Category Archives: Pollution prevention

3 magic words to mute ‘sustainababble’

The latest P2 Impact column is now available at John Mulrow of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center explains how three magic words can mute “sustainababble” and clarify the progress that organizations are making to become more sustainable.

Read previous P2 Impact columns at


Levi Strauss wrings water out of jeans production

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

The iconic blue jeans company is testing systems for capturing and reusing water in denim manufacturing plants, part of a larger effort to reduce its environmental impact.


ISTC releases five new case studies

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center recently published five new case studies. They are:

Governor’s Sustainability Award Case Studies

E3 Case Study

Zero Waste Case Studies

Browse the ISTC’s complete case study collection and other publications on the website and in the ISTC community on IDEALS, the University of Illinois’ institutional repository.


Current Landscape of Alternatives Assessment Practice: A Meta-Review

Download the document.

As interest in the substitution of harmful chemicals continues to grow in industry, NGOs and the public sector, organizations are seeking guidance on the selection of appropriate methods and tools. OECD is responding to this need. The OECD’s 49th Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides, and Biotechnology established an Ad Hoc Group on Substitution of Harmful Chemicals with the goal of furthering tools and approaches to support decision making for the substitution of chemicals of concern. As part of its work, the Joint Meeting requested that the Ad Hoc Group build on existing work to develop a toolbox to support the evaluation of alternatives when safer substitutes to chemicals of concern are sought.

This report is the first output from this work stream. It summarizes the literature on substitution of chemicals of concern (or alternatives assessment, which is the term in use in Northern America), with a focus on the current landscape of substitution practice in OECD member countries. It discusses definitions, principles, frameworks and tools for alternatives assessments, as well as the key drivers and audiences, and it identifies the contribution that OECD can make in this space.


ISTC now accepting applications for the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is now accepting applications for the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards.

This award, begun in 1987, is the nation’s oldest continuing pollution prevention program and annually honors organizations and businesses that have made a commitment to the environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices.

The application deadline is close of business on May 22, 2014.


How Clever Companies Are Using Circular Thinking To Get Ahead

Read the full story in Fast Company.

If you needed a clear signal that circular economy thinking has moved fully into the business mainstream from its origins in CSR, you need look no further than the annual meeting of the world’s top decision makers in Davos this past February. In advance of the gathering, the World Economic Forum announced it is launching the search to find value in “100 million tonnes of material waste, with the potential to create 100,000 jobs” center stage of its proceedings.

Early last year, we took a hard-nosed look at the concept of zero-waste thinking and argued that there were five distinct business models enabling profit making companies to harness zero-waste principles in practice. This year, after analyzing how more than 100 companies are faring when it comes to putting theory into practice, we can report that we’ve found another business model and also discovered more about what motivates companies to adapt to a circular business model.

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Green business, Zero waste


What carpet companies can teach us about a circular economy

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The World Economic Forum recently released the report “Towards the Circular Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains,” prepared in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Co. Looking from across the world, it seems as though the foundation, with the backing of the WEF, really could make a difference in tackling the issue of limited natural resources and creating systems to retrieve these resources. There’s no doubt that with the right players, these systems can be created.

When considering a circular economy, we should take a closer look at carpet companies, such as Shaw and Desso. Desso CEO Alexander Collot d’Escury attended Davos to support the concept. He appropriately noted that his own company has created systems to take back its carpet and reuse, sell or recycle its yarns. Other carpet companies have done the same, including Georgia-based Shaw Industries. Both companies have recognized they could save money, reduce carbon emissions and bring added value to their customers by getting back used carpet. So when the foundation and the team at Davos discuss creating a circular economy, they need look no further than these big carpet companies that already have figured it out.

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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Green business, Textiles, Zero waste


5 ways EHS professionals can solve pollution challenges

In the latest P2 Impact column, Thomas Vinson of the Zero Waste Network advises environmental health and safety managers about ways that they can show the value of pollution prevention to employees in “core” business areas. Read all of the columns in the series at


2014 Partners for Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show: Call for Presentations

The Indiana Partners for Pollution Prevention invite submission of proposed presentations for the 17th Annual Pollution Prevention Conference and Trade Show to be held on September 17, 2014 at The Palms [Banquet & Conference Center] in Plainfield, Indiana. Organizations that typically attend the annual conference include manufacturers, consultants, not-for-profits, and government agencies interested in promoting pollution prevention efforts in Indiana and beyond.

