It started with breakfast. In 1989 representatives from industry, regulatory agencies and public interest groups began to meet over early morning coffee. At first they sought a better dialogue between industries and regulatory agencies-turning potential adversaries into team-mates. Later, this “breakfast club” evolved into the Pollution Prevention Partnership, a Colorado voluntary environmental initiative. The goal: working together to prevent pollution at its source.
By 1991, the Pollution Prevention Partnership (PPP) formed a non-profit organization. The Partnership set new standards for reducing pollution in Colorado's industries by making it easier for regulatory officials, public interest spokespeople and industry representatives to meet and forge new solutions to environmental problems.
The first major project, “SolvNet I,” focused on reducing the use of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA). TCA poses both health and environmental hazards. PPP set a goal for each company in the Partnership to reduce its use and release of this industrial “solvent-of-choice” by 70%. Partnership members methodically searched for more acceptable alternatives, testing over 50 compounds. By making changes in processes, products and business methods, they exceeded their goal. Pollution prevention-by reducing solvent use-reduces burdensome regulatory compliance, taxes and surcharges.
The work has not stopped there. The Partnership is reaching beyond its membership to other Colorado businesses. Members conducted technical workshops for other industry representatives. The Partnership hosted a luncheon for Colorado's top corporate executives. They worked with the Waste Minimization Assessment Center, of Colorado State University, to perform waste assessments at small and medium size industries in Colorado. Work is also under way on SolvNet II, an expanded program designed to reduce hazardous industrial waste by the Partnership's industrial members.
This paper presents the purpose and goals of the Pollution Prevention Partnership. It discusses the SolvNet I and SolvNet II projects, gives perspectives on how companies succeeded in preventing pollution, and outlines the Partnerships technical assistance activities.