Pollution prevention

Effectiveness of State Pollution Prevention Programs and Policies

Harrington, Donna Ramirez (2013). “Effectiveness of State Pollution Prevention Programs and Policies.” Contemporary Economic Policy 31(2), 255–278. DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-7287.2011.00312.x

Abstract: States are using regulatory-, information-, and management-based policies to encourage the adoption of pollution prevention (P2) and reduce pollution. Using a sample of facilities of S&P 500 firms which report to the Toxic Releases Inventory from 1991 to 2001, this study employs dynamic panel data models to examine the effectiveness of state legislations and policies in increasing P2 and reducing toxic releases. I find that toxic waste legislations are effective in reducing toxic releases and in promoting P2, but the effect of policy instruments differ. Facilities in states with reporting requirement and mandatory planning adopt more P2 even in states that do not emphasize toxic waste reduction. The effectiveness of reporting is stronger among facilities with good environmental performance, while the potency of mandatory planning is greater among facilities with past P2 experience. In contrast, numerical goals reduce toxic pollution levels only among those which have been subjected to high levels of enforcement action. These suggest that reporting requirement and mandatory planning may be promoting the P2 practices which can improve public image and which benefit from enhanced technical know-how, but they are not causing meaningful pollution reductions, implying that the existing policies must be complemented by other approaches to achieve higher reductions in toxic pollution levels.

Take a minute to learn about pollution prevention

Read the full post at Lakeside News.

Laura Kammin, our pollution prevention specialist, has some exciting news. Let’s let her tell you about it:

If you only had a minute, what would you say?

Just one minute to explain what pharmaceutical waste is and how people can help reduce it. That was the challenge posed by our new pollution prevention team members Erin Knowles and Adrienne Gulley.

Challenge accepted! Here it is, the first installment of the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Pollution Prevention Minute.

Green management and the nature of pollution prevention innovation

George Deltas, Donna Ramirez Harrington & Madhu Khanna (2014). “Green management and the nature of pollution prevention innovation”, Applied Economics, 46:5, 465-482, DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2013.857004

Abstract: Management systems have a strong impact on the level of innovation and on production operations. Understanding this impact sheds light on how firms function. This article examines the relationship between a firm’s approach to environmental management and the nature of the pollution prevention activities or practices that it undertakes. We differentiate pollution prevention activities according to (i) four functional characteristics and (ii) visibility to consumers. We find that the application of the total quality management (TQM) approaches on pollution prevention has a stronger effect for practices that involve procedural changes or are of a customized nature. These are indeed the type of practices where one would expect TQM to have a disproportionate impact in decision-making effectiveness. There seems to be no corresponding effect on the adoption of practices that are visible to consumers. Our results corroborate the notion that a well-designed management system can help stimulate innovation, but only for specific types. They also help identify the types of firms that are more likely to benefit from adoption of TQM principles.

Upcoming report tracks P2 results at U.S. public agencies

In this article for GreenBiz, Jeffrey Burke from National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) announces the upcoming P2 results report for 2010-2012 findings.

The archives for the P2 Impact column are at http://www.greenbiz.com/business/engage/enterprise-blogs/p2-pathways

What we can learn from Denmark’s near-zero-waste wonder

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

This article first appeared at Ensia.

When we look closely at systems in nature — coral reefs or rainforests, for instance — we see something we don’t often see in human systems: mutually beneficial relationships and energy flows among the various elements, such as air, water, rocks, soil, and plant and animal life. If we emulate these relationships in our cities and in our industrial infrastructure, we can vastly improve the sustainability of natural resources and energy use.

That’s exactly what the municipality of Kalundborg, 64 miles west of Copenhagen, is doing. In fact, for over 50 years, Kalundborg has been home to the first — and still the most advanced — example of this concept: the Kalundborg Symbiosis. Anchored originally by a power and district heating plant, this innovative industrial complex has grown to include some large and profitable enterprises, including the biggest oil refinery in the Baltic Region; an insulin-producing plant with 2,700 employees; factories making enzymes for use in everything from bioenergy to textiles, and gypsum for lightweight building materials; and the largest sewage treatment plant in northern Europe. Heat, water and a host of other resources that would otherwise be treated as waste supply some of the energy and many of the feedstocks to these operations and to the surrounding municipality, including farms.