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Sustainable Materials Management EPA Briefing for “Building Innovation Through Partnerships: Apps for the Environment Challenge” Elizabeth Resek, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency November 8, 2011
Sustainable Materials Management SMM is an approach to promote sustainable materials use, integrating actions targeted at reducing negative environmental impacts and preserving natural capital throughout the life-cycle of materials, taking into account economic efficiency and social equity.-OECD Working Group on Waste Prevention and Recycling Sources: World Wildlife Federation, Living Planet Report (2006); UNEP International Resource Panel; EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead (2009).
Sustainable Materials ManagementSystems Thinking “What I am announcing today is not an initiative, program, or project. It is the beginning of a new approach. It is a step toward the more effective pursuit of all of our work, including our statutory requirements, by incorporating sustainability into our foundations.” Source: Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks to the National Academy of Sciences, November 30, 2010 “Because environmental and human health issues have become more complex, our approaches must change... only by systems thinking and integrative approaches will we be able to solve these challenging problems.” Source: Paul Anastas, Office of Research and Development Assistant Administrator By considering system-wide impacts, life-cycle materials management casts a far broader net than traditional waste and chemicals management approaches and represents a change in how we think about environmental protection. Source: U.S. EPA. “Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead.” 2009.
Sustainable Materials ManagementImportance To ensure availability of and access to needed materials To be competitive in the world economy To effectively address environmental challenges To ensure national security
Sustainable Materials Management The significant impacts of materials, products, and services can: • Be concentrated in a single stage of the life cycle (e.g., VOCs released in use phase, or metal emissions from blast furnaces) • Occur across multiple stages of the life cycle (e.g., chemicals in various processing steps) • Be the sum total of lots of small upstream impacts • Arise in the life cycle of the “support systems” (e.g., transportation, energy)
Sustainable Materials ManagementPossible Apps? • For a given product: • - What’s the total amount of materials used to make it? • - What’s the entire amount of waste generated throughout the life cycle? • Mapping Composting Outlets • Mapping Food Donation Locations • Mapping the nearest certified recycler for electronics • Scanning barcodes on household products to provide information on end-of-life options
Sustainable Materials ManagementResources • Recycled content suggestions for federal procurements (which could also be suggestions for procurement outside the federal government). • The CSV files can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/cpg/rman-csv/index.htm • Information about this program is also available at: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/cpg/about.htm • An existing tool created by EPA is located at: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/cpg/products/index.htm • Reducing, reusing and recycling are only part of the story, (there are also water and energy efficiency, safer chemical products, etc. Another website which focuses on environmentally preferable products: http://www.epa.gov/epp/includes information on: • Finding and evaluating green products • Tools for Green purchasing • Markets for buying and selling reusable and recyclable commodities are called Exchanges. International, national and state exchange information can be found through: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/exchange.htm • Resources for recycling in various sectors: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/localgov/sectors/index.htm • How do I recycle my... :http://www.epa.gov/wastes/wycd/howdoirecyclemy.htm • What you can do regarding waste management: http://www.epa.gov/wastes/wycd/index.htm • iWarm - http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/tools/iwarm/index.htm