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May 9, 2016

U.S. EPA Recognizes Four California Organizations as 2016 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award Winners

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is presenting Levi Strauss & Co., The Ashkin Group, Albertsons Companies (including their Northern California Safeway stores), and Clorox with Safer Choice Partner of the Year awards. They are among 24 winners across 12 states, the District of Columbia and Canada being recognized for outstanding achievement in the design, manufacture, promotion and use of a range of cleaning and other household products that carry EPA’s Safer Choice label.

“Everyone wants products with ingredients that are safer for their kids, pets, communities and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Using technology and innovation to turn challenges into profitable opportunities makes our businesses stronger and more competitive, our families and workers healthier, and our environment cleaner.”

EPA developed the new Safer Choice labels to make it easier for consumers and businesses to choose items that meet EPA’s safer product standards. In addition to meeting stringent safety criteria, every product with the Safer Choice label has met high standards for performance. Safer Choice currently has around 500 formulator-manufacturer partners who make more than 2,000 products for retail and institutional customers. Read more

EPA News

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced eight contracts to small businesses to develop innovative technologies to protect the environment, funded through EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. “The green technologies that these SBIR companies are developing will help us address some of today’s most pressing environmental and public health issues” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. The phase II contracts announced today provide the companies $300,000 to further develop and commercialize their products and ideas. Phase II awards are only available to companies that previously submitted research proposals for their innovative technologies and were awarded phase I contracts up to $100,000. Today’s recipients include:

  • Aspen Products Group, Inc. – Marlborough, Mass. for developing a filtration device to control emerging contaminants in drinking water supplies.
  • Environmental Fuel Research, LLC – Philadelphia, Pa. for developing a system to produce biofuel from grease trap waste.
  • ETSVP-JV, LLC – Roanoke, Va. for developing innovative filters using nanomaterials to remove gaseous pollutants and particulates from contaminated air streams.
  • Lucid Design Group, Inc. – Oakland, Calif. for developing technology to drive behavior energy savings in commercial buildings.
  • MesoCoat, Inc. – Euclid, Ohio for developing corrosion-resistant coatings on steel to replace current more hazardous methods.
  • Precision Combustion, Inc. – North Haven, Conn. for developing regenerable high efficiency filter technology to remove gaseous pollutants from indoor air.
  • Sustainable Bioproducts, LLC – Bozeman, Mont. for developing a low-cost, simple, and scalable microbial process for conversion of municipal solid waste to fuels using fungus.
  • Vista Photonics, Inc. – Las Cruces, N.M. for developing an inexpensive, high-performance, portable air pollution monitor to continuously measure atmospheric ammonia.

EPA funds many environmentally-minded small businesses so they can bring their innovative technologies to market. A previous SBIR winner, GVD Corporation, created an environmentally friendly mold-release coating that makes indoor air healthier in manufacturing facilities by reducing the use of harmful chemicals. Okeanos Technologies is developing a new energy-efficient seawater desalination technology that could provide clean and affordable water where it is needed most. Providence Photonics is working to develop a real-time monitor that optimizes flare operation and reduces overall air toxics emissions from flaring activities in industrial facilities across the United States. EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, which was enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs and promote U.S. technical innovation. To be eligible to participate in the SBIR program, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees. For more information on EPA’s SBIR Phase II recipients, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/615/records_per_page/ALL[cfpub.epa.gov] Learn more about EPA’s SBIR program at www.epa.gov/sbir.

H2Otelwatersense_logo

WaterSense & Energy Star webinars

WaterSense® is teaming up with ENERGY STAR® to host a new webinar series in the United States on water and energy efficiency for commercial and institutional facilities.

Each webinar features content from WaterSense at Work and ENERGY STAR resources that can help organisations save water, energy, and money in different areas of their facilities.

The first instalment, “Tackling WaterSense–Sanitary Fixtures and Equipment,” is scheduled for January 28, 2016, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Attendees will learn best management practices to help reduce water and energy use in restrooms and commercial laundries.

Attendees are encouraged to register for any of this year’s webinars and share the information with anyone interested in learning about water-efficient best management practices.

If you have any questions about the new webinar series, please contact the WaterSense Helpline at (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) or watersense@epa.gov.

