The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 established a national policy to prevent or reduce pollution at its source whenever feasible. The goal of the Pollution Prevention Act is to reduce waste at the source, before it is generated. By changing the way we use products and resources we can prevent pollution and often save money in the process. Specific benefits of P2 activities include:
- Cleaner air and water
- Less solid waste in landfills
- Conservation of natural resources
- Reduced soil erosion
- Savings on electric and water bills
Pollution Prevention is strong at the University led by the Brown is Green program.
Pollution Prevention activities has also been implemented in the Chemistry Curriculum by microscaling undergraduate laboratory experiments. The microscaling approach dramatically reduces quantities of chemicals used in common laboratory demonstrations while preserving or improving the level of learning that occurs.
Microscale chemistry is a pollution prevention method that decreases the amount of chemical waste generated during laboratory experiments. Standard chemistry procedures have been re-written for individual experiments and specialized microscale equipment is utilized to perform the work. Microscaling has the following benefits:
- Reduce chemical waste produced at the source.
- Improve laboratory safety by decreasing potential exposure to chemicals and reducing fire and explosion hazards.
- Improve air quality due to greatly reduced volumes of solvents and other volatile substances used.
- Reduce laboratory costs for chemical purchase and disposal.
- Reduce the time required to perform experiments due to shorter chemical reaction times.
- Decrease the amount of storage space necessary for chemicals.
- Encourage students to think about waste minimization.
- Decrease disposal costs for the university
- Increase environmental awareness for the university
The Brown University chemistry Department has also implemented a Chemical Environmental Management System which has inventoried all chemicals present in the department. This program encourages the sharing of chemicals and reduces purchasing of chemicals that may already be in the Department inventory.