Year in review: 2015-16

As our 2016-17 fiscal year quickly approaches in July, we wanted to recap some highlights from this past year. A lot has happened and we couldn't have accomplished all of this success without your support. Thank you for your efforts in making New York State more sustainable for workers, the public and the environment! 

NYSP2IProjectsNYSP2I Projects

Direct Assistance:  Perry's Ice-cream

Perry's Ice Cream, located in Akron, NY, produces over 10 million gal/year of ice cream and spends over $200,000 annually on city water and treated wastewater discharge to the municipal sewer system. Perry's has been working with NYSP2I to determine optimum water recovery and reuse options from their on-site water treatment facility. The treated water is relatively low in solids and organic loading but not clean enough to be reused directly in their operations, as determined by Perry's.

The primary objective was to assess various filtration technologies typically used for potable water to reuse in the plant. The best options appear to be utilization of ultrafiltration (UF) or nanofiltration (NF) membranes with the use of a rotary drum vacuum filter as prefiltration. An NYSP2I R&D project is also underway at the University at Buffalo focusing on improving membrane performance and utilizing wastewater samples from Perry's for its experiments. If 50% of the water can be reused, over $100,000/year savings can be realized. 

Read more about Perry's Ice-cream.

Sustainable Supply Chain: Fox Run Vineyards

Fox Run Vineyards, a family-owned business, is comprised of fifty acres of vineyards on Seneca Lake whose winery produces 15,000 cases annually.  With the first grapes planted in 1984 and a winemaking facility established in 1990, Fox Run is dedicated to a program of minimal intervention winemaking.  With sustainable practices in both vineyard and cellar, Fox Run adheres to a philosophy of protecting the diverse ecosystem present on its land and the pristine waters of Seneca Lake.

NYSP2I expanded on current efforts at Fox Run by conducting a supply chain sustainability assessment.  Opportunities to advance their sustainability efforts were evaluated   which include:
  • Informing procurement personnel of sustainable purchasing alternatives such as cleaning chemicals and packaging;
  • Improving the process and detail of  measuring impacts on all levels to set meaningful objectives and targets and to track performance;
  • Adding policy, objectives and targets, performance and action plans to marketing and communications material. 
Fox Run anticipates an 8% increase in sales due to communicating its sustainability commitment and performance, resulting in retaining 10 jobs and creating an additional 1 job.   

For the full case study, click here.

Green Technology Accelerator Center : Genesee Biogas

Genesee Biogas, LLC. (Genesee Biogas) has licensed a unique anaerobic digestion (AD) process, utilizing 100% food waste as input and producing energy, vehicle fuel and class-A bio-solid products. Genesee Biogas is planning to design, build, own and operate this cost effective AD system in Genesee County, diverting organic waste away from other disposal methods and towards anaerobic digestion and the production of renewable energy. In support of Genesee Biogas, NYSP2I identified the availability of organics and food waste sources in the surrounding area, enabling Genesee Biogas to optimize the location of the new AD system and confirm organic material availability. NYSP2I summarized data and mapped the locations of existing digesters and food waste sources within a 60-mile radius of the Agri-Business Park in Batavia, NY. NYSP2I identified organic waste sources from supermarkets and processors including: wineries, breweries, animal slaughterers, chocolate manufacturers, soft drink manufacturers, and bakeries. Genesee Biogas is forecasting the creation of 6 jobs over the next 3 years in support of this new anaerobic digestion technology implementation in Batavia, NY.

For the full case study, click here.

Community Grants Program: New York Hall of Science (NYSCI)'s Project

The Queens based NYSCI offered a camp program during February break, "Ecology in Focus" to 25 local teenagers. The camp program allowed the group to use digital cameras and tablets to observe and document pollution in their neighborhoods. Participants learned basic photography and photo editing skills, causes for local pollution, and used a free software program called 
GIMP  to design potential solutions to the environmental problems they had identified.

"My idea is to install algae farms above streets with heavy traffic and highways. It is not only a means of filtering the harmful exhaust fuels of cars and other automobiles, but also a smart means of urban farming. The algae would be cultivated inside tubes, and a series of pumps, filters and solar panels aid the process. The algae can then be harvested and produced into biofuel, nutrients, medications, and cosmetics." - Georgios Psahos, NYSCI student

Live Comfortably with Keen Home's Smart Vent™ System 

Keen Home developed the  Smart Vent™, a unique building control system targeting increased user comfort and energy savings through intelligent control of individual Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) room vents. Keen Home collaborated with NYPS2I's experts who conducted an independent third party assessment of the energy efficiency gains and occupant comfort associated with Keen Home's Smart Vent™ product. In addition to working with NYSP2I, Keen Home partnered with Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank to capitalize on their opportunity and achieve success with this product.  

For the full case study, click here. 

ImagineRITImagine RIT Draws 30,000 to Innovation + Creativity Festival

Did you know about 40% of all food produced is never eaten? NYSP2I hosted an exhibit on food waste at this year's Imagine RIT Innovation + Creativity Festival. The event, held on Saturday, May 7 th , hosted over 30,000 attendees, and showcased student, faculty, and  staff  projects across all disciplines. 

