For more than 25 years, pollution prevention has played a key role in Virginia's efforts to protect the environment. DEQ’s Office of Pollution Prevention hosts a number of programs and initiatives that serve as a conduit for non-regulatory assistance to businesses, institutions and communities. These efforts are aimed at motivating Virginia facilities to minimize their environmental footprint through actions that often exceed requirements while enhancing their bottom line.
P2 staff develops voluntary programs that are targeted to a specific sector or issue in order to appeal to the specific needs of a given set of facilities. Voluntary programs and partnerships create opportunities for assistance, awards, and public recognition. Below is a brief summary of each initiative.
A quality Environmental Management System (EMS) can greatly assist a company in managing its environmental activities. DEQ's Office of Pollution Prevention has promoted the development and use of EMSs as a method for achieving long-term environmental improvement, hopefully by means of source reduction. In an effort to assist these companies, DEQ has developed the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP). Participation in VEEP is voluntary, and the program offers recognition, assistance, and incentives to encourage the development of EMS by businesses, manufacturers, government agencies, and other organizations.
Virginia Green is a partnership program between DEQ, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association developed to promote pollution prevention practices in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Virginia Information Source for Energy (VISE) is the Office of Pollution Prevention's web site dedicated to energy resources. Energy conservation and renewable energy technologies are important to Virginia's environmental and economic health as well as to the health of Virginians. Conventional energy produced from the burning of fossil fuels results in pollutants being emitted to the air. These emissions can be health hazards and contribute to the deposition of pollutants on land and in water. Conservation and the promotion of cleaner renewable energy technologies can reduce the environmental impact of Virginia's energy needs and help reduce dependence on fuels from foreign countries.
Mercury is an element that as a pollutant is at or near the top of the EPA's lists of "PBTs," those elements which are the most "persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic" and therefore pose the greatest risks to the environment and the public. As a result, DEQ has worked to promote and coordinate statewide efforts to reduce or eliminate the use of mercury and mercury-containing products and to collect unused elemental mercury for proper management and recycling. For more information, contact Sharon Baxter or visit the mercury reduction website.
The Virginia Regional Environmental Management System (V-REMS) is a partnership of more than 60 federal, state, and local public and private organizations that collaborate to address regional community and environmental issues. The innovative partnership strengthens community relationships and promotes environmental sustainability by reducing air emissions, improving water quality, and minimizing waste in the areas where its partners operate.