Environmental Stewardship Initiative celebrates national Pollution Prevent Week!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 4:13pm

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI) is celebrating national Pollution Prevention (P2) Week and the 30th anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act by hosting a four-day virtual conference to share pollution prevention and sustainability best practices.

This week’s virtual conference gives ESI members and other business representatives an opportunity to learn about energy efficiency best practices, water reduction techniques, recycling markets and regulatory topics.

DEQ has been a long-time recipient of P2 grants, which were established in the Pollution Prevention Act to help states promote pollution prevention practices, and these grants support the ESI which promotes and encourages superior environmental performance by North Carolina organizations.

The ESI is a voluntary program that was established in 2002 to stimulate the development and implementation of programs that use pollution prevention and innovative approaches to meet and exceed regulatory requirements.

The ESI program currently has 190 member sites located across the state, representing a broad array of industry sectors including pharmaceutical; automotive; technology; agribusiness; local, state and federal government agencies; and schools. The program consists of three levels: Partners, Rising Stewards and Stewards, the highest level of achievement. This year, the program is made up of 29 Stewards, 12 Rising Stewards, and 149 Partner sites.

Total financial savings at ESI member facilities based on environmental reduction practices reported from 2004 to 2019 are more than $95 million. From 2004 to 2019, ESI members have:

  • reduced water usage by more than 14 billion gallons;
  • reduced energy usage by approximately 78.5 million mmBTUs;
  • avoided the generation of 6.4 billion gallons of wastewater;
  • reduced air emissions by almost 9,000 tons;
  • reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by 4.2 million tons, and
  • avoided the generation of 3,200 tons of hazardous waste.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act, which recognized that pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source when possible by modifying production processes, promoting the use of nontoxic or less toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and reusing materials rather than putting them into the waste stream. While the initial act concentrated on businesses, P2 practices are now implemented by all types of organizations and individuals.

For more information, visit the ESI website at: www.ncesi.org.

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