Pollution Prevention (P2) Planning – Essential for Management of Green Biz
1. Introduction – Pollution prevention is defined as “use of processes, practices, materials, products, substances or energy that avoids or minimizes the creation of pollutants and waste and reduces the overall risk to the environment or human health”. Pollution prevention planning is a systematic, comprehensive method of identifying and implementing pollution prevention options to minimize or avoid the creation of pollutants or waste. The plan would also identify recycling, treatment and other measures needed to meet environmental goals.
Generally, every nation gives their Environment Ministry the authority to require the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans. To invoke these requirements, the Minister publishes notices requiring persons to prepare and implement plans for a substance or group of substances.
In fact, for an organization, Pollution Prevention (P2) Planning is a process by which it can improve their environmental protection by strategically planning to reduce or eliminate pollution before it is created. P2 is a proactive component of an environmental management approach as shown in the pollution prevention hierarchy. The hierarchy provides options and a prioritization mechanism to achieve solutions to environmental protection.
* Pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible;
* Pollution that cannot be prevented should be recycled in an environmentally safe manner whenever feasible;
* Pollution that cannot be prevented or recycled should be treated in an environmentally safe manner whenever feasible; and
* Disposal or other release into the environment should be employed only as a last resort and should be conducted in an environmentally safe manner.
2. Steps for developing a facility Pollution Prevention plan –
Step 1: Develop pollution prevention goals – The first step in preparing a facility pollution prevention plan is to develop goals. These goals will identify specific reductions and accomplishments that you envision for the facility’s pollution prevention program. Some recommended goals might include the following:
* Reductions in the release and use of toxic and extremely hazardous chemicals at your facility,
* Reductions in the release and use of other pollutants as identified by your agency’s pollution prevention strategy
* Reductions in the unnecessary purchase of toxic and hazardous chemicals
* Affirmative procurement practices to ensure the purchase of recycled content materials
* Increases in the volumes of materials captured for recycle
* Reductions in the generation of solid wastes
* Reduction in the consumption of materials, water, and power
* Reductions in the use and release of toxic chemicals to environmental justice areas where socioeconomic factors are of concern
By setting goals, you will define the nature of the pollution prevention program and direct its initial efforts toward a quantifiable objective. As you develop the facility pollution prevention plan, you may identify new goals or modify original goals.
Step 2: Obtain Management Commitment – When management is committed to pollution prevention, the development (and implementation) of the program plan proceeds more smoothly. As with any new project, obtaining management support for pollution prevention involves providing managers with the information they need to make decisions. Managers should understand the reasons for developing a pollution prevention plan, and the elements of a pollution prevention program.
To obtain upper management commitment, you have to sell the concept. To do that, you have to convince managers that a pollution prevention facility plan will help the facility mission by:
* Improving compliance with all applicable environmental requirements, regulations, and Executive Orders
* Reducing operation costs with respect to waste management and the purchase of raw materials
* Reducing the facility’s chances of creating environmental contamination that may result in environmental liabilities and large-scale cleanup requirements
* Improving the productivity of staff by providing a cleaner, healthier working environment through reduced use of toxic materials
* Increasing efficiency through innovative pollution prevention techniques identified and implemented under the pollution prevention program.
Step 3: Establish a Pollution Prevention Team – Realize that various facility staff should participate in the planning process because they will ultimately be responsible for implementing pollution prevention options. You will need assistance from staff who understand and operate different processes or missions at the facility. These staff will be invaluable in defining facility-wide characteristics and pollution prevention opportunities.
Step 4: Develop a Baseline – Developing an environmental baseline involves building a comprehensive picture of the materials usage patterns and environmental impacts associated with the facility. To develop a complete baseline, you will have to collect various information and assimilate it into a unified, multimedia description of your facility’s environmental impacts. The baseline will define materials usage patterns and the environmental problems that arise from these usage patterns. To obtain this information, you will search and review data with the operations staff who are tasked to support this effort. Specifically, each waste generating operation should have one point of contact who can provide baseline statistics that represent that operation.
Step 5: Conduct Pollution Prevention Activities and Opportunity Assessments – You are required to identify pollution prevention activities and conduct opportunity assessments as part of your pollution prevention plan. Using the baseline data, you can identify potential pollution prevention activities and opportunities. For example, the baseline may indicate that water usage is a critical issue for a facility. If water is a critical issue, what activities can be initiated to reduce usage, waste, and overall cost? For every issue documented under the baseline, the team should identify activities that will promote pollution prevention. In general, these activities will include the following:
* Additional Analysis – The baseline may indicate that a process or environmental impact is not fully understood and that more complete information or data are needed. To fully characterize the problem, the staff will have to conduct analyses, analytical measurements, or studies. Upon completion of these analyses, the staff will assess pollution prevention opportunities.
