The Sustainable Operations & Climate Change (SOCC) branch provides parks, regions, and programs with the resources and support necessary to manage waste generation/reduction and pollution prevention initiatives. SOCC efforts are focused across the following programs and projects:
- Pollution Prevention (P2) Program
- Waste Reduction & Management Program
- Municipal solid waste (MSW) and Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste
- Environmental purchasing
NPS Pollution Prevention (P2) Program
The P2 Program focuses on environmental purchasing and waste reduction and management. In addition to providing technical advisory and research services to parks, the Program is instrumental in helping the National Park Service achieve the "Environmental Purchasing and Waste Reduction/Management" goals within the NPS Green Parks Plan in addition to assisting parks in:
- Reducing the use and storage of toxic and hazardous substances,
- Developing park-specific pollution prevention plans; and
- Implementing recycling, composting, and "green" purchasing programs.
NPS Waste Reduction & Management Program
The Waste Reduction and Management Program assists in both the prevention and management of:
- Rubbish and recycles created by visitors and park staff (commonly referred to as municipal solid waste (MSW));
- Hazardous waste and universal waste generated through park maintenance operations; and
- Construction and demolition (C&D) waste generated from facility renovation and new construction.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is the by-product of most human endeavors, including operations at National Park Service facilities. Since the first national parks were created, park managers have had to manage MSW generated by visitors, businesses operating in and near the park, and by park employees. Today, it is imperative that MSW be effectively managed to minimize potential environmental impacts.
Environmental Purchasing (EP) (also known as 'green' purchasing) melds procurement and environmental ethics into a sustainable purchasing strategy. EP is the practice of specifying products and services with consideration of life-cycle environmental attributes.
The NPS presents EA Awards to teams (park unit, groups of NPS employees, or a combination of NPS and non-NPS personnel) and partners (concessionaires, contractors, and cooperating associations) who demonstrate exceptional accomplishments toward the overall goal of preservation and protection of the resources under our stewardship. Specifically, the awards recognize outstanding achievements in the implementation of E.O. 13693 Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.