The Partners for Pollution Prevention Executive Committee is seeking presentations from local and national speakers regarding pollution prevention, resource conservation, sustainability, wastewater management, pollution prevention success stories, and environmental stewardship. The committee is particularly interested in presentations that highlight specific success stories and/or outline methods and strategies that conference attendees can take back to their organizations for potential implementation. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for Wastewater Operator/Apprentice, Drinking Water Operator, Continuing Legal Education, and Professional Engineers will be sought.

The Conference Planning Committee reserves the right to accept or reject proposals. Submission of a proposal does not guarantee participation in the conference program. All submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on March 14, 2014. See instructions below for submitting proposals. If you have any questions, please contact the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at or (317)234-8319 or Steve Leeper at or (765) 477-4302.

Selection Criteria

Session proposals will be reviewed by the Executive Committee for content, presenter’s experience, session description, and how well they meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate well-defined topics with focused objectives.
  • Introduce innovative programs and services that organizations can implement.
  • Inspire and motivate attendees to make positive pollution prevention improvements in their organizations.
  • Share case studies, new technologies, and best management practices for pollution prevention.
  • Demonstrate how pollution prevention focused programs, processes, and/or practices improve human health and the environment.

Please note the following definition of pollution prevention. Presentations that focus solely on recycling will not be considered.

Pollution prevention (P2) means working at the source of pollutants to prevent them from being generated or to reduce the amount generated. It is using materials and energy more efficiently, and conserving natural resources, including water. It is following best management practices, and involving all employees in their implementation, to reduce and prevent pollution. Finally, P2 means also seeing the financial benefits of increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water or other resources.

Instructions for Submitting Proposals

You may submit more than one presentation idea. Please respond to the following questions (for each presentation idea) and submit via email ( or U.S. Mail to the address below. All submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on March 14, 2014.

Steve Leeper
Evonik Industries AG Tippecanoe Laboratories
Mail Stop TL72
1650 Lilly Road
Lafayette, IN  47909-9201

Presenter(s) (If more than one presenter, please include all of the requested information for each speaker.)








Biography (limit 125 words):

1.  Presentation Title:

2.  Abstract Please provide a brief description of your proposed session. The description will be printed in the conference materials and included on the conference web site. (Limit 75 words)

3.  Audience – Please describe the intended target audience of the session.

4.  Learning Objectives – Provide three objectives that identify knowledge and skills that attendees will obtain by attending your session.

5.  Has this presentation been given previously?  If so, please identify when and where.

6.  Audio Visual Needs – Microphones, screens, projectors, and laptop computers will be provided. Please list any additional needs that you may have.

Examples of potential topics for conference presentations (not all inclusive)

  • Strategies for improving management support for environmental projects, based on lifecycle cost analysis, environmental benefits, customer related benefits, etc.
  • Effective and efficient fleet management
  • How to implement water saving projects
  • Vendor and contractor pollution prevention requirements
  • New P2 technology
  • How does P2 fit into sustainability efforts?
  • Environmental Management Systems and P2
  • P2 success stories and case studies
  • Energy efficiency
  • Including P2 in your training programs
  • Zero Waste Landfill
  • Global Harmonization Systems (GHS)

William McDonough: 6 ways to move beyond zero-waste

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

“Why make something you can’t sell?”

This is the question William McDonough posited about waste during the 2014 Executive Sustainability Forum webcast, hosted on GreenBiz and presented Jan. 30 by Waste Management.

Traditionally, businesses have strived to reduce or eliminate the waste they produce. But McDonough, influential designer, architect, entrepreneuer and co-author of “Cradle to Cradle” and “The Upcycle,” thinks this is missing the point. Zero waste is “like going nowhere,” he said. Instead, the focus should be a “cycle of endless resourcefulness.”

Waste Management — which has partnered with McDonough to push for significant environmental aims — has shown how this principle can produce results. It recently worked with a Toyota plant in San Antonio, for instance, to turn waste produced at the plant into clean-burning fuel, which was then provided to another customer. In this way, the waste wasn’t just reduced or eliminated, but actively reused.

Moving beyond zero waste requires a wholesale rethinking on what waste is and how it should be addressed. To help with the transition, McDonough provided these insights.

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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Green business, Zero waste


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