Pollution Prevention (P2) is reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream. It is an effective ‘getting more from less’ strategy.
A true proactive strategy assumes at the start of the process that no waste will occur.
It focuses on removing the waste upfront through the use of environmentally benign materials, thus reducing after use effects through the emissions in air, water or land. This is a proactive action that companies can engage in to embed sustainable practices in its production processes. But it starts with realizing the need for such a process that potentially can reduce pollution.
One of the ways that this is illustrated is by Nike’s Green Exchange program. This program brings together various manufacturers and retailers alike on a common platform to share and innovate new product developments and technologies to reduce before and during the process pollution generated in their products. The program was started in 2009 initiated by Nike and since then a number of other companies like Yahoo, Best Buy have joined forces in order to bring the environmental impacts down by using benign materials.
Through ‘Considered Design’, Nike is combining sustainability principles and innovative design techniques to produce performance products. Its goal is to make all its line100% considered by 2015.
These programs by Nike are classic examples of a P2 strategy. It eliminates the use of toxics and waste from the processes by the forming the ‘considered index’ that evaluates the use of solvents, materials and amount of waste generated.
Xerox, the document company had joined the US EPA’s Climate leaders program in 2003 to reduce its CHG emissions from their worldwide operations. Since then Xerox designed new toners that were 25% more energy efficient over their previous models. The toner manufacturing process it self was improved. The End-of-Life (ELV) design considerations were incorporated in its new print cartridges making them easy to disassemble and remanufacture. It also came out with erasable ink enabling reuse of a printed paper.
These 2 companies made use the P2 proactive strategy by using fewer or smarter resources to begin with and required less clean-up at the final disposal.
Which other companies do you think are effectively employing P2 strategy?
- Considered & Exchanged by Nike
- What Green Marketing will achieve that Traditional Marketing won’t?
- Life cycle thinking at 3M
- Designer’s Toolkit: From Planned Obsolescence to Design for Environment (DfE) – I: Biomimicry