Office/Retail - Pollution Prevention Tips

•    Assess your office to identify ways to prevent pollution. Review the plan annually for new measures to implement.
•    Check Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and labels for all cleaning products, building maintenance materials, pesticides, and fertilizers you use. Identify safer alternatives.
•    Evaluate each area of your business to identify actual and potential sources of pollution, and ways to prevent it.
•    Call the Snohomish County Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Station at 425-388-6050 for disposal of hazardous substances not in use.

Prevent pollution in the following ways:
All Areas:
•    Locate all potential pollutants away from food preparation, service and storage areas as well as sewer and storm drains.
•    Provide containment for large amounts of liquid supplies.
•    Routinely check storage areas, pipes and equipment for leaks, spills and emissions of chemicals, paints, and cleaners; repair any deficient items found.
•    Use enclosed delivery systems for transferring cleaners and/or other chemicals to prevent spills.
•    Store any potentially hazardous materials securely, control access and rotate stock to use oldest material first.
•    Store deliveries and supplies under a roof.

•    Routinely check for leaks and establish a "ground staining" inspection routine in parking lots.
•    Keep receiving, loading docks, waste container and parking areas free of litter, oil drips and debris.
•    Keep waste containers covered when not in use.
•    Do not wash cars, equipment, floor mats or other items outside where run-off water flows straight to the storm drain; this wash water should be directed to a sewer drain.
•    Monitor subcontractors to ensure their activities are not polluting storm drains.
•    Clean parking lots by sweeping or using equipment that collects dirty water (which must be disposed of to sanitary sewer).
•    Post signs at trouble spots (e.g., loading docks, waste container areas, outside hoses) describing proper practices to prevent pollutants from reaching storm drains.
•    Label all storm water drains with “No Dumping, Drains to Stream” message.
•    Regularly check and maintain storm drain openings and basins that are located on your property. Keep litter, debris and soil away from storm drains.
•    Clean private catch basins annually, before the first rain and as needed thereafter.
•    Use shut-off valves at storm drains or keep temporary storm drain plugs at loading docks or outdoor areas for quick spill response.
•    Use secondary containment or berms in liquid storage and transfer areas to capture spills.
•    Keep a spill kit handy to catch/collect spills from leaking company or employee vehicles.
•    Use landscaping to prevent erosion problems, especially during construction or remodeling.
•    Mulch, use ground cover, or use a barrier to prevent exposed soil from washing landscaped areas into storm drain.
•    Have an outdoor ashtray or cigarette “butt” can for smokers.

Reduce chemical use in the following ways:
•    Restrict use of hazardous products by: Buying them in small quantities. Limiting access to authorized staff.
•    Use one or a few multipurpose cleaners, rather than many special-purpose cleaners.
•    Replace harmful products with safer alternatives. List specific replacements for Disinfectants, Sanitizers, and cleaners.
•    Replace aerosols with pump dispensers.
•    Buy recycled paint and low VOC products when available (paint, paint removal products, etc.).
•    Buy cleaners, paints, batteries, and other supplies in optimally sized containers for your office to avoid unnecessary packaging, as well as left-over and expired materials!
•    Replace standard fluorescent lights with low or no mercury fluorescent lights.
•    Use rechargeable batteries and appliances, such as hand-held vacuum cleaners and flashlights.
•    Use recycled oil for vehicles/equipment.
•    Use unbleached and/or chlorine-free paper products (copy paper, paper towels, napkins, coffee filters, etc.).
•    Replace toxic permanent ink markers/pens with water-based ones.
•    Print promotional materials with vegetable or other low-VOC inks.
•    Use natural or low emissions building materials, carpets or furniture.
•    Use electric (not gas) powered tools.
•    Use wet scraping, tenting or HEPA-vac instruments to reduce dust and debris when removing paint; avoid chemical paint stripping.
•    Use high-efficiency paint spray equipment.
•    Do business with other “green” vendors or services. Eliminate or reduce use of chemical pesticides by implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program:

  • Specify in pest control contracts that primary pest management methods include non-chemical pest prevention and pest exclusion.
  • Use traps, barriers and less toxic pesticides (such as soaps, oils, microbials and baits). Apply on an as-needed (vs. set) schedule.
  • Set up storage and sanitation procedures and planting, irrigation and cultivation (e.g., pest-resistant plants) to discourage pests.

Recycle/reuse the following potential pollutants :
•    Excess paint/solvents (keep only what’s needed for touch ups, then give remainder to hazardous waste collection program, donate to anti-graffiti program, or return to contractor or manufacturer).
•    Used copier toner cartridges (take back to supplier or send back to manufacturer for recycling or refilling).
•    Ink jet cartridges (send or take back for recycling or refilling).
•    Car fluids from company vehicles.
•    Donate for reuse (not just recycle) electronic equipment, such as computers, phones, pagers, etc.

Reduce vehicle emissions in the following ways:
•    When possible, arrange for a single vendor who makes deliveries for several items.
•    Patronize services close to your business (e.g., food/catering, copy center, etc.) and encourage employees to do the same.
•    Carefully plan delivery routes to eliminate unnecessary trips.
•    Keep company vehicles well maintained to prevent leaks and minimize emissions; encourage customers to do the same.

Commute Alternatives
•    Make transit schedules, commuter ride sign-ups, etc. available to staff.  
•    Offer telecommuting opportunities and/or flexible schedules so workers can avoid heavy traffic commutes.
•    Hire locally.

Commute Alternatives for Larger Employers
•    Offer lockers and showers for staff who walk, jog or bicycled to work.
•    Offer secure bicycle storage for staff and customers.
•    Offer employee incentives for carpooling or using mass transit (e.g. guaranteed ride home or subsidized transit passes).
•    Set aside car/van pool parking spaces.
•    Provide commuter van.
•    Encourage bicycling to work by offering rebates on bicycles bought for commuting.
•    Offer a shuttle service to and from bus stops or ferry terminal.

Other Greenhouse Gas Emissions
•    Complete a CO2 or eco-footprint calculator to determine your own greenhouse gas emissions.
•    Convert company vehicles to low emission vehicles (electric, hybrid, natural gas or alternative fuels).
•    Offer electric vehicle recharge ports for visitors and staff using electric vehicles.
•    Use biodiesel (100% or blends) or vegetable diesel in place of petro diesel in vehicles.
•    Install renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind generators.


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