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EPA Announces Creative Approaches for Helping Americans Recycle, Recover Energy, Minimize Waste and Revitalize the Landscape

Release Date: 05/19/2003
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

(05/19/03) EPA today announced ten new innovative projects from around the country to test creative approaches to waste minimization, energy recovery, recycling and land revitalization that may be replicated across various industries, communities and regions. Examples of projects include: “product placement” of environmentally beneficial behavior on tv shows; testing a market-based approach for reducing chemical use and waste at universities; and exploring an innovative approach to processing food waste and its potential renewable energy applications.

Today’s announcement is the second round of grants for $352,000 of Innovation Pilots; EPA spent $525,000 on the first round in July 2002. The goal of this initiative is to test innovative ideas to make EPA’s waste programs more efficient and effective, measure and analyze the results, and then get the word out around the country so others can learn from the experiments. These projects build upon the efforts of the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC), the Land Revitalization and One Cleanup Agendas. The RCC calls on Americans to increase the national recycling rate from 30 to 35 percent and reduce the generation of 30 priority chemicals, both by 2005. The Land Revitalization Agenda outlines over 60 specific ways to help integrate land reuse and economic revitalization into EPA's cleanup programs. The goal of the One Cleanup Program is to improve the speed, effectiveness, and consistency of cleanups at all contaminated sites, and ensure that EPA’s activities and results are effectively communicated to the public.

A Brief Description of the Ten Projects:

Environmental Behavior Placement on TV Amount: $30,000

The U.S. EPA Region 9 office in San Francisco and Headquarters Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response in Washington, D.C. will develop a public information campaign and guide modeled on the private sector concept of “product placement” to place environmentally beneficial behavior (EBB) in TV shows.

Small Scale Anaerobic Digester Amount: $65,000

The U.S. EPA Region 2 office in New York City, in partnership with the Council on the Environment New York, Columbia University, EcoCorp, and Earth Pledge will develop, test and replicate an innovative, small-scale anaerobic digestion facility for on-site installation at urban food waste neighborhood centers. The pilot will explore renewable energy applications (such as fuel cell technology) for methane captured from food waste decay.

Greening Industrial Design Amount: $50,000

EPA Headquarters Office of Solid Waste, in partnership with the Industrial Design Society of America, will conduct workshops and develop a web site to improve awareness among engineers and designers of the highly credible and easy-to-use methods for reducing the environmental impacts of products. The pilot will look at the entire product lifecycle, including choice of raw materials and manufacturing processes.

Developing & Testing a Unified Phase Assessment for Site Assessments Amount: $40,000

The U.S. EPA Region 3 office in Philadelphia will develop and test a single, draft environmental site assessment tool that can be used by all programs within EPA, and will be easy for the public to understand and use.

Testing Chemical Management Services in Universities: A Market-Based Approach to Reducing Chemical Use and Waste Amount: $45,000

The U.S. EPA Region 9 office, in partnership with the Chemical Strategies Partnership, will test a new approach to the way chemical providers do business, by making it financially feasible for colleges to purchase chemicals by need rather than volume, thereby reducing chemical use.

Testing Reuse of Phosphate Sludge Amount: $43,000

The U.S. EPA Region 5 office in Chicago, in partnership with Mo-Sci Corp., University of Illinois, Illinois Waste Management Resource Center, Illinois EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources, will investigate the feasability of using non-hazardous industrial phosphate sludge waste as a raw material for iron phosphate glass. Research shows that iron phosphate glass offers great potential as a low-energy alternative to commercial silica-based glass fibers.

Agricultural & Municipal Cooperation in Composting Green and Animal Wastes Amount: $29,000

The U.S. EPA Region 9 office, in partnership with Sustainable Conservation, will test an innovative model for composting dairy manure and green waste (waste with contaminants removed) that benefits both the agricultural and municipal sectors. The end product is a high-use compost that can be used in bulk or bag (such as landscaping, gardening and topsoil). A key premise of this approach is to realized environmental and economic benefits when municipal and agricultural sectors collaborate. Municipalities can enhance the economic value and marketability of their compost, reduce the amount of landfill material and help the agricultural community. The agricultural sector can reduce costs and environmental impacts in its water quality and waste stream operations.

Innovative Training for Retail Purchasing Agents on Recycled Content Products Amount: $20,000

The U.S. EPA Region 5 office, in partnership with the Recycling Association of Minnesota, Ecosource, Illinois Recycling Association and Waste Cap, will link vendors of recycled-content products with buyers from major retailers to promote the use of such products.

Brockton Brightfields Amount: $10,000

The U.S. EPA Region 1 office in Boston, in partnership with the City of Brockton, Mass., Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, Bay State Gas Co., and Brockton 21st Century Corporation, will examine the development and financing of long-term, renewable energy projects on Brownfields properties.

Testing the Environmental Results Program for Underground Storage Tanks Amount: $20,000

The U.S. EPA Region 1 office, in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, will test the Environmental Results Program model on Underground Storage Tank Systems to determine whether it can be used to enhance environmental performance and compliance. The Environmental Results Program replaces case-by-case permits with stringent industry-wide environmental performance standards requiring companies to submit annual certifications that the standards are being met.

To learn more about the Innovations Projects, go to: