The Chesapeake Executive Council recognized four businesses and one individual this year for their efforts to protect the Chesapeake through participation in the "Businesses for the Bay" program.

Businesses for the Bay is the Bay Program's voluntary initiative for businesses and government facilities within the watershed to protect the environment and reduce operating costs through pollution prevention. More than 230 businesses have joined the program, and more than 70 individuals have volunteered as Business-to-Business mentors to provide free, technical assistance to other program participants.

The Executive Council's Businesses for the Bay Excellence Awards acknowledges outstanding work in implementing pollution prevention activities. This year's winners were:

  • Small Business: Parker's Exxon, Washington, D.C. This 17-employee automotive service station reclaims and recycles antifreeze and turns a profit by selling the recycled product to customers. It recycles used oil filters by selling them to an independent recycling company. To eliminate waste water, it uses environmentally safe cleaning products instead of water, thereby preventing waste water from entering the Bay. All employees are trained in pollution prevention. As an incentive to prevent pollution, employees are treated to lunch with the income generated from their recycling efforts.
  • Medium Business: Hercules Inc. /Hopewell Plant, Hopewell, VA. This 380-employee plant manufactures cellulose derivatives - products based on cellulose, a renewable resource from trees and cotton. In 1997, the plant completed a $3 million project to provide environmental upgrades for the storage and transfer of two highly flammable raw materials, thereby eliminating air and sewer discharge of these chemicals. It also installed new process equipment and instrumentation resulting in reduced solvent emissions to the air and fewer spills. An employee suggestion changed how solvents are metered, cutting waste generation 60 percent. Ongoing employee activities include a nursery for streambank restoration, backyard conservation workshops, wild-life habitat demonstrations and nature trail building. It has also helped other businesses in the area minimize waste generation and improve habitats.
  • Large Business: Northrop Grumman Corp./Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector, Linthicum, MD. This facility employs more than 7,400 people to design and build advanced electronics products. By using alternative products, it has reduced the use of metal-cutting lubricants and alkaline cleaners and eliminated the use of solvents as a metal degreaser. It uses paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds and equipment that allows it to apply less paint to products without reducing quality. Employees are trained and encouraged to find pollution prevention opportunities and to form teams to seek solutions. It also participates in the Businesses for the Bay Mentoring Program.
  • Mentor of the Year Award: Robert Dunn, E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Company, Inc., Richmond, VA. As the Virginia state environmental affairs man- ager, Dunn is in charge of environmental operations and compliance for Dupont's Virginia plants. He is a member of the Bay Program's Pollution Prevention Workgroup. He has provided leadership and support to the Businesses for the Bay Mentor Program, most recently hosting a meeting of the Virginia mentors at Dupont's Spruance Plant. He has promoted Businesses for the Bay in civic organizations and trade association meetings. He has also provided technical assistance to, and recruited participants from, the local business community, local governments and Dupont's suppliers. He was recently featured in a series of public service announcements broadcast in Virginia promoting pollution prevention and Businesses for the Bay.
  • Special Recognition: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co./Lancaster West, Lancaster, PA. This facility, which employs about 1,100 people in the printing of telephone books, catalogues and magazines, has begun a plantwide program to eliminate and reduce the use of toxics. Through material substitutions and process modifications, it has achieved a 95 percent reduction in Resource Conservation & Recovery Act hazardous waste generation and an 85 percent reduction in Toxics Release Inventory chemical releases since 1991, saving $15,000 annually in disposal costs. The reductions were accomplished at a time when the facility's production increased by 60 percent.

Businesses for the Bay, which is coordinated by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, has been a nationally recognized outreach and education program. Most recently, it received the 1998 National Environmental Education Achievement Award for Pollution Prevention and Environmental Performance in a Business Setting. The award, sponsored by the nonprofit National Environmental Education & Training Foundation, goes to a program that uses environmental education and training to improve the environmental and financial performance of for-profit organizations.