Federal Programs that Reward Innovative Environmental Protection
Over the years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) has implemented several programs that reward companies for innovation that produces environmentally preferable products or production methods. These incentives reward innovation through financing, assistance in marketing, and regulatory flexibility. Through these initiatives, companies can receive financial assistance, technical assistance, and/or regulatory flexibility as incentives to find cost-effective ways of protecting the environment. These initiatives include:
Design for the Environment Program
Green Chemistry Program;
Cleaner Technology Substitutes Assessment); and the
Environmental Technology Verification Program.
Design for the Environment
The USEPA created the Design for the Environment (“DfE”) program in 1991 to promote the incorporation of environmental considerations (such as pollution prevention) into the design of products, manufacturing processes, and technical and management systems. Under the umbrella of the DfE program, USEPA has developed several partnerships with industry, professional organizations, universities, and state and local governments. These partnerships include the Green Chemistry Program, the Cleaner Technology Substitutes Assessment, and efforts to obtain financing for pollution prevention by small and mid-sized businesses.
Green Chemistry Program
The Green Chemistry Program is designed “to promote innovative chemical technologies that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of the hazardous substances and the design, manufacture, and use of chemical products.” The idea behind Green Chemistry is to not create pollution in the first place which came out of the Federal Pollution Prevention Act passed in 1990. The Green Chemistry Program promotes the development and use of green chemistry by:
Funding for Academic Research
Funding for Small Businesses; and
Research by the EPA
In addition, the Green Chemistry Program promotes the annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. This award recognizes chemical technologies that incorporate green chemistry into chemical design and manufacture to prevent pollution in the manufacture, design, or use of chemicals. Information about the award categories and the selection criteria is available on the EPA website.
Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessments
Under the DfE program, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) (renamed Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention) has partnered with several industrial organizations to identify cost-effective methods to incorporate pollution prevention into specific manufacturing processes. These partnerships have led to the development of several Cleaner Technology Substitutes Assessments (“CTSAs”), which identify alternate manufacturing technologies and provide detailed environmental, performance, and economic information associated with each technology.