The Pollution Prevention Program, located within the Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is dedicated to promoting and supporting long-term process improvements and best management practices that reduce or eliminate waste before it is generated in household, commercial and industrial scenarios. The pollution prevention program's responsibilities include:
Pollution prevention is reducing or eliminating the volume or toxicity of pollutants or wastes at the source, through using less hazardous raw materials or using more efficient practices or processes. Pollution prevention includes reducing the use of energy, water, and other resources through increased efficiency or through conservation.
Pollution prevention is not add-on pollution control or waste treatment, off-site recycling, burning waste, or shifting waste from one media to another (even though any of these may be warranted in certain cases).
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Environmental management is evolving rapidly in both the private and public sector. Even as the private sector moves to integrated environmental management systems and concern about offsite impacts, agencies responsible for regulatory oversight around the world are relying more on incentives-based partnerships to keep up with the challenge of environmental protection.
The Colorado Pollution Prevention Act of 1992, passed as a result of a bi-partisan coalition effort. The Act set state policy that “pollution prevention shall be the management tool of first choice,” i.e. that whenever feasible, pollution or waste should be prevented or reduced at the source. If the pollution or waste cannot be prevented, reuse or recycling is the next preferred approach. Treatment, disposal or other release into the environment should be employed as a last resort. In addition, the use of recycled products rather than raw materials should be encouraged whenever feasible. Reducing material, energy and water usage through improved efficiency is also considered pollution prevention.
Many businesses implement pollution prevention practices to reduce costs and to reduce their environmental impacts at the same time. Taking a larger view, pollution prevention helps to preserve the environment’s capacity to support us by reducing the use of natural resources and the generation of wastes and pollution, while being economically beneficial at the same time. Pollution prevention is typically implemented through one or more of the following strategies:
The leading practitioners of pollution prevention now are integrating pollution prevention into environmental management systems (EMSs) so the approach is more systematic and enduring in their organizations. For more information on pollution prevention, see the documents in the general section of the pollution prevention library listed below, look at the links at the end of this web page, or contact the pollution prevention program.
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