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What is P2?

"P2" is a common short hand for "Pollution Prevention" suggesting the beginning letter of both words: the letter P used twice. (This is not "P Squared.") The concept of P2 is fairly new in the environmental field. It involves a whole new way to look at problems in our environment. In the past, regulations have been directed toward controlling hazardous waste, toxic emissions, and wastewater pollution. With P2, the focus is on reducing or eliminating these hazards from their sources before they become a waste. Therefore, the basic goals of P2 are to encourage businesses and individuals to use less of a material or to use less toxic materials. To reach these goals, businesses must sometimes change processes or modify equipment. The LLCHD encourages both businesses and households to read product labels and other product information and make environmentally sound choices "up front" when they buy products.

Pollution prevention principles can help provide permanent solutions to environmental problems, avoid the regulatory burden of proper waste management (because there is no waste to manage), and eliminate unnecessary toxic material exposures. Businesses implementing P2 strategies can also benefit by saving direct costs associated with material usage and waste disposal, increasing their competitive edge in the market.

In her 1993 Earth Day address, Carol Browner, the national EPA Administrator, called pollution prevention the new "central ethic in everything we do at EPA." According to Browner, the EPA is now "committed to making pollution prevention the guiding principle in all our environmental efforts." LLCHD agrees with EPA that voluntary implementation of pollution prevention is the most common-sense approach to environmental and public health protection.

How Can I Do P2?

In order to to achieve pollution prevention, a business owner or plant or shop manager must decide to practice P2. There are some simple steps that a business owner or plant or shop manager can take to reduce or eliminate pollution. The first step is to convey this commitment to all employees through a formal policy statement.

Pollution prevention policy statements can be highly detailed and complex or quite simple. Even simple policies should answer three key questions: Why is a program being established? What is to be accomplished in qualitative terms? Who will do it?

To help you build your own pollution prevention policy, some possible policy questions and answers are suggested here.

Why are we implementing pollution prevention?
  • We want to protect the health of our employees and the environment.
  • We believe preservation of the environment is everyone's responsibility.
  • We believe that, by careful stewardship of the hazardous materials in our company, our
    profits will increase and employee morale will improve.

    What will be done to implement a pollution prevention program?
  • We will reduce or eliminate the amounts of all types of waste and will improve energy
  • We will review all processes and substitute less toxic materials at all opportunities.
  • Using Total Quality principles, we will seek to remove unnecessary waste from all our
    activities. If waste is produced, we will manage it in the most environmentally conscientious
    manner possible.

    Who will implement a pollution prevention program?
  • Everyone will be involved.
  • Under the guidance of the Operations Manager, the program will require the commitment of
    all employees.
  • As the owner, I will be personally responsible for seeing that this company adheres to all the
    philosophies of pollution prevention.

    After you have developed your pollution prevention policy statement, it should be presented to your employees so that they will see it as an ongoing, company-wide commitment. The attitude and involvement of employees at all levels will have a significant effect on the success of the program since their daily activities can produce the biggest changes.

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