* Immediate Implementation – The baseline may provide applications of existing pollution prevention strategies, techniques, or technologies that can be implemented immediately to reduce environmental impacts. In such cases, the facility may seek to implement pollution prevention options immediately.
* Pollution Prevention Opportunity Assessments – The baseline may also show that processes may be amenable to pollution prevention options. To define the best option, the staff should conduct a thorough pollution prevention opportunity assessment
Step 6: Develop Criteria & Rank facility-wide Pollution Prevention Activities – The next step is to develop priorities and rank the activities. The following considerations are commonly used to rank such activities:
* Environmental Compliance – The project’s impact on improving the facility’s overall environmental compliance status. Special emphasis should be given on identifying and implementing pollution prevention projects that improve compliance.
* Mission Impact – The project’s potential impact on the facility’s mission and the ability of the staff to accomplish their mission.
* Environmental Benefits – The project’s environmental benefits (e.g., air emission reduction, hazardous waste minimization).
* Ease of Implementation – Complex changes that require additional staff effort may not be accepted as easily as simpler changes.
* Cost Savings – the potential cost savings associated with project implementation. Pollution prevention techniques that result in improved efficiency and cost savings are usually accepted more readily than options that result in increased costs.
Step 7: Conduct a Management Review – During management review, the pollution prevention team should present the ranked list of activities for approval. You should explain the process used to develop the list and emphasize the potential benefits of the effort. Upper management must understand the relationship between the pollution prevention program activities and their impacts on the facility mission and existing environmental programs. The end product of this review should be a coherent, integrated pollution prevention program that supplements other facility programs (e.g., safety and occupational health, environmental compliance, training, and development).
3. Basic requirements of a Pollution Prevention (P2) Plan for Industry – Industrial pollution prevention plan should include following points:
* Policy Statement – Develop a policy statement expressing management support for eliminating or reducing the generation or release of toxic chemicals (pollutants) at the facility. Use the policy to set a measurable goal that makes sense for your company and use these overarching goals to set specific reduction objectives for each chemical. Meeting these kinds of goals will directly benefit companies. Reducing chemical releases and transfers are natural outcomes of meeting these kinds of goals. For many companies, the goals of improving quality and productivity will give the greatest return.
Well-designed goals follow the SMART approach. They are specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and timed.
* Processes – Describe the current processes generating or releasing toxic chemicals (pollutants). Specify the types, sources, and quantities of toxic chemicals (pollutants) currently being generated or released by the facility.
Identify specific sources and causes of waste. Most processes can be broken down into steps then substeps. The substeps can help identify individual sources of releases, or they can be evaluated for factors that affect chemical use.
A flow chart/process flow diagram/process map can be a useful tool for describing and understanding a process. Process flow diagrams can help identify, prioritize and document waste volumes and causes, or sources of inefficiency and cost.
Inputs and outputs for individual operations or steps should be measured directly or carefully estimated. Once process steps are described as finely as possible, you should have identified process steps causing the waste, release or loss.
Next identify the specific sources of each waste or loss for the operation by analyzing its root causes.
* List Options – Write a description of the current and past practices used to eliminate or reduce the generation or release of toxic pollutants at the facility and an evaluation of the effectiveness of these practices.
* Assess Options – Assess the technically and economically feasible options available to eliminate or reduce the generation or release of toxic chemicals (pollutants) at the facility, including options such as changing the raw materials, operating techniques, equipment and technology; personnel training; and other practices used at the facility.
* Objectives and Timeline – State objectives and develop a schedule for achieving those objectives. Companies should express objectives in numeric terms wherever technically and economically feasible. Otherwise, non-numeric objectives may be stated; however, they must include a clearly stated list of actions designed to lead to establishing numeric objectives as soon as they become feasible.
* List Unfeasible Options – List options that were considered but were not technically or economically feasible.
4. Conclusion – Business and the World economy has much to gain by altering their current practices. Now, manufacturing companies are keen to promote its activities as being sustainable. Interest in pollution prevention and sustainable development has been increasing year by year. P2 planning leads to prevent hazardous and toxic wastes by changing processes, redesigning equipment, and recovering waste for reuse or recycling. Targets should be set by defining responsibilities for achieving goals and means and time frame for achieving them. Structure and responsibility defines effective roles and responsibilities and ensures that the top management provide resources including human resources, specialised skills, technology, and financial resources.