Rick Reibstein wins award

in 2015, Awards, Faculty, Nov-15, Rick Reibstein
November 12th, 2015

Rick Reibstein and his P2 Champion Award. Photo by Department of Earth & Environment.

Rick Reibstein and his P2 Champion Award. Photo by Department of Earth & Environment.

Richard Reibstein, who has been providing courses on environmental law and policy in the College of Arts and Sciences since 2000, now as part of the Earth and Environment department, was recently declared a “P2 Champion” of 2015 by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR), the premiere group for pollution prevention (P2) professionals. Congress declared in the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 that it is “the national policy of the United States that pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible”, before recycling or treatment or disposal.

Reibstein worked for twenty-seven years for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the state’s Toxics Use Reduction program, in an office that provides free technical assistance for pollution prevention. In that capacity he launched programs for environmentally preferable purchasing, training for schools and hospitals, and business environmental networks, and many events and publications to help companies and others reduce the use of toxics, energy and water.

According to the NPPR, the P2 Champion Award “celebrates an individual whose work has had an outstanding impact on implementing pollution prevention in one or more of the following areas: Setting pollution prevention vision and strategies; Leading and directing pollution prevention programs; Implementing pollution prevention projects; and/or Significant impact on pollution prevention achieved.” The most recent report by the NPPR on the achievements of P2 programs throughout the nation found that “From 2007-2009, approximately 90 P2 programs in the U.S. reported almost $6.6 billion in economic benefits; more than 7 billion pounds of pollution minimized or eliminated; approximately 16 billion gallons of water conserved; energy usage reduced by almost 2.5 billion kilowatts; over 33 billion pounds of greenhouse gases (GHG) no longer being released into the earth’s atmosphere associated with P2 activities.”

Reibstein told the Department of Earth & Environment that the fact that there are so many government programs having these great results is not widely known. He said that nearly two thousand companies and organizations used the program’s help, when none of them had to, and many had to overcome a fear of contact with government environmental agencies. It was only because the idea of reducing pollution by reducing the use of toxics that become toxic wastes, emissions, and discharges makes so much sense, and so often saves money, that businesses were happy to use the assistance service.