Is Your Business Using Regulated Chemicals?
Watch Your Profits Evaporate

March 1998

Compliance with regulatory requirements, worker exposure, permitting, installing capital intensive control equipment, waste disposal, and many other factors may pose a threat to your profitability and ability to compete in the marketplace.

Pollution prevention, which reduces or eliminates waste at the source, will help you cut those costs and improve your ability to stay competitive and profitable.


On Nov. 15, 1990, the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) were signed into law. Thousands of small businesses are affected by the amendments’ controls on small air pollution sources. The requirements affecting small business owners and operators depends on how badly the local air is polluted, and the kinds and quantities of pollutants their businesses emit. Auto body shops, bakeries, distilleries, dry cleaners, fiberglass fabricators, foundries, furniture manufacturers, gasoline service stations, general contractors, metal finishers and fabricators, photo finishing laboratories, printing shops, and other small businesses may be affected by the air pollution control programs the law may require. Complying with the law’s requirements, however, is not the only cost that influences your bottom line.

dwindling profits

Bottom Line Busters
Operating a business using raw materials that contain regulated chemicals costs money. Estimated costs of using hazardous substances and generating wastes often are inaccurate because many of the "hidden" costs are unaccounted for. On Page 2 are typical costs and activities that often are overlooked when estimating the total costs of processes that use hazardous substances and generate wastes. Also detailed is a step-by-step approach you can take to reduce or eliminate those costs through pollution prevention.



Receiving Area
Spill response equipment
Emergency response plan

Raw Materials Storage
Storage facilities
Secondary containment
Right-to-know training
Reporting and records
Safety training
Container labels

Process Area
Safety equipment
Right-to-know training
Worker exposure
Waste collection equipment
Emission control equipment
Sampling and testing
Reporting and records

Solid and Hazardous Waste
Sampling and testing
Labels and labeling
Storage areas
Transportation fees
Disposal fees

Air, Water Emissions Control
Permit preparation
Permit fees
Capital costs
Operating expenses
Recovered materials
Inspection and monitoring
Recording and reporting
Sampling and testing
Emergency planning
Discharge fees



The most effective way to reduce the costs of complying with requirements in the Clean Air Act Amendments and other environmental regulations is to stop using the materials that are regulated in the first place. Reducing or eliminating waste and the use of hazardous substances is called “pollution prevention.” The following pollution prevention approach can help your company:


The Pollution Prevention Approach

Step 1: Establish a small group of people in the facility to sit down and have a waste minimization brainstorming session. To help gain the most from this session:

Step 2: Determine from the group’s input the top three air emission sources, in terms of cost and quantity emitted. For example, write down the three air emission sources that are the most expensive to manage:

  1. Degreasing/surface preparation
  2. Solvent-based painting operations
  3. Parts washing in maintenance department
Then, for example, write down the three air emission sources that have the highest level of raw material use:
  1. Solvent-based painting operations
  2. Degreasing/surface preparation
  3. Parts washing solvent

Step 3: Focus on one of your listed items for your first pollution prevention effort. Talk to your suppliers and explain to them your interest in finding a way to eliminate the use of regulated chemicals. Ask if they supply other products that can get the job done without the added hazardous chemicals. Also, talk to your customers about changing specifications to allow the use of alternative process materials.

Step 4: As time permits, evaluate opportunities to eliminate or reduce the second- and third- ranked waste streams. Continually look at all processes at your facility, and evaluate pollution prevention opportunities to reduce and eliminate hazardous substance use.



Through each state in the Northwest, non-regulatory assistance is available for small businesses with air quality questions. The purpose of these programs is to:

• explain the air quality rules and recommend ways to comply;
• provide free, on-site technical assistance visits;
• help businesses estimate their air pollution emissions;
• refer businesses to needed resources; and
• provide information on potential sources of financing for compliance requirements.

For free, non-regulatory assistance and referrals, contact PPRC.

Produced by the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, 513 First Ave. West, Seattle, WA 98119
phone: 206-352-2050, fax: 206-352-2049, e-mail: office@pprc.org, WWW address: http://www.pprc.org

A joint project of the Small Business Assistance Programs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This fact sheet is intended for general reference only; it is not a complete statement of the technical or legal requirements associated with this regulation.