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TRI National Analysis

Pollution Prevention and Waste Management in the 2016 TRI National Analysis

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Each year, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) collects information from more than 20,000 facilities on the quantities of TRI-listed chemicals they recycle, combust for energy recovery, treat for destruction, and dispose of or otherwise release both on- and off-site. These quantities, in aggregate, are collectively referred to as the quantity of production-related wasteHelpproduction-related wasteThe sum of all non-accidental chemical waste generated at a facility, prior to any form of on-site or off-site waste management. 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. managed.

Waste Management Hierarchy, showing the order of actions in order from most preferable (source reduction) to less preferable (disposal or other releases)

Looking at production-related waste managed over time helps track progress in reducing the amount of chemical waste generated and in adopting waste management practices that are more preferable than disposing of or otherwise releasing waste to the environment. EPA encourages facilities to first eliminate the creation of chemical waste through source reduction activities. For wastes that are generated, the most preferred management method is recycling, followed by burning for energy recovery, treatment, and, as a last resort, disposing of or otherwise releasing the chemical waste into the environment. These waste management practices are illustrated in the waste management hierarchy image shown here, and discussed in the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990. One goal of the PPA is that over time facilities will shift from disposal or other releases toward the more preferred techniques in the waste management hierarchy that do not result in releases to the environment.

This page was published in January 2018 and uses the 2016 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2017.

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