Introduction to the 2021 TRI National Analysis
Under Section 313 of 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 calendar year to EPA’s TRI Program by July 1 of the following year.
Watch a short overview of the National Analysis
Industries and businesses in the 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 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 the chemical waste is managed—including through environmental releases—and whether these quantities have changed over time.
The TRI tracks how industries manage certain toxic chemicals. Information facilities report each year to the EPA provides insights into how chemicals are managed by facilities conducting industrial activities such as manufacturing, metal mining, generation of electric power, and hazardous waste management. TRI data are publicly available. For calendar year 2021, more than 21,000 facilities reported to the TRI Program.
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 for previous years, and publishes its findings in the TRI National Analysis.
Overview of the 2021 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, and transferred off-site for disposal.
Note: To avoid double counting, the Disposal or Other Releases pie chart 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.
- Facilities reported managing 29.3 billion pounds of TRI-listed chemicals as production-related waste during 2021. Production-related waste managed is the quantity of TRI chemicals in waste resulting from routine operations. Facilities manage this waste through recycling, combustion for energy recovery, treatment, and disposing of or otherwise releasing the waste 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 waste that was disposed of or otherwise released, facilities report the quantities of these releases and whether the releases were to the air, water, or land. Most releases of TRI chemicals occur on site at facilities. However, 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 2021 Located?
Click on any of the locations to see a facility’s TRI information.
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This page was published in March 2023 and uses the 2021 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2022.