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TRI National Analysis

Comparing Industry Sectors

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This section examines which sectors contributed the most to production-related waste managed in 2017 and highlights several industry sectors to show trends occurring over time. It also discusses the trends among federal facilities, which report to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) regardless of sector. For analysis purposes, the TRI Program has aggregated 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 industries that are 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 within a given industry sector often differ greatly from those of facilities in other sectors. For facilities in the same sector, however, the processes, products, and regulatory requirements are often similar, resulting in similar manufacture, processing, or other use of chemicals. Looking at chemical waste management trends within a sector can highlight progress made in improving environmental performance, identify emerging issues, and reveal opportunities for better waste management practices.


Note: Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

Seven industry sectors reported 89% of the quantities of TRI chemicals managed as production-related waste in 2017. A majority of TRI chemical waste managed originated from the chemical manufacturing sector (51%).


This pie chart shows that 80% of the quantities of TRI chemicals disposed of or otherwise released originated from 4 of the 29 industry sectors that are subject to the TRI reporting requirements: metal mining (50%), chemical manufacturing (13%), electric utilities (9%), and primary metals (8%).

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.

For more information on the breakdown of these releases by medium, see land disposal by industry, air releases by industry, and water releases by industry.

As with any dataset, there are several factors to consider when using the TRI data. Key factors associated with data presented are summarized in the Introduction. For more information see Factors to Consider When Using Toxics Release Inventory Data. Also note that the list of TRI chemicals has changed over the years. For comparability, trend graphs include only those chemicals that were reportable for all years presented. Figures that focus only on the year 2017 include all chemicals reportable for 2017, therefore, values for a 2017-only analysis may differ slightly from results for 2017 in a trend analysis.

This page was published in March 2019 and uses the 2017 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2018.

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