Introduction to the 2020 TRI National Analysis
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), facilities that meet TRI reporting requirements must report details about their pollution prevention and waste management activities, including releases, of TRI-listed chemicals that occurred during the prior calendar year to EPA’s TRI Program by July 1 of each year.
Industries and businesses in the United States (U.S.) use many chemicals to make the products we depend on, such as pharmaceuticals, computers, paints, clothing, and automobiles. While most chemicals on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemical list are managed by these facilities in ways that minimize releases into the environment, releases still occur as part of normal business operations.
It is your right to know what TRI chemicals are being used in your community, how TRI chemical waste is managed—including through environmental releases, and whether these quantities are changing over time.
The TRI tracks how industry manages certain toxic chemicals. Information reported each year to the EPA by facilities covering activities such as manufacturing, metal mining, generation of electric power, and hazardous waste management provides insight over time as to chemical waste management changes. The data reported to EPA are publicly available. For calendar year 2020, more than 21,000 facilities reported to EPA’s TRI Program.
Watch a short video about the TRI Program and your right to know
Each year, in support of its mission to protect human health and the environment, EPA analyzes the most recent TRI data, conducts comparative analyses with TRI data reported for previous years, and publishes its findings in the TRI National Analysis.
Overview of the 2020 TRI data
The two pie charts below summarize the most recent TRI data: the chart on the left shows the total amount of production-related waste managed through recycling, energy recovery, treatment, and disposal or other releases. The chart on the right shows the proportions of TRI chemical waste released to air, water, and land.
Note: To avoid double counting, the Disposal or Other Releases pie on the right excludes quantities of TRI chemicals that are transferred off site from a TRI-reporting facility and subsequently released on site by a receiving facility that also reports to TRI. Percentages do not sum to 100% due to rounding.
- Facilities reported managing a total of 28.33 billion pounds of TRI-listed chemicals as production-related waste during 2020. Production-related waste managed is the quantity of TRI chemicals in waste resulting from routine operations at facilities. This includes TRI chemicals in wastes that are recycled, combusted for energy recovery, treated, disposed of, or otherwise released into the environment.
- Of this total, 89% was recycled, combusted for energy recovery, or treated, while 11% was disposed of or otherwise released into the environment.
- For TRI chemicals in wastes that were disposed of or otherwise released, facilities report the quantities of these releases, and whether the releases were to air, water, or land. Most releases occur on site at facilities, but waste containing TRI chemicals may also be shipped off site for disposal, such as to a landfill. As shown in the pie chart on the right, most TRI chemical waste was disposed of to land, which includes landfills, underground injection, and other land disposal practices.
Where are the Facilities that Reported to TRI for 2020 Located?
Click on any of the locations to see a facility’s TRI information.
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This page was published in March 2022 and uses the 2020 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2021.