What is Pollution Prevention?
Region 4 Toolkits
Pollution Prevention and Innovation Team
U.S. EPA Region 4
Pollution prevention means "source reduction," as defined under the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, and other practices that reduce or eliminate the creation of pollutants through: increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water, or other resources, or protection of natural resources by conservation.
The Pollution Prevention Act defines "source reduction" to mean any practice which:
- reduces the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment (including fugitive emissions) prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal; and
- reduces the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants, or contaminants.
The term includes: equipment or technology modifications, process or procedure modifications, reformulation or redesign or products, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training, or inventory control.
Specific Pollution Prevention Approaches
Pollution prevention approaches can be applied to all pollution-generating activities, including those found in the energy, agriculture, Federal, consumer, as well as industrial sectors. The impairment of wetlands, ground water sources, and other critical resources constitutes pollution, and prevention practices may be essential for preserving these resources. These practices may include conservation techniques and changes in management practices to prevent harm to sensitive ecosystems. Pollution prevention does not include practices that create new risks of concern.
- Reduce the use of water and chemical inputs
- Adopt less environmentally harmful pesticides or cultivate crop strains with natural resistance to pests
- Protect of sensitive areas
- Increase energy use efficiency
- Substitute environmentally benign fuel sources
- Design changes that reduce the demand for energy