This year's exhibit, "Diverting Food Waste in a Supply Chain" tested attendees on their knowledge about food waste from the farm, all the way to the disposal of food. They followed the supply chain while learning about the amount of waste created from one of our favorite activities-making pizza! Attendees also learned ways to sustainably dispose of food waste to further prevent environmental pollution.
MeetOurTeamMeet Our Team

Dr. Charles (Chuck) Ruffing  was named the Director of the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute on January 25 th . Ruffing is a recognized leader and former Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability at Eastman Kodak Co.  At Kodak, Ruffing was responsible for coordinating sustainability initiatives across the company's multinational locations, including environmental compliance support to operations and products worldwide. He was responsible for effectively creating pollution prevention strategies related to business conditions while guiding significant reductions in safety incidents, greenhouse gas emissions and energy use at the company's largest manufacturing sites.
In his role with NYSP2I he leads a team of 21 engineers, technical staff, outreach specialists and students in delivering pollution prevention information, research, and direct assistance to NYS businesses and citizens.  State DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said NYSP2I, under Ruffing's leadership, is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary assistance to companies looking to reduce their environmental footprint.
"Charles Ruffing brings a wealth of leadership experience to the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute and I congratulate him on his appointment," Seggos said. "I look forward to working with him, Rochester Institute of Technology and NYSP2I to continue to drive innovation and foster real-world solutions in reducing pollution."

Dr. Eugene (Gene) Park 
is the Assistant Director of Technical Programs at NYSP2I. Dr. Park manages NYSP2I's Direct Assistance Program, leading a staff of P2 engineers working directly with industry to provide assistance in identifying and implementing cost-effective solutions to reduce environmental impacts.    Dr. Park also manages NYSP2I's Research and Development program. Prior to joining us in 2012, Dr. Park had a 20 year career as a Research Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Rhode Island and served as Co-Director and Director of the URI Center for Pollution Prevention - one of the country's first state-run university pollution prevention programs, which he also helped establish. Dr. Park has collaborated with state and federal agencies to assist hundreds of RI companies in a broad range of industry sectors reduce waste and become more efficient. Through his classes and student internships, he also helped to train over one hundred chemical engineering students in the area of pollution prevention.  Dr. Park's areas of expertise include membrane filtration and cleaning with less toxic chemicals. Dr. Park received his undergraduate and Master's degrees in chemistry and engineering from Dartmouth College, prior to receiving his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Rhode Island.

Meet the rest of the NYSP2I team.
FoodWasteStudiesFood Waste Studies

NYSP2I received $500,000 from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to research areas of food waste reduction, diversion, and beneficial reuse. The first step for the project is auditing large food waste generators/institutions.  A food waste audit involves measuring food and organic flows through the kitchen, looking at the amount, type, and reason for the generation of wasted food. 

New York City, as well as a number of other US cities and states have recently adopted new laws restricting food and organic waste disposal in landfills. This trend is likely to continue as awareness of the cost and environmental impact of food waste increases.  A 2015 New York Times article  by Ron Nixon discusses how " the food discarded by retailers and consumers in the most developed countries would be more than enough to feed all of the world's 870 million hungry people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations." Around one third of all food produced is wasted, and the cost to produce the waste could equal as much as $600 billion per year by 2030.  The environmental contribution of food waste in landfills is roughly 3.3 billion metric tons of methane greenhouse gas emissions per year.

The first step towards reducing this waste is awareness, and P2I is striving to get the word out. The most recent food audit from RIT's Grace Watson Dining Hall donated over 5,000lbs of usable food to FoodLink -a regional food bank in Western NY- and diverted 44 tons of food waste from the landfill between July and November of 2015. We are currently seeking large food generators and institutions to participate in a free food audit program. Email for more information.
MorningSalonMorning Salon in Review
On April 19 th Trish Donohue, our Senior Pollution Prevention Engineer & Sustainable Supply Chain Manager (SSC) spoke at the 2016 Salons at Earth Week in New York City.

Trish's presentation, Measuring Your Sustainability Journey , described the growing importance for companies to have a traceable and transparent supply chain. A company's journey to a sustainable supply chain will include setting goals, measuring performance, and integrating a sustainable strategy into their business planning. Companies with a sustainable supplier plan are experiencing new business opportunities, increased revenue and a piece-of-mind as they mitigate supply chain risk.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of a sustainable supplier plan, contact Trish Donohue at .
We are pleased to announce the  Organic Resource Locator  has been updated with improved functionality, more accurate waste estimates, and more data reflecting thousands of businesses in New York State. The Organic Resource Locator (ORL) is a web-based mapping tool that provides information on organic resources and utilization pathways in New York State.

The information provided in the ORL is intended to enable efficient and increased utilization of organic resources by connecting producers of organics with those who have a use for them, diverting a valuable resource from our landfills. This effort is meant to help reduce environmental impacts, promote economic development and encourage the development of green technologies.
  • Locations of producers and users of organic resources
  • Point and radius search
  • Downloadable datasets
  • Updated waste estimates for thousands of businesses
About2016-17 Fiscal Year Outlook

Funding provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
©2016 Rochester Institute of Technology
Any opinions, results, findings, and/or interpretations of data contained herein are the responsibility of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute and do not represent the opinions, interpretation or policy of the State.