EPA Report Shows Decrease in Chemical Releases, Increase in Recycling and Waste Management in Region 2 Facilities
Includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2021 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows that environmental releases of chemicals from facilities covered by the program remained below pre-pandemic levels at facilities across the U.S. Additionally, in 2021, facilities managed 89% of their TRI chemical waste through preferred practices such as recycling, energy recovery and treatment. In the four jurisdictions of Region 2, the report shows long-term reductions in both the waste generated and the waste released from facilities.
"The latest Toxic Release Inventory report for Region 2 is encouraging news, showing decreases over time in chemical releases and an increase in recycling and waste management," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "The TRI data is an important tool to equip the public with the information they need and continues to ensure the community's right to know about toxic chemicals used or stored at nearby facilities. We will build on this positive momentum and continue working with facilities and industry to further reduce chemical releases."
The TRI data for 2021 reveals that facilities in Region 2, which include Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, New York, and New Jersey, used preferred practices like recycling and using waste for energy production for almost 95% of the waste they generated. Although facilities in Region 2 reported almost a 4% increase in releases of TRI chemicals into the environment in 2021 compared to the height of the pandemic in 2020, the general trend in chemicals being released into the environment is down more than 10% since 2012. Much of this decrease – about 47% -- was to emissions into the air. In 2021, 10% of facilities in Region 2 implemented new source reduction activities, higher than the nationwide average of 8%. The transportation equipment manufacturing and machinery manufacturing sectors had the highest reporting rates for source reduction activities.
More than 21,000 facilities submitted reports on over 530 chemicals they released into the environment or otherwise managed as waste. EPA, states and Indian Nations receive TRI data from facilities in sectors such as manufacturing, mining, electric utilities and commercial hazardous waste management.
The 2021 report features updated options and analytical tools to make data more useful and accessible to communities, including the option to view data by region and watershed. EPA has also updated demographic information in the “Where You Live” mapping tool and in the Chemical Profiles section. Readers can view facility locations with overlayed demographic data to identify potential exposure to TRI chemical releases in vulnerable communities. Community groups, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use this data, along with other environmental data, to better understand which communities may experience a disproportionate pollution burden and take action at the local level.
In addition, this year the TRI National Analysis Sector Profiles highlights the plastic products manufacturing sector alongside the standard profiles for electric utilities, chemical manufacturing, and metal mining. This allows readers to learn about releases and waste management of TRI chemicals, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, from facilities in these sectors.
EPA is holding a public webinar on March 28, 2023, to give an overview of the 2021 TRI National Analysis. Register for the webinar.