The Sustainable Operations and Climate Change Branch (SOCC) includes as a main emphasis area a strong Pollution Prevention (P2) Element. Key areas within the P2 Program include Environmental Purchasing and waste reduction and management. The NPS Waste Reduction and Management Program covers the following: 1) the prevention and management of rubbish and recyclables created by visitors and park staff (commonly referred to as municipal solid waste(MSW)); the prevention and management of hazardous and universal waste generated through park maintenance operations; and the prevention and management of construction and demolition waste (C&D Waste) generated from facility renovation and new construction. The SOCC P2 program helps parks to reduce the use and storage of toxic and hazardous substances; develop park-specific pollution prevention plans; and implement recycling, composting, and environmental "green" purchasing programs. In addition, the SOCC P2 Program provides technical advisory and research services to the parks. The SOCC P2 program is instrumental in helping the NPS achieve the “Environmental Purchasing and Waste Reduction/Management” goals within the NPS Green Parks Plan.
Municipal Solid Waste/Construction and Demolition Waste Management
MSW is a by-product of most human endeavors, including operations at NPS facilities. Since the first national parks were created in the late 19th century, park managers have had to manage MSW generated by visitors, businesses operating in and near the parks, and by park employees themselves. Today, it is imperative that MSW be effectively managed so that impacts to the environment are minimized. C&D Waste is a by-product of the Nations Park System efforts to maintain NPS facilities through renovation projects as well as construction of new facilities.
It is NPS policy that all parks strive to meet the target goals of Executive Order 13423 Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management and the most recent Executive Order 13514 Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
These goals include the following:
- Diverting at least 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste (otherwise known as MSW), excluding construction and demolition debris(C&D Waste) , by the end of fiscal year 2015 (EO 13514);
- Diverting at least 50 percent of construction and demolition materials and debris (C&D Waste) by the end of fiscal year 2015 (EO 13514); and
- Recycling the following commodities unless significant barriers exist: white paper, mixed paper/newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic (#1 PET, #2 HDPE), glass, pallets, scrap metal, toner cartridges, and consistent with applicable hazardous waste regulations, fluorescent lamps, lamp ballasts, batteries, used oil, antifreeze and tires (EO 13423).
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 of those products and services.
It is NPS policy that all parks strive to meet the target goals of Executive Order 13514 "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance”. These goals include the following:
- Ensure 95% of all new contracts, including non-exempt contract modifications, require products and services that are energy-efficient, water-efficient, biobased, environmentally preferable, non-ozone depleting, contain recycled-content, non-toxic or less-toxic alternatives