reduced annually by 206,000 pounds and Hazardous material disposal costs experienced at $7,000 reduction annually. Solid waste reductions were by 31,000 pounds annually with raw material costs savings totally $13,000 annually.

III. LIFE-CYCLE ANALYSIS (LCA)

The work of Gregory a. Norris entitled: "Socio-Economic Impacts in Product and Building Life Cycles: Broadening from Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to Sustainable LCA" states that the "Life Cycle Development" has many applications: it an associate development impacts with ecolabeling, including relating trade barriers to sustainable consumption and production; and integrate with today's methods and databases for life cycle assessment." (2004) Norris states that the "product policy and extended product responsibility" resulted in LCA shifting from being very little known to "become an internationally standardized analytical tool in support of environmental management." (2004) Life-cycle Analysis (LCA) is presently utilized by thousands of corporations, governments and consumer and environmental groups in explaining the "cradle-to-grave' environmental consequences of product-related decisions." (Norris, 2004)

Norris explains that the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Joannesburg in 2002 had as one outcomes the "Plan of Implementation for Changing Unsustainable Patterns of Consumption and Production" which had the key elements of 'improving the products and services provided" while at the same time having a reduction of "environmental and health impacts" and further using "appropriate science-based approaches, such as life-cycle analysis..." (Norris, 2004) Therefore, LCA develop in the beginning for the purpose of informing "environmental policies at the dawn of modern environmentalism." Reiterated in Norris' work are the three pillars of sustainable development: (1) economic growth; (2) ecological balance; and (3) social progress. (Norris, 2004)

Life-cycle analysis is a tool that can be used for estimating "the development-based health impacts of product life cycles, along with the pollution-based impacts." (Norris, 2004) This method of analysis "...takes into account differences in expected impact based on the national location of the economic activity, the same table of factors could be integrated into LCIA methods from all regions of the world. The new modeling capability called for by this method would be the ability of users to easily "tag" processes within supply chain models as being located in a given region or country. LCA modelers often combine new primary LCI data with links to existing databases. A user might gather information about the location of 3rd tier suppliers, without gathering detailed process inventory data for these suppliers. They would then use existing process data for these suppliers, but would want to modify the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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