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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for Period April 2001 to March 2002

4. Pollution Prevention

4.1 Pollution Prevention Plans

The Act allows the Minister to require any person to prepare and implement a pollution prevention (P2) plan to avoid or minimize pollution and wastes, and to reduce the overall risk to the environment or human health. The Minister may also require pollution prevention plans from Canadian sources of international air and water pollution for substances not on the List of Toxic Substances, with the approval of the Governor in Council, and if the government responsible for the area in which the pollution source is located cannot or will not take action.

Initial work to use pollution prevention planning during 2001-02 occurred in the following areas:

  • Acrylonitrile - In March 2002, Environment Canada completed a risk management strategy for acrylonitrile, a toxic substance under CEPA 1999, that is used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber. The strategy proposed P2 planning to reduce releases from synthetic rubber manufacturing facilities, the largest source of emission source of the substance.

  • Dichloromethane - In July 2001, Environment Canada held an information session to inform stakeholders of proposed P2 planning to reduce releases of dichloromethane, a toxic substance under CEPA 1999, from five targeted industrial sectors. The target is a combined 85% reduction in emissions from these sectors by 2007. The sectors include aircraft paint stripping, flexible polyurethane foam blowing, pharmaceutical and chemical intermediates, adhesive formulations, and industrial cleaning. dcm-gaz1/en/index.cfm

  • Nonylphenol and its ethoxylates - In 2001-02, Environment Canada initiated development on the use of P2 plans for textile mill effluents and nonylphenol and its ethoxylates, both toxic substances under CEPA 1999. The objective is a 97% reduction in use from the textile sector.

What Is Pollution Prevention?

Pollution prevention is the use of processes, practices, materials, products, or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste and reduce overall risk to human health or the environment. It represents a shift in the way we do business, emphasizing prevention instead of clean-up.

4.2 Pollution Prevention Programs

CCME Pollution Prevention Awards

The Act allows the Minister to establish programs that publicly recognize significant achievements in the area of pollution prevention. Rather than establishing a separate program, Environment Canada is participating in the CCME Pollution Prevention Awards Program, which recognizes organizations that have shown leadership and innovation in pollution prevention - the use of processes, practices, materials, products, or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste at the source. There were six award winners in 2001:

  • Dana Canada (Spicer Driveshaft Division) (Overall Efforts for a Medium-sized Business) - The Spicer Driveshaft Division is responsible for the design, production, assembly, and application of automotive driveshafts and related components and services. A process improvement approach led to reductions in nitrogen oxide and other contaminant emissions by 60%.
  • IBM Canada (Bromont Plant) (Overall Efforts for a Large Business - IBM Canada developed a no-clean flux process that eliminated the need for perchloroethylene parts cleaning. This initiative eliminated the need for chemical solvent cleaning and led to a 20% reduction in manufacturing cycle time and annual savings of $1.5 million. The plant also eliminated cyanide hazardous waste, reused energy, reduced water consumption, and minimized chemical treatment requirements.
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital (Overall Efforts for an Institution, Organization, or Group) - This health care facility has developed a comprehensive Environmental Management System and was the first hospital in North America to be certified as ISO 14001 compliant. The hospital has had a 20% reduction in biomedical wastes in each of two years since certification and has implemented an Integrated Pest Management Program. It also initiated a mercury-free medicine campaign to phase out mercury-containing products and eliminate releases of mercury to the environment.
  • Calgary Transit (Pollution Prevention Innovations) - The "Ride the Wind" project is the first wind-powered light rail transit system in North America. The entire fleet of 100 cars will be driven by wind-generated power for the next 10 years. This project will avoid the generation of 26 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and will significantly reduce other air pollutants.
  • Dana Canada (Thorold Frame Plant) (Co-winner for Greenhouse Gas Reductions) - The facility is responsible for manufacturing automotive components and assemblies for light vehicle structures. Reformulation of a draw compound and parts washing soap has resulted in reduction in employee skin irritation, water consumption, and wastewater treatment. There were annual savings of more than $20 000 in energy costs and 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Coquitlam School District 43 (Co-winner for Greenhouse Gas Reductions) - The School District 43 consists of 75 schools, representing 3.7 million square feet and serving the needs of 32 000 students. The district has reduced energy consumption per unit area by almost 12.9% and emissions per unit by 13.6%. Absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 5.7% have been achieved.

Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics

The voluntary Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics (ARET) Program, which ran from 1995 to 2000, was a voluntary, non-regulatory program that targeted 117 toxic substances, including the virtual elimination of 30 substances that persist in the environment and may accumulate in living organisms. Participating facilities (318 in total) reported final calendar year results in July 2001. The results indicate that, as a whole, ARET participants reported a combined reduction in releases of all ARET substances, totalling 27 825 tonnes.

In 2001-02, work continued on the development of the ARET 2 Program, which will incorporate a new program design and improvements over the initial ARET. It addresses the recommendations of the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development to develop performance criteria and also incorporates the principles and criteria contained in Environment Canada's Policy Framework for Environmental Performance Agreements.

Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) addresses what many regard as the weakest link in the product responsibility chain - the final disposal of products after their sale and use by consumers. Under EPR, the responsibility for post-consumer products is extended to the producer of the product - a responsibility that has been traditionally held by municipalities and taxpayers. In March 2001, Environment Canada launched the Extended Producer Responsibility and Stewardship Web site. The Web site includes an inventory of national, regional, and provincial initiatives that integrate these concepts in waste diversion programs for post-consumer packaging materials and products.

