Nearly two dozen Iowa companies and college students were honored today for their work to prevent pollution. Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Liz Christianson says the pollution prevention program is the first of its kind in the United States. She says they take the best and the brightest from the graduate and undergraduate students and pair them up with companies. The students help the companies work on reducing air and water emissions to make the company a better environmental performer. Christianson says the program has paid off.She says students have helped companies save 10-million dollars in the three years of the program. She says they’ve also conserved 682-million gallons of water, diverted 20-thousand tons of solid waste from landfills and avoided 227 tons of air emissions.Christianson says the program has one other benefit. She says they’re developing a cadre of new employees which are environmental officers that most companies are looking for. She says many of the companies offer the students jobs, which helps keep them in Iowa. One of the examples is University of Iowa graduate student Forrest Meggers. Meggers is an environmental engineering major and begins an internship with Proctor and Gamble in Iowa City next week. He says it’s a great opportunity to clean up the state and help companies save money. He says being an environmentalist these days isn’t about carrying signs and protesting, it’s about showing companies how they can do this and save money, and it’s good business practice. The companies and students were honored in a ceremony at the state capitol.
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