- About Us
- What We Do
- Brownfield Redevelopment
- Carbon & Climate Change
- Deconstruction & Reuse
- Energy Efficiency
- Funding & Financing
- Green Building
- Green Business Development Center
- Green Economy & Green Jobs
- Green Events & Destinations
- Green Purchasing
- Pollution Prevention
- Renewable Energy
- Sustainability & Certification
- Urban Agriculture
- Who We Serve
- Learning Center
- Support Delta
- News & Events
What Delta is Doing
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
Preventing pollution is critical for the health of millions of Americans, especially those living in urban areas where smog and other toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns. The Great Lakes are vulnerable to the effects of numerous pollutants, typically caused by runoff of soils and farm chemicals, waste from cities, discharges from industrial areas, and leachate from disposal sites. Carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions are also being recognized as forms of pollution, as evidenced by the EPA’s recent efforts to regulate CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act. Preventing the release of greenhouse gases slows the rate of climate change, allowing improved access to a clean and abundant water supply for drinking, food production, recreational use, and the continued health of our rivers, lakes, and streams.
Opportunities to prevent pollution can be found in every sector and encompass everything from waste reduction to recycling, from eliminating toxins and other harmful chemicals to the process of producing, using, and disposing of goods. Many pollution prevention methods can result in significant cost savings by conserving both energy and water, reducing wastewater and solid waste, and reducing chemical inputs.
Local and regional governments as well as public institutions such as schools, universities, and hospitals are making strides to prevent the release of toxins and other contaminants into the environment. Some communities are enacting local bans and ordinances on chemicals such as BPA, as well as nonrenewable materials, such as styrofoam containers. Green cleaning is being mandated in some sectors as a way of protecting vulnerable populations, such as schoolchildren, from exposure to hazardous substances and airborne pollutants.
Green purchasing, or buying fewer products that contain toxic materials, is another important pollution prevention strategy. Purchasers are responding to the proliferation of products with environmental claims, the creation of hundreds of new eco-labels (with varying levels of credibility), and the development of consensus standards within specific industries. But progress is hampered by lack of clear over-arching standards, confusion and skepticism produced by rampant “greenwashing,” and the perceived higher cost of green products.
As landfills fill up, new disposal options are being created for non-hazardous inorganic and organic waste. For instance, with the aid of government policies and incentives as well as sustainable building proponents, centers for collecting and reselling reclaimed building materials – such as Delta Institute’s ReBuilding Exchange – are popping up in cities throughout the U.S.
What Delta Is Doing
Delta has a long history of leadership in pollution prevention, remediation, and reuse. Currently, Delta is engaged in addressing pollution prevention in a variety of ways, including:
• Helping to capitalize upon the pollution prevention and energy efficiency measures most likely to decrease cost and resource use among small- and mid-sized manufacturers, local governments, school districts, and civic institutions.
• Developing pollution prevention strategies and programs that target specific problems, as well as negotiating pollution prevention agreements on specific pollutants.
• Partnering with units of government to develop ordinances and programs that reduce toxic use, and designing comprehensive programs that help municipalities meet environmental policy objectives.
• Starting a program to make Green Purchasing easier, more transparent, and more affordable. Starting in West Michigan with a consortium of high-volume public and private purchasers, and recently expanding into Chicago with Buying Better, Delta aims to help reduce confusion by providing verified green products and by bringing down the cost of buying green by negotiating competitive prices based on volume.
• Launching The ReBuilding Exchange--Chicago's first building material reuse center--in order to reduce the amount of construction debris entering landfills, resell reusable building materials at affordable prices, create jobs, and train hard-to-employ workers for the growing deconstruction and reuse marketplace.
Where Do You Want to GO Next?
• Green Purchasing
• Deconstruction and Reuse
• ReBuilding Exchange
To explore additional green opportunities, visit our Green Economy Navigator.