Publications released in 2001-02 include A Guidance Manual for Establishing, Maintaining and Improving Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs) in Canada, and Assessing When and How to Implement Extended Producer Responsibility. Examples of projects undertaken by Environment Canada's regional offices in 2001-02 include:

  • Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) Recovery and Destruction Program - Environment Canada negotiated a national industry-led CFC recovery and destruction program with the refrigerants industry. Industry began implementing levies on refrigerant sales in February 2001, and began collecting CFCs from commercial stationary heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning equipment in January 2002.
  • Electronics Equipment Recovery Program - Environment Canada worked closely with the electronics industry, other federal government departments, provincial and territorial governments, and municipalities to negotiate a national industry-led product recovery program for end-of-life electronics equipment. Industry released a preliminary roadmap in March 2002 that documents a draft management strategy and targets Canada-wide implementation by 2007.
  • Take-back Program for Mercury Fever Thermometers - Environment Canada is negotiating a national take-back program for mercury fever thermometers with pharmacies, retailers, and distributors. In a month-long pilot project, 1500 thermometers, containing an estimated 390 grams of mercury, were recovered at over 100 participating pharmacies in Ontario.

Promoting Pollution Prevention

There are numerous outreach programs across the country to educate and enable citizens, and provide pollution prevention tools to help industries to voluntarily reduce their impacts on the environment.

In 2001-02, several fact sheets were developed on pollution prevention:

  • The Nuts and Bolts of P2;
  • P2 Planning - The Basics;
  • Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse; and
  • Canadian P2 Success Stories.

Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse

The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse, authorized under CEPA 1999, section 63, is a comprehensive Internet tool that links Canadians with the information they need to practice or support pollution prevention. The Clearinghouse provides access to a variety of pollution prevention documents, such as technical reports, guides, regulations, training materials, and success stories. The Web site has been enhanced to reflect the growing interest in pollution prevention, with new sections on CEPA 1999, funding, and planning. It now includes over 1300 pollution prevention references classified under 40 different industrial sectors.

Environment Canada has developed regional outreach activities directed at small and medium-sized enterprises to promote pollution prevention. The aim is to reduce the use and release of toxic substances and to encourage companies to take a more systems-based approach to improving environmental performance. Examples of projects undertaken by Environment Canada's Regional Offices in 2001-02 include:

  • EcoDesign Innovation Pilot Program - The Pacific and Yukon Region launched the EcoDesign Innovation pilot program to help small and medium-sized enterprises find ways to become more competitive through process efficiency. Eight companies participated in the pilot, which provided matching funds to pay for a qualified consultant. The program will reduce solid waste by 142 tonnes, natural gas use by 8525 gigajoules, electricity use by 225 900 kilowatt-hours, water use by 56 712 cubic metres, wastewater releases by 56 712 cubic metres, hazardous materials by 13 400 cubic metres, and greenhouse gas emissions by 480 tonnes.

  • P2 and Remote Resource Extraction - The Prairie and Northern Region is developing P2 expertise, resources, tools, and materials for the oil and gas sectors in the remote and ecologically fragile areas of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. A background report identifying the environmental impacts and P2 opportunities was updated and distributed. Presentations were given on opportunities to implement P2 for the oil and gas industry. A stakeholder meeting was also held to present and discuss environmental concerns relating to drilling fluid management for northern oil and gas development.

  • Regional Corporate Smog Action Plan - Environment Canada, in collaboration with Health Canada and Public Works Canada, is reducing emissions of smog precursors from its operations through the Corporate Smog Action Plan. In 2001, the regional plan was piloted at Ontario Region's Downsview facility. Staff were notified approximately 20 times of smog advisories during 2001-02. Based on preliminary results of questionnaires, 58% of respondents used alternate modes of transportation such as carpooling; 72% avoided using small gas engines such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers; 59% suspended use of solvents and pesticides; and 27% avoided refuelling their cars between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on smog days. These actions resulted in a reduction of approximately 5800 kilograms of pollutants. The program will be extended throughout southern Ontario.

  • Mercury Recovery Program - Ontario Region conducted a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility of recovering mercury from appliances going to waste disposal. During the pilot project in Niagara Falls, 1314 appliances, such as chests freezer, washing machines, some gas appliances, were collected, of which 9% contained mercury switches. An estimated 14 765 tonnes of white goods are collected in Ontario each year, which potentially represents 147.6 kilograms of mercury that could be recovered. The success of this project has led other municipalities in Canada and the United States to implement mercury switch/sensor recovery procedures.

  • EnviroClub - In 2001-02, two EnviroClub events took place in Quebec (Saguenay Lac-St-Jean 2000 and Centre du Québec). The EnviroClub encourages small and medium-sized companies to take leadership in implementing pollution prevention and eco-efficiency initiatives. So far, participating companies have reduced VOC emissions by 94.3 tons per year, hazardous wastes by 508 tons per year, and use of petroleum products by 1.3 million litres.

  • EnviroClub for Federal Facilities - Launched by the Quebec Region in 2001, this project will help representatives from federal facilities, who are involved with environment management or operational management, to carry out pollution prevention projects within their organizations. The project includes training and awareness in pollution prevention, facility visits to identify pollution prevention opportunities, and implementation and follow-up with each partner. In 2001-02, six workshops were given and three pollution prevention projects were implemented.

  • Mercury Use Pattern Survey - Working with the province of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Region conducted a mercury use pattern survey and sampled the wastewater from 17 hospitals. Despite efforts by some facilities to reduce mercury use wastewater concentrations of mercury remain high. This may be due to residual mercury collected in plumbing systems. Work is currently under way to track mercury through hospital plumbing systems and to identify specific P2 opportunities at two provincial hospitals.

  • Environmental Technology Verification Program - The program promotes the marketability and credibility of Canada's environment industry by providing validation and independent verification of performance claims. The program fosters innovation and provides industries with the tools to protect the environment and promote pollution prevention. Since its inception in 1997, 39 certificates have been issued under the program. Five certificates were awarded during 2001-02.
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