Pollution Prevention

What is good for the environment is often good for the bottom line.

The true cost of waste includes:

  • Lost raw materials.
  • Expensive waste disposal services.
  • Wasted labor and production costs.
  • Liability and workers compensation insurance.
  • Regulatory compliance costs.

The best way to reduce or eliminate these costs is to avoid generating waste in the first place. Several terms are used to describe this idea— pollution prevention, waste minimization and source reduction. But they all refer to one common sense idea:

Waste is an inefficient use of your resources and costs your business money.

Minimizing or eliminating hazardous waste can help you:

  • Reduce regulatory burdens and/or fees.
  • Reduce purchasing costs for materials.
  • Reduce waste disposal costs.
  • Reduce liability and associated costs.
  • Identify potential "green" marketing advantages.
  • Improve workplace safety.
  • Foster positive community relations.

So what can you do in your business?

The first step is to evaluate the processes that create waste. Then, find alternatives to get the job done.

Contact your county hazardous waste office or the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) at (612) 624-1300. See the Pollution Prevention and Sustainability Program of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for helpful resources and fact sheets.

These assistance programs can be very helpful in assessing your hazardous waste and suggesting ways to minimize waste. Pollution prevention is all about making the right choices in product selection, work practices and manufacturing processes.

Tips to Minimize Hazardous Waste

Here are some general tips for any business to minimize hazardous waste. For more ideas, see the Hazardous Waste & Toxicity Reduction Checklist.

Good housekeeping pays off.

Cleaning up spills takes time away from manufacturing products. Fix leaks promptly. Repair or replace malfunctioning equipment.

Prevent product loss.

Be aware of product shelf life and only buy what you will use.

Keep chemical containers closed.

In order to preserve product quality and reduce evaporation.

Get more use out of what you buy.

Reuse and/or use up products.

Invest in efficient equipment.

Upgrade or automate continuous, long running processes.

Train your employees.

Train operators in the latest, most efficient techniques, and teach everyone good housekeeping practices.

Choose less toxic, safer products.

Compare product labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to learn what is in the products you buy and what hazards you might face.