The 2018 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention (MVP2) awards presented by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) celebrate the successes of innovators in the areas of pollution prevention and sustainability.
Fred-Granek-P2-Ambassador-Award: Ken Geiser, Professor Emeritus, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Ken Geiser, Professor Emeritus, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, is one of the premiere P2 personalities, having played a key role in conceiving and organizing the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act and serving as the first director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. Ken also founded and directed the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production. He helped establish and oversaw development of the national Product Stewardship Institute, advised the United Nations Environment Program, and founded Clean Production Action, a policy research group providing services to U.S-based public interest organizations, and the Global Chemicals Resource Team, a non-profit technical assistance unit for chemicals policy in developing countries. In 2001 Ken summarized his knowledge of chemicals and how they can be better controlled in Materials Matter: Towards a Sustainable Materials Policy. NPPR recognizes him today for his more recent Chemicals without Harm: Solutions for a Sustainable World, which elaborates on his vision of how we can change to safer substitutes, and his surveys of chemical use throughout the world performed for the United Nations, the Global Chemicals Outlook report, (performed with Rachel Massey). This review of trends in the production and use of toxic chemicals in developing countries is essential for any policy expert, official, or citizen concerned with how we may reduce toxic exposures and contamination. Ken’s work has made him ambassador par excellence, for the approach of prevention, to the entire world.
P2 Champion: Global Foundries, Malta, New York
This is Global Foundries’ (GF) third win, demonstrating that their extraordinary commitment to pollution prevention is not limited to one facility. GF has continued their previous award-winning P2 effort at their Vermont facility, yielding significant new advances, and has had extraordinary achievements in New York. From the Malta, New York facility contact Joel Rouillard reports that this semiconductor maker took “aggressive steps” to bring about reuse of sulfuric acid and peroxide mix, (used on silicon wafer substrate to remove organic residue), eliminating over 10,000 tons of hazardous chemical annually, and saving more than $16,700,000 for GF and its partners in this effort, while implementing improvements to manufacturing quality and throughput. (For example, “The processing equipment is required to flush a small amount of chemical to the drain when wafer lots are loaded into a tool for different recipes. By organizing the wafer lots into “groups” of similar process recipes, the team was able to reduce the demand for passive usage based on this requirement…After process equipment has been idle for a specified period of time, the equipment is designed to flush chemical to drain before processing the next wafer lot. By extending this period of time, the team was able to reduce the frequency of passive usage driven by this requirement.” In Vermont, where a chemical mechanical polish process is used to remove a metal or oxide film down to a targeted thickness, efforts to reduce hazardous chemical use have been ongoing for several years. The “slurry” used in the process contains ferric nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, alumina, silica, and various inorganic and organic constituents. Contact Ruma Koli reports that the team optimized the slurry chemistry “to dramatically boost the polish rate, specifically by increasing the oxidizer concentration…the team also qualified a new polishing pad whose checkerboard-groove pattern enhanced slurry transport. Collectively, these changes made the inductor process 33% faster.” GF eliminated 184,000 gallons of hazardous waste and saved $1.13 Million a year. Making the process faster “made it possible to maintain a stable endpoint signal, which made endpoint control viable and eliminated significant slurry waste associated with running to a fixed time”.
P2 Educator of the Year: Mary Butow, Toxics Use Reduction Institute, Massachusetts
Mary Butow is the librarian of the Toxics Use Reduction, and in that position has provided research support for the Science Advisory Board and to a many others for many years. She is always delighted to help anyone understand chemicals and how to reduce risks from using them. She provides the excellent training “Beyond the MSDS”, taking students, researchers, concerned citizens, industrial engineers, product designers, other professionals through the bewildering maze of chemical databases and resources on chemical safety. Her job, conducted with unfailing cheer and a determination to help, is not easy – finding hazard information about new or obscure substances is difficult, but Mary makes it manageable. Making these extensive and underutilized knowledge resources available to help people understand chemical risks, compare them, and reduce them, is a critical step in developing safer practices and processes, and the reward is given in recognition of what Mary has already done, and the hopes that she will continue doing it.
Mary worked in biotechnology, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and Music from Lehigh University and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. She worked as an Environmental Health and Safety intern at EPA and completed Capstone work on Patterns of Mortality in New Hampshire by Industry and Occupation as an intern with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. She recently completed a Graduate Certificate from UML in Clinical Pathology.
P2 Program: Widmer Brothers Brewery, Portland Oregon
The Craft Brewers Alliance of Portland, Oregon, in a project implemented at the Widmer Brothers Brewery, reduced 60 % (6,000 pounds) of discharges of total suspended solids, and 11% (10,000 lbs) of Biological Oxygen Demand by identifying behavior-based changes and equipment to keep high strength waste from the drain. Participating in the Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience internship program, the company hosted Oregon State University engineering student Alan Haynes. A process map and mass balance were created and “everyone across the brewery was engaged to help identify areas of wastes and improvement opportunities…by improving communication and coordination between different departments, discharge overflow could be avoided and less high-strength wastewater discharged. Alan identified the appropriate technology to implement the solutions and ran the numbers on the return on investment for each”. Innovations included use of a TSS meter and inhouse COD testing at key points such as tank cleaning, yeast harvesting, kegging, and filler bowl dumps that contribute to high-strength wastewater. Management approved a $30,000 equipment purchase to divert waste yeast, which is now hauled to regional dairy farms to be repurposed as a feed adjunct, saving the company an estimated $160,000 per year. The wastewater optimization project Contact Julia Person writes the project “enabled the brewery to approach the City with sophisticated data in hand and open up an important dialogue about the pollution prevention efforts…The project also created an engaged culture and awareness around wastewater that is essential to operations, and is being strengthened daily. The engagement will continue, as there are plenty of opportunities, and employees now have the mindset and tools in hand to tackle the issues….Aspects of this project are already being shared across the industry and within the region. The successes of this project will be transferred to other breweries within the Craft Brew Alliance portfolio.”
