What is pollution prevention?

Pollution Prevention

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) describe pollution prevention as minimizing or avoiding the initial creation of waste instead of trying to deal with the waste after it has been created.

Pollution prevention is largely associated with source reduction. Source reduction is the umbrella over the most important “R”: REDUCTION. Source reduction occurs when raw materials, water, and energy are used in a more efficient, sustainable way. Source reduction also includes making things less toxic. Reducing toxicity but using the same volume of product is still reduction. 

p2hierarchy_0
Instead of using the “5-R’s” to address pollution, a new hierarchy has been developed that focuses on the most effective way to manage waste: source reduction.

Pollution prevention involves reducing & reusing. Recycling is not pollution prevention because recycling does not prevent waste from being created. 

Refusing is also a method of pollution prevention. An example of refusing is to reject flyers and freebies that are being handed out in hopes of decreasing the demand and therefore the amount that will be printed the next time the flyers are being handed out. 

Some of the ways I try to prevent the creation of pollution is by:

  • Instead of driving to near-by destinations I choose to walk or bike
  • Refusing to use plastic grocery bags and instead bringing a reusable cloth bag
  • Packing a lunch in a washable container instead of purchasing lunch in packaging
  • Bringing a reusable H2O bottle, and a travel coffee mug
  • Choosing local options at the grocery store & choosing foods in season
  • Donating and purchasing clothes at a 2nd hand clothing store
  • Purchasing cleaners & detergents with less toxins, or making my own vinegar & water mix

Areas that need improvement for pollution prevention:

  • Feeding all food scraps to my cats, chickens, etc.
  • Start using a composter for the remaining food waste
  • Plant a xeriscape lawn using native plant species & less “thirsty” species
  • Hang clothing to dry rather than running a dryer
  • Make some of my own food products, such as almond milk, to prevent the purchase of the beverage carton
  • Buy more organic foods to prevent the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers

References

http://www.ccme.ca/en/resources/pollution_prevention.html

http://www.epa.gov/p2

http://www.p2.org/about/what-is-pollution-prevention/

http://zerowaste.uoregon.edu/Pollution_Prevention.htm

image: http://wp.istc.illinois.edu/blog/2015/09/14/get-ready-for-pollution-prevention-week-2015/

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