Environmental Engineering Program


Date of this Version



Vincent D Kuppig, "Implementation of Sustainability Improvements at the Facility Level: Business Motivations and Impact of P2 Recommendations," M.S. Thesis 2015, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science; Major: Environmental Engineering; Under the Supervision of Professor Bruce I. Dvorak; Lincoln, Nebraska; July, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Vincent D. Kuppig


Many sustainability and pollution prevention (P2) technical assistance programs exist across the Unities States. There is a need to quantify the actual impact using various metrics and, in addition, to identify the driving forces behind a company’s decision-making process. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Partners in Pollution Prevention and the Kansas State University Pollution Prevention Institute intern programs partnered to complete 30 reassessments in 2014 to obtain specific information related to each P2 recommendation. After being reassessed, the clients were surveyed concerning their motivations for implementing and not implementing each recommendation; 23 clients responded to the survey.

The clients surveyed were slightly more engaged in sustainability activities than another national study. Of the clients reassessed in 2014, the overall implementation rate of recommendations was 54%. Clients that received more in-depth assistance implemented a higher percentage of recommendations and reported more benefit in savings for cost, energy, and solid waste than the clients that received assistance for part of a summer. Recommendations with paybacks of less than one year and implementation costs of less than $1,000 were implemented at a higher rate those with longer paybacks and higher initial costs, but other factors beyond finances were important.

The survey data showed finances were less of a reason for implementation than a barrier to implementation. Finances were most important for equipment/process modification recommendations and least important for training/policies. Availability of capital was more of a financial barrier than poor payback, with other priorities for capital investments more important than a lack of capital. Financial motivations were not as important in the decision making for public institutions as for private sector entities. The relative unimportance of payback in the decision-making process suggests other indirect and intangible benefits often impacted the implementation of recommendations. Social motives were especially important for recycling and training/policies. Health and compliance factors were important for recommendations that directly reduced or eliminated toxins.

Adviser: Bruce I. Dvorak