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Laws and Policy


The Pollution Prevention Act established the national policy that pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible. Preventing pollution offers important economic benefits, as pollution never created avoids the need for expensive investments in waste management or cleanup.

Executive Orders

Executive Orders (E.O.) are edicts issued by the President that apply to all Federal Agencies.

On October 8, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13514, "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance." The order states: "It is therefore the policy of the United States that Federal agencies shall increase energy efficiency; measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from direct and indirect activities; conserve and protect water resources through efficiency, reuse, and stormwater management; eliminate waste, recycle, and prevent pollution; leverage agency acquisitions to foster markets for sustainable technologies and environmentally preferable materials, products, and services; design, construct, maintain, and operate high performance sustainable buildings in sustainable locations; strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which Federal facilities are located; and inform Federal employees about and involve them in the achievement of these goals."

On January 24th, 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management." The order sets goals in the areas of energy efficiency, acquisition, renewable energy, toxics reductions, recycling, renewable energy, sustainable buildings, electronics stewardship, fleets, and water conservation. The order requires widespread use of Environmental Management Systems as the framework for managing and improving sustainable practices.

In addition the Order requires federal agencies to purchase environmentally preferable products and services, and revokes previous Executive Orders related to environmentally preferable purchasing. Copies of the revoked Executive Orders are provided below because they provide historical references for the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program. For the Federal government as a whole, the President's Office of Management and Budget has issued a series of scorecards to help track progress of Federal agencies in implementing Executive Order 13423

Federal Environmental Executive

Former President Bill Clinton's 1993 Executive Order 12873, Federal Acquisition, Waste Prevention, and Recycling, created the position of the Federal Environmental Executive, as well as Agency Environmental Executives. These positions were specifically intended to bolster support for recycling and the procurement of recycled-content products. This order also set the standard that all federal office paper is to contain at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled content. Former President Clinton named Fran McPoland as the first Federal Environmental Executive.

Revoked Executive Orders

(Revoked) Executive Order 13148 - Greening the Government Through Leadership in Environmental Management (PDF) (14pp, 256K, About PDF)
This Executive Order requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental management systems into agency day-to-day decision-making and long term planning processes. Pollution Prevention is highlighted as a key aspect to the environmental management system process. Former President Clinton signed Executive Order 13148 on April 21, 2000.

(Revoked) Executive Order 13101 - Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition
This Executive Order requires executive agencies to incorporate waste prevention and recycling into the agency's daily operation. It also asks executive agencies to work to increase and expand markets for recovered materials through greater Federal Government preference and demand for such products. Former President Clinton signed Executive Order 13101 on September 14, 1998. Executive Order 13101 revokes E.O. 12873.

(Revoked) Executive Order 12873 - Federal Acquisition, Recycling and Waste Prevention (PDF) (8 pp, 34.4K, About PDF)
This Executive Order directs federal agencies to evaluate the environmental attributes of the products and services they purchase. Former President Clinton signed Executive Order 12873 on October 20, 1993.

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2010-2014 Pollution Prevention Program Strategic Plan (PDF) (34pp, 572K, About PDF)

This Strategic Plan identifies a number of opportunities for EPA's Pollution Prevention (P2) Program to help reduce: the emission of greenhouse gasses; the use of hazardous materials; and the use of natural resources, while contributing to a greener and more sustainable economy. The plan also emphasizes enhanced collaboration and coordination among federal, state, tribal, and local partners in developing unified national approaches to promote further environmental progress in specific sectors.

Evaluation of EPA Efforts to Integrate Pollution Prevention Policy throughout EPA and at Other Federal Agencies (PDF) (124 pp, 590K, About PDF).

In this evaluation the Agency focused on the Pollution Prevention Act provisions that address integrating pollution prevention (P2) policy into Federal Programs. This evaluation makes connections between P2 integration activities and stewardship and sustainability policy developments. Key areas that could benefit from additional attention to P2 integration are described.

EPA no longer updates the information at this link, but it may be useful as a reference or resource. Pollution Prevention Policy Statement - New Directions for Environmental Protection, Carol M. Browner - then EPA Administrator. June 15, 1993.

EPA no longer updates the information at this link, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.EPA Definition of "Pollution Prevention", F. Henry Habicht - then Deputy Administrator.

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