Pollution Prevention for Businesses
Pollution prevention (P2) is any activity—including the use of materials, processes, or practices—that reduces or eliminates the creation of pollutants or waste at the source. Instead of trying to manage the wastes or pollutants through treatment or disposal methods, P2 aims to prevent the initial generation or reduce the toxicity of wastes and pollutants such as hazardous waste, air pollutants, solid waste, wastewater, etc. P2 also includes any activity that reduces the toxicity of materials purchased or reduces the consumption of resources such as raw materials, water, energy, or fuel.
P2 Pays! Benefits of Pollution Prevention
- Increased Productivity. P2 can improve productivity by increasing the efficient use of raw materials, water, energy, or fuel and eliminating inefficient processes that generate waste or pollutants. P2 can also include simple low or no-cost improvements such as scheduling routine maintenance, which can reduce the loss of raw materials through leaks and spills. Many simple, low or no-cost improvements can result in increased product yield and better quality.
- Safer Conditions for Workers. By reducing or eliminating the use of toxics, businesses can improve the safety of the work environment. The reduced likelihood of leaks, spills, and releases results in lower worker, visitor, and contractor exposure and reduced worker medical claims. Improving worker safety means achieving better labor relations and can lower insurance rates.
- Lower Operating Costs. P2 activities can save money for businesses over time. Money usually is saved in reduced material costs, improved operating efficiency, and reduced waste handling and disposal costs. Using less hazardous materials can reduce regulatory exposure and may eliminate the need for certain permitting, manifesting, monitoring, and/or reporting requirements.
- Reduced Future Liability. P2 can reduce businesses' liability for environmental problems resulting from recycling, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials.
How Your Business Can Prevent Pollution
When looking for pollution prevention opportunities, consider targeting products or processes that have high purchase and/or disposal costs, are toxic, generate state or federally regulated waste, emit hazardous air pollutants, or release dust or contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Also look at leaks and spill residue and poorly operating equipment. Learn more.
Sustainable Manufacturing (E3) and Pollution Prevention
E3—Economy, Energy, and Environment—is a multi-agency, interdisciplinary technical assistance program aimed at increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the manufacturing industry through lean manufacturing. Learn more.
Sector-Specific Topic Hubs
The Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx™) centers, a group of eight regional pollution prevention information centers, has developed Topic Hubs™ that provide access to pollution prevention resources, information, and best practices specific to particular subjects or sectors here.
DEQ's Pollution Prevention Program provides on-site technical assistance, telephone consultations, and rapid response to questions about environmental regulations impacting businesses in Idaho. Learn more.
Small Business Environmental Solutions
Through a partnership between DEQ and the Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a wide range of environmental assistance is available to small businesses throughout Idaho. The Environmental Solutions Program provides a "one-stop shop" where small businesses can obtain free, confidential environmental assistance in addition to tax, labor, and other advice provided by the Idaho SBDC. Learn more.
Clean Air Zone Program for Businesses
The Clean Air Zone Program is designed to encourage Idahoans to turn off their engines instead of idling. Businesses with delivery vans or truck fleets are great candidates for participation in the program, as are businesses with loading docks or drive-through lanes or parking lots where vendors or customers often sit and idle. Learn more.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Toolkit
What are greenhouse gases? Why should your business care? Find out how to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory and how to write a greenhouse gas emission reduction action plan here.
Pollution Prevention Recognition for Businesses
Businesses that employ pollution prevention techniques with documented results are eligible to be recognized as Pollution Prevention Champions in Idaho. Learn more.