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RE: The real definition
Just to show how stretched definitions can get, I cringed when I heard a
speaker from a citizen's environmental action group this past week use the
term "sustainable development" to refer to what we would call P2 activities
rather than to any of the low tech economic development issues that term
usually refers to. That way they could sell the idea that the developed
world has more to learn from the undeveloped world in this area than the
other way around. Just goes to show that any debate over a couple of
competing definitions-- such as P2 vs SR-- is likely to be ignored (or not
even known about) by another party who may use another reinvented term if it
suits its agenda or audience.
From: Callahan, Mike[SMTP:Mike.Callahan@jacobs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 1997 3:42 PM
To: KENNY D STEWARD
Subject: RE: The real definition
Check out the May 1992 issue (Vol 42, No. 5) of the AWMA Journal. Harry
Freeman et al. discuss "Industrial Pollution Prevention: A Critical
Review". There is a good discussion over definition and how some people
see the need for strict and rigorous definitions while others think its
a whole waste of time.
My personal view is that too many forests have been lost fighting over
words. Just wait a few years, and a whole new set of buzz words will be
in use. We see it already with "industrial ecology", "environmental
benchmarking", etc. We basically continue to do the same thing over and
over, only our focus changes each time. When we prepared the USEPA
Waste Min Opportunity Assessment Manual, the format and procedures were
based on many successful efficiency improvement programs from the past.
Each had its own set of definitions, but the basic concepts were the
I also hate to get into "approved" or "official" definitions because
they are often colored by outside influences. The term "Waste Min" is a
good example. Table E in the manual presents a wide range of Waste Min
options. Included are ways to reduce solid waste generation, liquid
wastes, wastewater discharges, and air emissions. In preparing the
manual, Waste Min applied to all media, not just RCRA waste. The
multi-media aspect of a Waste Min program was critical so that waste
would not be transfered from one media to another. The founding charter
of RCRA made it a primary goal to conserve resources (hence Resource
Conservation) and this requires a multi-media approach.
However, the regulatory arena in which this work was conducted required
the term Waste Min to be limited to RCRA hazardous waste only. To apply
it more globally would be stepping outside RCRA authority. It took the
Pollution Prevention Act to make the official scope multi-media. And
with any new Act, you need new official definitions. Well, thats my two
(or three) cents worth.
From: KENNY D STEWARD
Subject: The real definition
Date: Tuesday, April 29, 1997 7:11AM
Perhaps this question has been posed before. However, I have no
recollection of discussions concerning it. I don't believe I have found
terms "source reduction" (SR) and "pollution prevention" (P2) defined.
We all know what SR is and even how to do it. But many people call P2
different things. For some people, P2 is SR only. For others P2
waste minimization and treatment activities. Does anyone have a
of a definition of these two terms?
Thanks and happy searching!