David Lipiro is a consulting scientist with over 30 years of industrial experience, who founded Environmental Compliance & Risk Management 13 years ago. His areas of expertise include air permitting, emission factor development, compliance auditing, and database development. Lipiro also chaired and remains active on the ACMA Green Composites Committee (GCC), a group focused on expanding the role of composites in sustainable development through education.
What do you do?
I help composite manufacturers comply with environmental regulations in ways that maximize their flexibility to operate and expand. Mostly I do this by helping them get and comply with proper air permits for their operations. Proper permits minimize environmental liability at the lowest possible cost while fully supporting a company’s business plan.
What are key environmental issues for the composites industry?
The biggest issue facing the composites industry is styrene classification by federal regulators. If it’s classified in any way as a human carcinogen, this could affect environmental rules, greatly complicate workplace management, and potentially alter the perception of composites in certain markets. Beyond that, I’d say the way composites enhance sustainability, which is and will continue to be crucial to business growth. Through my involvement with ACMA’s Green Composites Committee (GCC), I have learned of more and more requests from regulators and manufacturers’ customers for information on how green composite products are versus products made of other materials. The GCC is a lightning rod for such information.
Does one industry segment express more interest than others?
Composite companies in various industries are asked by their customers, and in return they are looking for resources to help them answer composite sustainability questions. The industries that I’d say ask questions with the most frequency are transportation and infrastructure. In both cases, sustainability is enhanced by the lighter weight and greater durability of composites versus competing materials.
How will the new emission factors for compounding and compression molding affect the industry?
They’re a great benefit to the industry because a uniform standard can be used for permitting nationwide. Without emission factors that are broadly accepted by regulatory agencies, manufacturers may have difficulty getting permits. Regulators may impose overly conservative “default” factors that complicate permitting, or require emission tests, which are very costly. Overall, it’s important to have reliable and generally accepted emission factors.
What’s your response to OSHA’s effort to require Safety Management Programs?