Environmental Compliance Pollution Prevention, Waste Minimization and Recycling



Pollution Prevention/Source Reduction

Pollution prevention means not generating waste in the first place by reducing, eliminating, or substituting it at the source.  P2 focuses on source reduction and is the highest goal to strive for.


  1. Practice “just in time” purchasing for chemicals.  Buy only quantities of supplies that you will be able to use within 1-2 years.  Avoid bulk-sized purchases – the money you save initially will be far outweighed by disposal costs and procedures at the end!
  2. Purchase and use non-hazardous (or less hazardous) alternative chemicals when possible.
  3. Require that future purchases of equipment include the disposal costs of old equipment that is being replaced.  Find a supplier who can deliver small amounts of chemicals on short notice and who will accept unopened chemicals that are returned.


Waste Minimization/Recycling

Waste minimization includes recycling and other means to reduce the amount of waste that must be treated and/or disposed.  Waste minimization addresses “end of pipe” reduction or reuse potential.


  1. Utilize the UH Electronic Swapmeet.  Check the Swapmeet before purchasing or disposing of chemicals or equipment – somebody may have or need your item!
  2. Solvent recovery – If you regularly generate spent solvents, recovery can be very cost-effective, as well as environmentally sound.  Spent solvents that are properly segregated can be easily distilled in-house to a high purity that will allow multiple reuse of the same batch of solvent.  Many solvents are excellent candidates for distillation, including xylene, methanol, acetone, and toluene.  Some exceptions are peroxide-forming solvents, which should not be distilled, and ethanol, which may require a permit for distillation.
  3. Metal recovery – Practice methods to recover heavy metals such as mercury and silver.  Some suppliers may take back such wastes for credit and/or recovery.


Links & Web Resources


National Sites

Ÿ       EPA’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Website

Ÿ       Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange

Ÿ       National Pollution Prevention Roundtable


Local Sites

Ÿ       Refuse/Recycling Information from UH Manoa’s Landscaping Department

Ÿ       City & County of Honolulu, Department of Environmental Services, Refuse Division (opala.org)

Ÿ       Hawaii State Department of Health, Solid & Hazardous Waste Branch, Pollution Prevention Program