Chapter 3 – How to Write a Pollution Prevention Plan

Step One: Getting Started

How a company gets started on a pollution prevention program and institutes it in all business planning and operations will vary. Implementation must be customized to each individual facility situation. Many aspects of a business such as capitalization, number of employees, organizational structure and location may be considered when integrating pollution prevention into a business. The steps in this guide are numbered simply as a way to identify them. They do not necessarily need to be carried out in this order, nor do all businesses need to perform each step.

One of the first steps required in starting a pollution prevention program is to gain management support for the effort. Once management recognizes the advantages of pollution prevention, commitment should be forthcoming for implementation. After a person or a group has management’s support, take action to investigate and evaluate options for pollution prevention.

Depending on the size of a business, one person or a team may be the focal point for implementing pollution prevention. In any case, the following should be done to get pollution prevention activity started:

  1. Understand and document operations so that inefficiencies, as indicated by the amount of waste or pollution generated, are identified. This includes identifying the hidden costs and overhead of waste and pollution.
  2. With management’s input, develop a policy for efficient use of resources based on the situation of the business. This policy should be as specific as possible and should set a standard for all future environmental planning and action.
  3. Based on the policy, develop company or facility-wide goals for pollution prevention activities. (Specific objectives for targeted chemicals are set in Step 5).
  4. Inform and educate all employees of the intent and goals of the pollution prevention program.

Starting and maintaining a pollution prevention program requires the commitment and participation of each employee. To sustain this activity, contributions need to be rewarded. While progress made in pollution prevention efforts provides satisfaction for everyone involved, outstanding individual efforts should be recognized. Examples of recognition may include employee awards, commendation at special functions or sincere thanks from the management group. Monetary awards have also been used, although it is recommended that these types of awards be shared among all employees involved in the pollution prevention program to encourage sharing of ideas and teamwork.