During Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of the University of Illinois – Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (U of I) to receive a $323,928 P2 Grant to promote pollution prevention in manufacturing and processing facilities. P2 means reducing or eliminating pollutants from entering any waste stream or otherwise being released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal.
“The EPA’s pollution prevention grants provide businesses with more incentives and opportunities to reduce waste and save money. It’s much cheaper to prevent pollution than to clean it up, and continuing to work together with our partners across Illinois will ensure we’re successful in what is a primary objective of this agency under the Trump administration, ” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “These grants can also align with our ongoing efforts to engage with industry through our Smart Sectors initiative and the EnergyStar program.”
U of I will use the funds to provide on-site technical assistance to 30 Illinois manufacturing and processing facilities across multiple business sectors, comprising EPA’s five National Emphasis Areas. Implementation of P2 recommendations from assistance will be measured and reported, resulting in reduced energy and water use, hazardous materials generation and reduced business costs at the facilities.
“ISTC’s technical assistance staff have participated in this program for nearly 15 years and have a proven track record of helping companies both reduce pollution and improve their bottom line,” said ISTC director Kevin C OBrien. “This support from EPA will enable us to continue collaborating with companies as they work to become both more sustainable and more competitive.”
U of I is one of 42 organizations across 39 states to receive grant funding totaling $9.3 million, supporting pollution prevention across the country. For these grants, EPA emphasizes the importance of grantees documenting and sharing P2 best practices that are identified and developed through these grants, so that others can replicate these practices and outcomes. Each grantee will be required to develop at least one case study during the grant period on P2 practices that are new or not widely known or adopted, or where detailed information on the P2 practices could benefit other businesses or P2 technical assistance providers.
The work done under these grants will focus on at least one of the five P2 priority areas, also referred to as National Emphasis Areas and support several of the agency’s Smart Sectors. These areas include food and beverage manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, aerospace product/part manufacturing, and metal manufacturing.
This year marks 30 years since the passage of the Pollution Prevention Act, which focuses industry, government, and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. This week is also P2 Week, a time to celebrate the diverse and creative ways businesses, academic institutes, local governments, and other organizations are working to prevent pollution. In support of the Pollution Prevention Act and P2 Week, these grant awards encourage businesses and other stakeholders to find ways to prevent pollution from entering any waste stream, furthering EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment.
Read more about P2 and the P2 Grant Program.