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Iowa companies achieve economic and environmental results through DNR P2 program

  • 9/14/2023 4:11:00 PM
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DES MOINES — Iowa companies have saved more than 116.6 million dollars since 2001 as a result of implementing environmental improvements recommended by interns with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Pollution Prevention Intern Program.  

This service places top engineering students in Iowa facilities that are looking for cost-effective ways to cut or eliminate waste from their operations to improve environmental performance, and ultimately save money. The interns analyze current systems, research alternative processes or technologies and develop strategies to improve the way resources are used.  

“The Pollution Prevention Intern Program is a great way to help complete projects that our full-time staff does not have time to develop. It’s exciting seeing the interns’ fresh perspective and the impact their projects generate in our business,” said Enzo Rizzo, Environmental Manager at JBS USA, in Marshalltown. 

This past year, twelve host companies and interns joined this unique partnership of business, academia, and government to effect change. Ten of these interns completed their projects in August and implementation has begun. A project completed from August through November of 2022 provided a baseline of water usage and implemented improvements to reduce water use and associated costs. One intern and host company committed to a 24-week project this year and will continue to work together through November developing strategies to streamline monitoring and data collection practices and reduce water and energy usage. 

The 2023 interns recommended improvements that could save companies more than $1.2 million annually. While on-site, the interns initiated implementation of improvements that will save the host companies more than $379,000 annually. These projects will conserve water and energy, reduce chemical usage and hazardous waste, divert waste from landfills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Annual environmental reductions generated in 2023 include:

  • 8,192,300 gallons of water
  • 35.21 tons of hazardous waste
  • 295.44 tons of hazardous waste
  • 233,790 kWh
  • 261,398 therms
  • 766.73 MTCO2e

Project requests are currently being accepted from companies interested in participating in the 2024 Pollution Prevention Intern Program. Project Request forms are available at