The Bay Program has launched a new "Businesses for the Bay" program to recognize businesses that participate in voluntary pollution prevention programs aimed at reducing toxic pollution to the Chesapeake.

The program encourages businesses to establish measurable reductions in their use or generation of toxic chemicals, which are to be met through pollution prevention techniques, such as substituting the use of a toxic chemical with a nontoxic one.

The Bay Program hopes to have 75 percent of all businesses in the Bay watershed participating in pollution reduction efforts by the turn of the century.

Participating businesses will receive certificates and promotional materials that recognize their accomplishments, as well as special awards for businesses demonstrating outstanding achievements in pollution prevention.

"By the year 2000, our goal is to reduce all toxic chemicals in the Bay by 65 percent, and to reduce chemicals of particular concern by 75 percent," said EPA Administrator Carol Browner, chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council, which endorsed the program. "We invite the businesses of this region to join in this voluntary pollution prevention activity, to help us reach the very important goal we reaffirmed two years ago, the goal of a toxics-free Bay," she said.

The 65 percent reduction goal, as outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Basinwide Toxics Reduction and Prevention Strategy adopted by the council in 1994, covers the more than 600 chemicals on the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory list. In addition, the strategy calls for a 75 percent reduction in chemicals on the Bay Program's Toxics of Concern list, which includes 14 substances considered particularly harmful to the Chesapeake.

The 65 percent and 75 percent reductions are not expected from each facility, but from combined efforts throughout the watershed. Participants in the Businesses for the Bay program set their own reduction targets.

It is expected that such reductions, if achieved, would surpass those being achieved by businesses nationally.

The Businesses for the Bay program is being coordinated with each of the Bay states and the District of Columbia. For information, contact the Businesses for the Bay coordinator at 1-800-968-7229.

Source Reduction

  • Set a measurable reduction goal in your use/generation of toxic chemical(s).
  • Avoid overbuying and discarding unused, expired materials.
  • Practice preventative maintenance on equipment to avoid spills and leaks.
  • Change a process to eliminate the need for toxic chemicals.
  • Reduce the volume of toxic chemicals used within a process.
  • Substitute more toxic chemicals with less-toxic or non-toxic chemicals.
  • Conduct regular assessments of your facility to identify pollution prevention opportunities.
  • Train your employees on how to practice pollution prevention.

Reuse/Recycling

  • Develop and implement a recycling program.
  • Identify and employ technologies for in-house recycling of production materials.

Mentoring/Recruiting

  • Become a mentor to businesses in need of technical/financial assistance.
  • Work to recruit other businesses to join Businesses for the Bay team.