Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

Pollution Prevention (P2) and TRI

In The NewsGreenBiz Article: P2 Impact, How a competitor's data can help your company cut pollution

The Waste Management Hierarchy

The PPA calls for pollution to be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible and released to the environment only as a last resort.Drawing of waste management hierarchy, with source reduction shown as the most desirable option and disposal/releases as the least desirable.
  • Learn about these terms
    • Source Reduction includes activities that eliminate or reduce the generation of chemical waste.
    • Recycling includes the recovery of a toxic chemical in waste for reuse.
    • Energy Recovery includes the combustion of toxic chemicals in waste to generate heat or electricity.
    • Treatment includes the destruction of a toxic chemical in waste.
    • Disposal or Other Releases includes toxic chemical quantities entering the environment.
    Find more information in Interpretations of Waste Management Activities.

Under the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 (PPA), TRI collects information to track industry progress in reducing waste generation and moving towards safer waste management alternatives.Many facilities provide descriptions on measures they have taken to prevent pollution and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals entering the environment. As a result, TRI serves as a tool for identifying effective environmental practices and highlighting pollution prevention successes.

Access TRI's P2 Data

Learn About Reporting P2 to TRI

TRI Training P2 Resources

Other P2 Resources

Source Reduction Activities Reported to TRI

For 2014, a total of 2,732 facilities (13% of all TRI facilities) reported initiating 8,388 source reduction activities. Good operating practices, process modifications, and spill and leak prevention were the activities reported most frequently.


View Examples
Click on the legend or graph to see examples of source reduction activities.

  • yellow Good Operating Practices (3,251)


    • After an internal audit, an ophthalmic goods manufacturer reduced methanol waste by improving conformance to standard operating practices, mentoring team members on reusing solvent, and implementing corrective actions.
    • A cheese manufacturing facility decreased nitric acid use by 25% in 2014 despite increased production by altering the production schedule. This change decreased the number of clean-in-place cleaning cycles and nitric acid use.
  • light orange Process Modifications (1,726)


    • A meat processing facility replaced its rendering operation with new equipment that is more energy efficient and as a result reduced the amount of fuel needed to operate which reduces the ammonia byproducts from fuel emissions.
    • An irradiation apparatus manufacturer decreased lead waste in 2014 by changing over lead x-ray cathode/anode shields to non-leaded bismuth x-ray shields, which means they no longer purchase or process lead for their x-ray tubes.
  • dark orange Spill and Leak Prevention (1,157)


    • A bulk petroleum terminal implemented a company-wide spill and leak prevention program that involved inspecting, repairing, and painting facility storage tanks and piping to decreases fugitive releases from chemicals such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic compounds.
    • In order to reduce fugitive releases of ammonia, a chemical manufacturer made improvements to its vapor recovery during mixing operations by adding secondary containment to capture fugitive emissions.
  • light blue Raw Material Modifications (770)


    • A synthetic rubber manufacturing facility is in the process of installing a new power boiler to generate steam from natural gas or oil rather than coal, which they expect will decrease their future releases in several chemicals including hydrochloric acid, chlorine, and sulfuric acid.
    • An irradiation apparatus manufacturer decreased lead waste in 2014 by changing over lead x-ray cathode/anode shields to non-leaded bismuth x-ray shields, which means they no longer purchase or process lead for their x-ray tubes.
  • dark blue Inventory Control (682)


    • A storage battery manufacturing facility uses bar code scanners to improve order fill accuracy of material containing lead and antimony compounds.
    • Through participative team management, a plating facility implemented first-in-first-out labeling to eliminate expired product waste and was able to decrease nickel compound waste.
  • dark green Product Modifications (358)


    • A motor vehicle parts manufacturer shifted from product that was made of alloys containing chromium, copper, nickel and lead to a product made of aluminum which fulfilled the same requirements.
    • Through an opportunity identified by the company's R&D program, a computer electronics manufacturer eliminated the solvent ink from its product, decreasing certain glycol ether releases.
  • light purple Cleaning and Degreasing (237)


    • A metal foundry decreased its hydrogen fluoride releases in 2014 after implementing several source reduction activities, including adding spray and subversion tanks to minimize the amount of manual hosing off of tumbler and parts needed.
    • Through participative team management and employee recommendation, a pesticide manufacturer began using high pressure washers for tank and piping cleaning, resulting in less wash water needed. This reduced the amount of carbaryl waste managed in 2014.
  • dark purple Surface Preparation and Finishing (207)


    • A motor vehicle parts manufacturer decreased ethylbenzene releases in 2014 after discontinuing use of an automated spray booth. By spraying parts with a cup gun, they were able to reduce use and waste from overspray.
    • Based on a vendor recommendation, a plastic product manufacturer optimized resin application by spray gun by using a tip specific to each configuration.