Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pollution Prevention Week: Technical Assistance

By Andrew Wineke, communications, Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Sept. 15-21 is Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, and we’re taking the week to explore some of the ways Ecology is working to keep our air clean, our waters pure, and our communities safe from toxic chemicals.

Today, we’re looking at Ecology’s technical assistance programs.

Ecology's Dan Ferguson providing technical assistance
at Redhook Brewery in Woodinville.
Most people think of Ecology as the agency that oversees environmental compliance in the state and monitors the health of our waters, land, and air. And, they’re right! We certainly do all of that. However, there’s also an arm of Ecology that works with manufacturers to help them operate more efficiently.

Ecology engineers and specialists already work with many manufacturers on finding alternatives to hazardous chemicals and searching for ways to reduce waste. The technical assistance team goes farther, looking for leaks in compressed air systems, electrical motors that are running too hot, and even using Lean manufacturing techniques to increase efficiency and reliability. All of these measures have been proven to save companies money.

P2 pays multiple "green" dividends

Since 2008, Ecology has worked with more than 60 manufacturers and the results are pretty great, if we do say so ourselves. Those businesses collectively save more than $6 million a year by reducing their electricity and natural gas bills, toxic chemical use and wastes, and finding new products, markets and customers. In total, those projects are also preventing more than 22,500 metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year!

How technical assistance works

Earlier this year, an Ecology technical assistance team worked with Redhook Brewery in Woodinville. The team found 48 air leaks in the brewery’s systems that wasted 216,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity every year, costing about $19,000. The Ecology team also offered advice on ways Redhook could divert some of its spent yeast and grains to local farms, which both reduced the company’s disposal costs and prevented excessive organic material from going into the sewer system, which can lead to surcharges.

When Ecology can help businesses operate more efficiently, they save money, and we all benefit from a cleaner environment.

More information

1 comment:

Rabbits' Guy said...

How about proclaiming Nov.1 as "Close your Dumpsters Day" in the Puget Sound area to remind everyone that it rains and they sometimes leak!