Each year, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program receives information from more than 21,000 facilities on the quantities of TRI-listed chemicals they recycle, combust for energy recovery, treat, and dispose of or otherwise release as part of their normal operations. These quantities are collectively referred to as production-related waste managed or ‘waste managed’The 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..
Looking at waste managed over time helps track facilities’ progress in reducing the amount of chemical waste they manage. Additionally, these trends show if facilities are shifting toward waste management practices that are preferable to disposing of or otherwise releasing waste into the environment.
EPA encourages facilities to first reduce or eliminate the use of TRI-listed chemicals and the creation of chemical waste through source reduction. For waste that is generated, the preferred management method is recycling, followed by combustion for energy recovery, treatment, and, as a last resort, safe disposal or release of chemical waste into the environment. This order of preference, called the Waste Management Hierarchy, is consistent with the national policy established by the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990.
- Facilities managed 29.3 billion pounds of TRI chemical waste, 89% of which was not released due to preferred waste management practices such as recycling.
- Production-related waste managed increased by 5.3 billion pounds (22%) since 2012, driven by a 6.1 billion pound (68%) increase in recycling.
As with any dataset, there are many factors to consider when using TRI data. Find a summary of key factors associated with data used in the National Analysis in the Introduction. For more information see Factors to Consider When Using Toxics Release Inventory Data.
This page was published in March 2023 and uses the 2021 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2022.