EPA Awards MSU Nearly $500,000 Grant to Fund Pollution Prevention Projects

Oct 26, 2020

Via MSU News Service

Montana State University has received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help Montana food and beverage manufacturers reduce waste and adopt other strategies that can lessen environmental impact.

MSU, working with the Montana Pollution Prevention Program and Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, will use the two-year $498,217 EPA Pollution Prevention grant, which began Sept. 30, to provide small businesses in the food and beverage industry with on-site technical assistance and training on pollution prevention, or P2, practices.

According to Jenny Grossenbacher, Pollution Prevention Program director, MSU is one of two grants awarded in Region 8, which includes Montana, Colorado, the Dakotas, Utah and Wyoming. She said MSU has been a recipient of the competitive EPA Pollution Prevention grant for over 25 years. The Montana Pollution Prevention Program, once housed under MSU Extension, is now a part of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems.

Grossenbacher said that grantees choose from one of the EPA’s five “national emphasis areas” as their focal point for the funding. MSU chose the food and beverage industry because it offered myriad ways to reduce water, chemical and energy use, she said.

The grant will let MSU share information on safer chemical use and source reduction techniques; create and share best management practices; and support P2 roundtables and community-based P2 initiatives. Grant funds will also support a sustainable brewery certification pilot, EcoStar Pollution Prevention Award Program, a P2 support network, P2 outreach platforms, and the Montana Pollution Prevention Center Food and Beverage P2 Internship Program.

For the internship program, which is set to start this summer, students will work with businesses statewide in a 12-week program to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water, reduce hazardous waste and save money through pollution prevention efforts, Grossenbacher said. In addition, MSU’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center will offer a technical advisor to oversee the students’ work with the companies.

“We welcome any food and beverage manufacturing businesses to contact us if they are interested in working with us to help them prevent pollution in their work," Grossenbacher said. “We also encourage those businesses that are already actively incorporating pollution prevention to consider applying for the annual Ecostar Award program.” Additional information can be found online at www.mtp2.org or by contacting Grossenbacher at jenniferg@montana.edu.

EPA Pollution Prevention grants are given out in the spirit of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, which focuses industry, government and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation and raw materials use. The awards encourage businesses and other stakeholders to find ways to prevent pollution from entering any waste stream, furthering EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment.