(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
The environmentally-volatile era of the 1980s challenged Polaroid to comply with the numerous federal, state, and local regulatory requirements. Polaroid implemented compliance programs to reduce the potential liability associated with environmental non-compliance, while the company's drive for excellence in environmental stewardship led to the development of an internal pollution prevention program, the Toxic Use and Waste Reduction (TUWR) program, which went beyond compliance requirements.
In support of the TUWR program, a centralized measuring system called Environmental Accounting and Reporting System (EARS) was developed in 1987, using 1988 as the baseline, to integrate data collection throughout the corporate structure. EARS monitors and reports the rates of toxic use and waste generation for chemical materials (Categories I through V - refer to abstract on Establishment of Chemical Categories). In addition, EARS measures waste reduction per unit of production which is also the basis for the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Act (MATURA), enacted in 1989. This calculation method normalizes the performance measurement and is relatively unaffected by changes in production volume. Environmental credits can be obtained through waste reduction efforts in all material categories and by reducing the use of Category I and II materials. These environmental credits are awarded to corporate divisions for achieving or exceeding TUWR goals.
Data collected in 1988 was used to establish the baseline under EARS for all categories in measuring toxic use and waste reduction per unit production. The 1988 totals were defined as 100% of the baseline amount (i.e., 1.00). A target goal of 10% reduction per year per unit of product was then set using the baseline measurement. Within the first five years, Polaroid achieved a corporate-wide reduction of greater than two million pounds per year of usage/waste which translates to an overall reduction of nearly 25%.
In 1994, TUWR/EARS were expanded to include, among other aspects, energy reduction and water conservation. The systems' natural progression has also resulted in another expansion which provides data collections and reporting for the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act via the Toxic Release Inventory's Form Rs and MATURA.