Safer ChoiceCall for Applications: 2016 Award Cycle Now Open

2015 Partner of the Year Award Winners

Awards were presented at the Partner of the Year Awards Ceremony on June 22nd, 2015 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Read more about the 2015 Award Winners.[epa.gov]

The second annual Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards recognize program participants for advancing the goal of chemical safety through exemplary participation in or promotion of the Safer Choice Program. Please apply by January 29, 2016 to be considered.[epa.gov] Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in late spring of 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Safer Choice Program participants are continually driving innovation to make chemical products safer. Our program currently labels more than 2,000 products, used by consumers, institutions and industry, that meet our Safer Choice Standard[epa.gov].

Award Categories

EPA will present at least one award in each of these five categories:

  • Product and Chemical Manufacturers
  • Purchasers and Distributors
  • Retailers
  • Supporters
  • Innovators

Within these categories, we may give additional awards in the subcategories of “small business” and “sustained excellence.”

You may apply in more than one award category, but must complete individual application packages for each.

Eligibility

Any current or past program participants in the Safer Choice Program are eligible to apply for the awards. Candidates must complete the application form(s)[epa.gov] and have it signed by an appropriate company or organization official (e.g., CEO, vice president for governmental affairs, division head, or other authorized signatory).

How to Apply

Complete and submit the application materials[epa.gov] by January 29, 2016. The application may be submitted via email to SaferChoice_Support@abtassoc.com. Supplemental documents (e.g., photos, pamphlets, advertisement videos, audio files) may be sent with your application as PDF files (each file must be less than 12 MB). Please refer to the application materials for instructions on how to submit paper copies.

Selection Criteria

For the 2016 awards, we will recognize program participants who have demonstrated leadership in:

  • furthering safer chemistry and products throughout the past year; and
  • promoting the new Safer Choice label.

Program participants that submit complete applications will be evaluated against the following five criteria:

  1. Participation in the Safer Choice Program
  2. Use of the Safer Choice label
  3. Promotion and use of products using the Safer Choice label
  4. Outreach and education on the Safer Choice Program to consumers and end-users
  5. Innovations in safer chemistry and other efforts to advance the Safer Choice Program

Responses will be weighted and points assigned based on the applicant/award category.

November 4, 2015

EPA Calls for the 21st Presidential Green Chemistry Award Nominations

Program promotes environmental and economic benefits of using novel green technologies in chemical design, manufacture, and use

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its request for nominations for its 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a process or product that better protects public health and the environment.

“For more than two decades, we have seen creative innovations making our manufacturing processes and products better and safer,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Our efforts to speed the adoption of revolutionary and diverse disciplines have led to significant environmental benefits, innovation and a strengthened economy.”

Since the start of the program, EPA has received more than 1,500 nominations and presented awards for 104 new technologies that have reduced more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents, savings 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases.

EPA is sponsoring the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® and members of the chemical community including industry, trade associations, and academic institutions.

Nominations are due to EPA by December 31, 2015.

Next June, EPA expects to give five awards for outstanding green chemistry technologies in traditional categories and a sixth award for a green chemistry technology that addresses climate change. The award areas include:

  • Greener Synthetic Pathways
  • Greener Reaction Conditions
  • Greener Chemical Products
  • The Design of Greener Chemicals
  • Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business)
  • Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher)
  • Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions)

More information on past award winners and how to submit entries can be found at: http://www2.epa.gov/green-chemistry[www2.epa.gov]

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement with Lynx Enterprises, a metal finishing firm in Tracy, Calif., for its failure to comply with federal hazardous waste management regulations. The company agreed to pay a total of $28,750 in civil penalty and spend an additional $108,000 to develop hazardous waste training materials.

In October 2010, an EPA inspection discovered that the facility was in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In addition to paying the penalty, Lynx has agreed to develop a hazardous waste management training program designed to assist at least 20 metal finishing companies to understand hazardous waste management compliance requirements.

“We are pleased that Lynx Enterprises has adopted an innovative approach to resolve this case,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The training program will help the metal finishing industry to properly manage hazardous waste to prevent harm to human health and safeguard the environment.”

Lynx, via a qualified independent contractor, will also develop a training video that will summarize federal, state, and local hazardous waste regulatory requirements. The video will be available to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and to 83 local agencies, known as Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPA), for their use and distribution and an internet link to a version of the video will be accessible to the general public within a year. Read more

green chemChemistry is having “an innovation crisis”, according to John Warner, co-author of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. “We need to ask if the way we’re training future scientists is fitting the need of society.”

The push for green chemistry began over two decades ago, and Warner has been part of the movement the whole time. On Wednesday, he presented one of two keynote speeches at a Guardian conference on green chemistry.

One of the recurring themes of the conference was the need for all stakeholders to radically shift their perspective on green chemistry.

As the long overdue revision of the Toxic Substances Control Act highlights, the US approach to making chemistry greener has mainly beenconducted through regulations and restrictions. Read more

Voluntary ComplianceSelf-Auditing Remains Important Enforcement Risk Mitigation Tool for Industry

Environmental regulatory compliance auditing is a critical and central component of an effective environmental management system (EMS). To encourage companies to establish and maintain formal environmental management systems (including auditing), the EPA has long maintained a formal policy directing enforcement staff to waive the punitive portion of any penalties that would otherwise be assessed for violations if they are (1) discovered independently by a company through its EMS or a compliance audit, (2) voluntarily disclosed to EPA and (3) promptly corrected. While there are additional qualifying criteria, the so-called Audit Policy (“Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations,” 65 FR 19618 (Apr. 11, 2000)) has been used successfully by companies for many years in connection with compliance self-auditing programs. In a move welcomed by industry, the EPA last amended the Audit Policy in 2008 to provide special penalty mitigation incentives for new owners designed to encourage robust and comprehensive environmental compliance auditing in connection with merger and acquisition activities, allowing newly acquired companies to start with a “clean slate.”

Future of Audit Policy Was in Doubt

Notwithstanding the popularity of the Audit Policy among companies with strong environmental compliance programs, the EPA has been considering changing or dropping the program. In practice, the administrative process involved in processing company disclosures and issuing formal notices of audit policy compliance require significant EPA enforcement staff time, focused on enforcement issues important to disclosing companies but not necessarily an enforcement priority for the EPA. In 2012, EPA signaled that, particularly in a time of more limited budget resources and declining staff levels, it was looking for ways to reduce Agency investment in the Audit Policy program. Industry saw many submissions seemingly languish, and many feared the program was being or would be abandoned. Read more

City Hall becomes the oldest building in the U.S. to receive LEED Platinum Certification for existing buildings

San Francisco – Today, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy joined City of San Francisco officials to announce the U.S. Green Building Council’s award of LEED Platinum Certification – the highest possible rating – to San Francisco’s historic City Hall. Completed in 1915, City Hall is the oldest building in the United States to receive LEED Platinum Certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance in (LEED – EBOM). This LEED classification highlights the potential for significant water and energy savings in existing buildings.

Platinum Certification of San Francisco’s 100-year-old City Hall is the culmination of a multi-year water and energy retrofit partnership between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the U.S. EPA, and the City Administrator’s Office. An EPA grant of $700,000 supported the replacement of over 90 toilets and urinals in City Hall with high-efficiency models. This federal funding continues to support water efficiency retrofits at other Civic Center buildings, including 101 Grove Street. Operational and energy efficiency upgrades were funded by the local ratepayers.

“San Francisco has long been a leader and innovator at the forefront of solutions to combat climate change and reduce energy and water consumption,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “As the entire nation watches California endure its 4th year of drought, we all must do our part to use renewable energy, be energy efficient, and conserve our precious water resources.” Read more

Posted: March 5, 2015

Las Vegas Resorts Lead Zero Waste Efforts in Nevada

LAS VEGAS – MGM Resorts International was recognized today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its outstanding efforts in food recovery.

The entertainment and hospitality company received two national Food Recovery Challenge awards for reducing food waste and, in the process, conserving natural resources.

“MGM’s zero waste leadership has turned mountains of food scraps into compost to help fight waste and climate change,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

MGM Resorts and MGM Grand Las Vegas are two of the 32 recipients who received the 2014 Food Recovery Challenge Award, and the only recipients in Nevada. The award was given for achieving the highest percentage of potentially wasted food diversion and prevention.

Senator Harry Reid’s office also issued a certificate of recognition to the company for leading food recovery efforts in Nevada. Officials from the EPA and Sen. Reid’s office presented these honors to MGM Resorts representatives in a ceremony at ARIA Resort & Casino. A behind-the-scenes tour of the resort’s food recovery program was also given. Read more