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New Approaches Sought for Waste Reduction and Recycling

EPA announced nine new innovative projects from around the country to test creative approaches to waste minimization, energy recovery, recycling and land revitalization that may be replicated across various industries, communities and regions. Examples of projects include: collecting old computers; applying a renewable energy source to groundwater cleanup technology; and transforming a brownfields site into an urban wetlands ecosystem with a “green” parking plaza. EPA’s announcement is the third round of innovation pilots totaling $448,294. EPA spent $352,000 on the second round in May 2002; and $525,000 on the first round in July 2002. The goal is to test innovative ideas to make EPA’s waste programs more effective, analyze the results, and conduct a public education campaign.

These projects build on the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC), the Land Revitalization and the “One Cleanup” agendas. The RCC urges all Americans to embrace a resource conservation ethic of producing, purchasing and using products that are easy to recycle and consist of recycled materials. The Land Revitalization Agenda outlines over 60 specific ways to integrate land reuse and economic revitalization into EPA’s cleanup programs. The goal of the One Cleanup Program is to improve the speed, effectiveness and consistency of cleanups at all contaminated sites and ensure that EPA’s activities and results are effectively communicated to the public. The nine projects are as follows:

Collecting and Recycling Used Computers by the Reverse Distribution System - $46,541

In partnership with the Product Stewardship Institute, Staples, Inc., Massachusetts Department of Environ-mental Protection, and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, EPA will test the reverse distribution model for moving used computers from consumers to recyclers rather than to disposal. Reverse distribution will collect the computers through the same infrastructure used to deliver the products to the customer making it convenient for households and businesses.

Collaborative Partnership to Effect Significant Environmental Performance and Compliance Improvements in the Healthcare Sector - $74,040

In partnership with the American Hospitals Association, American Nurses Association, Healthcare without Harm, and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), EPA will include environmental compliance and performance information into the JCAHO survey and accreditation process.

Rails-to-Trails Conversion Resource Guide - $37,440

In partnership with the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and the communities of Malden, Everett, Woburn, and Waltham, Massachusetts, EPA will develop a resource guide about case studies of potential environmental contamination issues along rail lines in multiple jurisdictions.

Florida Green Lodging Certification Program’s Web Locator and Green Information Service - $30,000

In partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Earth 911, EPA will work to enhance the state’s green lodging certification program with a website to identify certified green hotel/motel properties.

Potential Recycling of Medium Density Fiberboard - $27,225

In partnership with the University of Tennessee, EPA will determine if the formaldehyde portion of the urea formaldehyde (UF) resin from ground- up fiberboard poses a risk to human health or can be safely recycled.

Financial Benchmarks for Recycling Businesses - $65,000

In partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, North Carolina Department of Environmental Protection, Minnesota Bankers Association and AMPros Corporation, EPA will analyze financial data from recycling companies to provide industry-specific benchmark information. The benchmark will be a financial risk management tool to make informed decisions about recycling investments.

An Integrated “Green” Parking Lot and Urban Wetlands - $50,000

In partnership with Heifer International, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Economic Development Fund, Down-town Partnership of Little Rock, the City of Little Rock and Pulaski County, EPA will develop an innovative design for converting a former industrial property to an urban wetlands ecosystem with a “green” parking plaza.

Powering Groundwater Cleanup by a Renewable Energy Source - $74,244

In partnership with the University of Missouri at Rolla, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bergey Wind Systems, EPA will test the use of a renewable energy source (wind turbines) to power a groundwater cleanup technology.

National Paint Product Stewardship Dialogue - $43,804

In partnership with the Product Stewardship Institute, numerous major paint manufacturers, retailers, and various state and local government agencies, EPA will work with stakeholders to reduce paint waste; develop ways to collect, reuse, and recycle surplus paint; and develop sustainable financing systems to cover management costs of the program.

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