Networking P2 Programs in
EPA Region 8
May 03, 2001
When You Need Pollution
Contact P2 Rx
Information is only as useful as the means of getting it into the hands
of its intended users.
Libraries, databases, filing cabinets, and Rolodexes around the country are filled with
high-quality pollution prevention (P2) information resources and contacts that businesses
and technical assistance providers could put to good use. Until recently, there was no
system in place to coordinate these resources and provide easy, efficient access.
Consequently, potential users were unaware of them.
That system is being put in place, thanks to the establishment of the Pollution
Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx), a coordinated effort of nine regional pollution
prevention resource centers that are funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Each
of the centers offers a range of services that may include information for specific
industry sectors, trainings, library resources, referrals and research. Through P2Rx, the
nine centers (see list here) are laying the groundwork for a
seamless national network of easily accessible P2 information that has been screened for
quality. Among the expected benefits of P2Rx are reduced duplication of effort in
preparing P2 materials, improved collaboration of technical assistance providers, creation
of information distribution channels, and promotion of standardized formats to facilitate
information exchange. Click here to see the P2Rx
The roots of P2Rx lie in a survey of technical assistance providers that EPA conducted
in 1994. EPA surveyed more than 300 state and local government environmental programs
about an information networks services that would best serve their needs in
providing P2 technical assistance. The responses showed that assistance providers want a
network that makes information searches easy; collects, synthesizes, and updates technical
information; and provides contact information for experts and other sources.
In 1997, EPA initiated a grant program to start a national network of P2 information
centers, four existing ones and five new ones. The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention
Resource Center, which serves the EPA Region 10 states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and
Washington, was selected as the initial P2Rx coordinator. The coordinator role will rotate
among the centers.
A key to making P2Rx work is the recognition that all of the centers operate
differently and serve different needs reflecting their regions. As the initial
coordinator, PPRCs role has been as a facilitator to help the centers identify areas
of common interest and find convenient ways of working effectively together. The idea is
to encourage the regional centers to share information and begin building a seamless
national P2 information network.
Over the past year, the nine regional centers have met four times to work on common
approaches to issues such as marketing the centers services, measuring the usage and
impacts of their services, making web sites more appealing, assuring the quality of their
resources, and developing a standard format for bibliographic references. Another task has
been collaborative development of P2 materials on hospitality and metal fabrication.
Through regular communications, the centers have been getting into the habit of sharing
information and learning from each other. For example, one of the most useful aspects of
the P2Rx collaboration has been a regular "clinic," at which centers share
information on common concerns such as outreach strategies, finding matching funds, and
resolving copyright issues. By working together on projects of common interest, P2Rx is
laying a foundation for a national P2 information network that will promote waste
reduction across the U.S.
In the near future, a web site will be posted that will feature a U.S. map serving as a
portal to the centers. By clicking on a particular state, users will be sent to a baseline
web page of the center serving that state.
Click here for a list of regional P2Rx centers or visit
the P2Rx web site at http://www.p2rx.org.