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RE: Targeting top TRI reporters for reductions

To address Melissa's comments, 

EVERY large firm that I have ever been in still has low hanging fruit to pick as 
far as P2 goes.  They just do not look for it.  Going for "bang for the buck" is 
more important.  It always helps to have an outside set of eyes coming in to ask 
questions.  Some technical assistance providers tend to go into a facility with 
answers in hand.  They do not stop to ask questions and look around because they 
are so concerned about getting a bean to count.  ("Can I get a satisfactory 
evaluation if I just ask questions?")  I have found (very unscientific means) 
that big companies are less likely to ask a lot of questions about their own 
processes than small companies.  There are many opportunities for pollution 
prevention still out there.  I visited one firm that won the Malcolm Baldridge 
Award for quality.  They told me that they were using the quality tools that I 
use in my Systems Approach and that I could not possibly find an improvement.  
Maybe it was this challenge from the plant manager, but several meaningful 
opportunities were found.  Asking good questions is the key.  Most of us need 
training to ask "dumb" (open ended) questions.  Most of us need a tool (process 
mapping) to systematically find the best questions.  Part of every training 
course that I do includes how to ask a "dumb" question.  Targeting that uses 
technical assistance providers who ask questions instead of insisting on 
providing right answers would make a VERY positive contribution to a targeting 
effort - WHETHER OR NOT the large company thought it would be worthwhile to have 
an outside party in their facility.  Sometimes addressing the low hanging fruit 
leads to more important efforts that could help remove the firm from the TRI 
listing.  I have many examples of this.  However, attacking the remaining low 
hanging fruit, in the absence of a formal plan to implement P2 with continuous 
improvement, is probably insufficient to help remove most large firms from the 
TRI listing.

Bob Pojasek
Cambridge Environmental Inc.
58 Charles St.
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 225-0812
(617) 225-0813 FAX