Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention (P2) is a term used to describe a series of techniques that are used to reduce the amount of pollution generated. In contrast to most pollution control strategies, which seek to manage a pollutant and reduce its impact upon the environment, the pollution prevention approach seeks to increase the efficiency of a process, thereby reducing the amount of pollution generated. Although there is wide agreement that source reduction is the preferred strategy, some professionals also use the term pollution prevention to include recycling or reuse.

As an environmental management strategy, pollution prevention shares many attributes with cleaner production, a term used more commonly outside the United States. Pollution prevention encompasses more specialized sub-disciplines including green chemistry and green design (also known as environmentally conscious design).

Legislation

The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 was passed to encourage pollution prevention in the United States. Since then several states have adopted pollution prevention legislation[1].

The PPA establishes a pollution prevention hierarchy:
  1. Source Reduction – waste (hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminants) should be prevented at the source (i.e. prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal)
  2. Recycling – waste generated should be reused either in the process that created it or in another process
  3. Treatment – waste that cannot be recycled should be treated to reduce its hazard
  4. Disposal – waste that is not treated should be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.


Some consider that incineration is a form of recycling (converting waste to energy), others a form of treatment (converting a hazardous substance to carbon dioxide, water, and ash).

Advantages

One advantage of pollution prevention is that it often leads to profitability. Manufacturing facilities may use pollution prevention to more efficiently produce an item. Pollution prevention can reduce use of energy, water and other raw materials, saving a company money. It is therefore considered a win-win situation.

Implemention

Pollution prevention implementation can be challenging and often involves a team approach. The most successful companies usually follow a pollution prevention planning process[2]. This process may include analysis of the waste, its source, brainstorming for ideas from employees, total cost accounting and other tools for identifying options for reducing pollution.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has a number of P2 programs that can assist individuals and organizations to implement P2[3].

See also

References

1. ^ [1] The EPA's Polution Prevention Act
2. ^ [2] Zero Waste Network
3. ^ [3] Environmental Protection Agency site

External links

Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy such as noise, heat, or light) into the environment to such a point that its effects become harmful to human health, other living organisms, or the environment.
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Cleaner production is a preventive, company-specific environmental protection initiative. It is intendend to minimize waste and emissions and maximize product output.[1]
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Green chemistry is a chemical philosophy encouraging the design of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Whereas environmental chemistry is the chemistry of the natural environment, and of pollutant chemicals in nature,
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Sustainable design (also referred to as "green design", "eco-design", or "design for environment") is the art of designing physical objects to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability.
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Recycling is the reprocessing of materials into new products. Recycling generally prevents the waste of potentially useful materials, reduces the consumption of raw materials and reduces energy usage, and hence greenhouse gas emissions, compared to virgin production.
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Environmental Protection Agency
EPA

Environmental Protection Agency logo

Agency overview
Formed December 2, 1970

Employees 17,964 (2005) [1]
Annual Budget $7.
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Environmentalism is a concern for the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment, such as the conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and certain land use actions.
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worldwide view.


Energy conservation is the practice of decreasing the quantity of energy used while achieving a similar outcome. This practice may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national security, personal security, and human
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Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy such as noise, heat, or light) into the environment to such a point that its effects become harmful to human health, other living organisms, or the environment.
..... Click the link for more information.
Recycling is the reprocessing of materials into new products. Recycling generally prevents the waste of potentially useful materials, reduces the consumption of raw materials and reduces energy usage, and hence greenhouse gas emissions, compared to virgin production.
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Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal of waste materials, usually ones produced by human activity, in an effort to reduce their effect on human health or local aesthetics or amenity.
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Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a strategy designed to promote the integration of environmental costs associated with products throughout their life cycles into the market price of the products (OECD 1999).
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