Comparing Industry Sectors
This section examines how industry sectors manage Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemical waste. Looking at data from individual sectors can highlight progress made in improving environmental performance and reveal opportunities for better waste management practices.
Industries subject to TRI reporting requirements vary substantially in size, scope, and business type. As a result, the amounts and types of chemicals used, generated, and managed by facilities across industrial sectors often differ. For facilities in the same sector, however, the processes, products, and regulatory requirements are often similar, resulting in similar use, manufacture or processing of TRI chemicals.
This section presents trends in key sectors’ production-related waste managedThe sum of all non-accidental chemical waste generated at a facility. It is the sum of on-site environmental releases (minus quantities from non-routine, one-time events), on-site waste management (recycling, treatment, and combustion for energy recovery), and off-site transfers for disposal, treatment, recycling or energy recovery., including TRI chemical releasesAny spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment (including the abandonment or discarding of barrels, containers, and other closed receptacles) of any toxic chemical. [42 U.S.C. §11049 (8)] [40 CFR § 372.3] into the environment. For analytical purposes, the TRI Program has combined the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes at the 3- and 4-digit levels, creating 29 industry sector categories. To learn more about which business activities are subject to TRI reporting requirements, see this list of covered NAICS codes.
The following pie chart shows the quantities of TRI chemical waste managed through recycling, energy recovery, treatment, and disposal or other releases. For more details on quantities released, toggle to the “Releases only” figure.
Seven industry sectors reported 89% of the TRI production-related waste managed in 2020. Most of this waste originated from the chemical manufacturing sector (56%). For more details on how the amounts and proportions of TRI chemicals managed as waste have changed over time, see the production-related waste managed by industry trend graph.
The following pie chart shows the industry sectors that reported the most releases for 2020.
This pie chart shows that 4 of the 29 TRI sectors accounted for 76% of the quantities of TRI chemicals disposed of or otherwise released: metal mining (45%), chemical manufacturing (16%), primary metals (8%), and electric utilities (7%).
As with any dataset, there are several factors to consider when using the TRI data. Key factors associated with data used in the National Analysis are summarized in the Introduction. For more information see Factors to Consider When Using Toxics Release Inventory Data.
This page was published in March 2022 and uses the 2020 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2021.