Pollution prevention and waste minimization provides everyone an opportunity to be environmentally responsible. Pollution prevention reduces waste at its source while waste minimization includes recycling and other methods that reduce the amount of waste to ultimately be disposed of.
Pollution prevention begins with the individual. Information and ideas regarding pollution prevention (PDF format) can be found on the American Chemical Society website.
In June 2000, President Likins recommitted the University of Arizona to pollution prevention and waste minimization by signing the following policy statement.
University of Arizona Policy Statement on Pollution Prevention
The University of Arizona is committed to excellence in protecting the environment. Our objective is to reduce the use of hazardous materials and the subsequent generation of hazardous waste to the greatest extent feasible. We strive to minimize adverse impact on the air, water, and land through excellence in pollution prevention and effective waste management. By preventing pollution at its source, we can help maintain a safe and healthy environment, with the additional benefits of direct cost savings and increased operational efficiencies.
Environmental protection is everyone's responsibility and must be incorporated into all University activities. A Pollution Prevention Plan has been prepared that articulates our strategy and establishes specific goals for the accomplishment of the task.
The University of Arizona is committed to the implementation of the Pollution Prevention Plan and attainment of the goals therein. The principles on which the University's waste management and pollution prevention efforts are based follow:
- Preventing pollution by reducing and eliminating the generation of hazardous waste at the source is an important consideration in the development and implementation of academic programs, research activities, maintenance activities, and other University operations.
- Technologies and methods that substitute non-hazardous material and/or utilize other source reduction approaches will be given top priority in implementing pollution prevention strategies.
- Processes that utilize hazardous materials will be reviewed periodically to identify opportunities for pollution prevention such as substitution, recycling, reuse, or scale reduction.
- Employees who work with hazardous materials will be provided information on pollution prevention concepts and will be encouraged to continually seek new opportunities for pollution prevention in their areas of responsibility.
- Hazardous waste generation that cannot be avoided will be managed in a prudent manner that minimized impact to the environment, achieves regulatory compliance, and minimizes institutional liability.
Peter W. Likins, President
The Department of Risk Management Services (RMS) has been designated as the coordinator for UA pollution prevention efforts. Following are areas with specific goals for pollution prevention.
Mercury is a toxic metal that can be hazardous via any route of entry into the body: ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption. If left uncontained, spilled mercury will slowly vaporize over time at room temperature, contaminating the air in the vicinity.
The most common type of mercury release is from broken thermometers, particularly in the -20o to 110o C temperature range. RMS has a thermometer exchange program in place for thermometers in this temperature range. If you are interested in exchanging thermometers or removing mercury from the workplace please contact Jeff Christensen at 621-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In conjunction with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, UA RMS developed a booklet entitled Laboratory Pollution Prevention. This booklet contains general information regarding pollution prevention for research and teaching labs. Download a copy here.