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Pollution Prevention Includes the Whole Process

ZWNEnvironment, health and safety managers that merely keep their companies in compliance will forever be relegated to the “end of the pipe.”

But understanding the entire manufacturing process will help the team devise solutions that impact the bottom line.

Thomas Vinson, the senior program coordinator for the Zero Waste Network at the Center for Environmental Excellence at the University of Texas, Arlington, laid out some simple rules in Greenbiz with these five rules:

1. Know what’s important. Step back from managing the drum and look around at the organization you are in.

2. Find the relief valve. As the economy rebounds and hiring stays stagnant, many businesses we work with have more work and fewer people. Suggest changes to the process flow, to decrease rework and lower the company’s liability.”

3. Draw a process map (and don’t do it alone). Break your plant’s activities into discrete pieces and define all of the inputs and outputs from each process.

4. Don’t try to sell management on polar bears.  Make a case for change without saying, “This is the right thing to do.” Instead say, “This makes business sense,” and explain how the pollution affects the bottom line.

5. Know your worth — and make sure they do, too.  Making the connection between pollution and activities is the first and most important step in finding ways to prevent pollution, rather than just managing it.


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