P2 Student of the Year: Puja Vengadasalam, 11th grader in Princeton Junction, New Jersey
Eleventh grader Puja Vengadasalam proposed to the South Plainfield, New Jersey librarian a project to turn 5-12 year olds into earth champions for life – an “EcoCamp” that used Crafts, Arts, Movies and making Pledges to communicate engage participants into young environment specialists. Two workshops were held at the library and a website has been established. The Mayor South Plainfield was a participant and supports an annual event. Library Director Linda Hansen commented that “equally significant is that Puja Vengadasalam was able to involve all stake holders and give EcoCampers a chance to interact with decision makers on showcase day…On showcase day, Puja also organized a demonstration of an electric car, so EcoCampers could realize that going fossil free was possible and smart. Puja also involved the Press who ran writeups on EcoCamp.”
Best Multi-media: Washing Systems, Loveland, OH
Washing Systems of Loveland, OH, a two-time winner (first MVP in 2013), eliminated Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE) from their commercial laundry detergents by replacing them with chemistries meeting EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) criteria. Washing Systems also eliminated phosphates and EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), a persistent compound with hazardous degradation products. The company also eliminated petroleum solvents from solvent/detergent specialty formulas, replacing aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons with a non-hazardous, biodegradable, bio-based product. Water and energy use have also been reduced 19% and 17% respectively, and the company estimates this saves a third of a million dollars a year. The company notes that “Sodium Hydroxide is toxic to human and aquatic life. The commercial laundry industry has historically used the Sodium Hydroxide as its work horse for cleaning due to its low cost.” Its new products do not use Sodium Hydroxide, and because hundreds of companies use them it estimates that they will replace three million pounds of Sodium Hydroxide of annual use. Leadership supports Pollution Prevention innovations because they differentiate the company from competitors. Washing Systems’ John Koduru writes, success has “only strengthened our environmental policies and commitments.”
P2 Volunteer of the Year: Dan Wartenberg, Epidemiologist, New Jersey
Dan Wartenberg was an epidemiologist at Rutgers University for many years, an early practitioner of what has become known as community-based participatory research. Although as a professor and paid consultant he is an unusual choice for volunteer, this award is in recognition of the fact that in many ways he did volunteer himself and his expertise to the cause of better understanding of chemical risks. To some of us he represents pursuing the science without consideration of whether that might cause personal difficulties, following the evidence where it went. This is all too often today something that a person in this field must actively choose, and thus in a sense volunteer their focus where others do not.
Dan stood out as something who would take calls from reporters and communities, spending a very long time explaining the science behind community concerns. Dan has early-onset Alzheimer’s and can no longer volunteer his valuable advice to communities, for example to avoid studies that would have limited statistical power, take much time to conduct, and therefore add little to the discussion of risk management options. He can also no longer serve as a volunteer fireman, or on the county hazmat team. This recognition is not for his work during the past year, but for his continuous contribution over the decades.
His work, which encompassed sixty scholarly articles, was singled out for a profile in the journal Risk Analysis in 2016. The article notes that while writing “’The Statistical Analysis of Spatial Patterns in Biological Systems,’ Dan spent considerable time investigating the contamination by Temik (aldicarb active ingredient) of wells on the eastern end of Long Island, resulting in an opinion for the New York Times criticizing government for allowing the use of Temik with only limited assessment of its risk.” Bill Moyers made Dan’s work into a national story. Dan then volunteered himself to fill an important gap, starting in the late 1980s, helping communities and health departments evaluate cancer clusters. “The communities all too frequently felt left out and did not trust government’s efforts.” They always found someone to trust in Dan. David Ozonoff, chair emeritus of Environmental Health at Boston University, said Dan’s evaluation of the health effects of tricholoethylene (TCE), “one of the most prevalent pollutants in ground water, is one of the most important documents in the field, of unestimable value to contaminated communities and their advocates.” This particular expertise of Dan’s was helpful to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when it evaluated TCE for designation as a Higher Hazard Substance. After receiving detailed challenges from the chemical industry state employees were guided to understanding by Dan, and succeeded in justifying the designation.
His wife, Caron Chess, former President of the Society for Risk Analysis, “He took calls from communities where others might not have spent the time. As his memory failed, and he didn’t remember the word ‘epidemiologist’, he said he worked with communities. That’s what his heart felt, and his head.”
These organizations and individuals have clearly demonstrated that pollution prevention is beneficial to both the environment and the economy. The MVP2 Awards are awarded in seven categories, past recipients are listed on our Past MVP2 Recipients page. If you would like more information, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.