Facilities report the quantities of TRI-listed chemicals they dispose of or otherwise release into the environment as a result of normal industrial operations. In addition, facilities report the quantities of these chemicals that they manage through preferred methods including recycling, combusting for energy recovery, and treating for destruction. This figure shows the 10-year trend in these quantities, collectively referred to as production-related waste managedThe 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..
Note: For comparability, trend graphs include only those chemicals that were reportable to TRI for all years presented.
From 2011 to 2020:
- Since 2011, production-related waste managed increased by 5.0 billion pounds (22%), driven by increased recycling.
- Disposal and other releases decreased by 1.1 billion pounds (-27%).
- Treatment decreased by 793 million pounds (-11%).
- Energy recovery increased by 298 million pounds (12%).
- Recycling increased by 6.6 billion pounds (76%), a trend largely driven by several facilities that each reported recycling one billion pounds or more annually in recent years.
- The number of facilities that report to TRI has declined by 4% since 2011. Reasons for this decrease include facility closures, outsourcing of operations to other countries, and facilities reducing their manufacture, processing, or other use of TRI-listed chemicals to below the reporting thresholds.
- Note that the 2020 TRI data reflect chemical waste management activities that occurred during calendar year 2020, which may have been impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency, which began in the U.S. in early 2020.
Facilities report both on- and off-site waste management. The following chart shows the relative quantities of on-site and off-site waste management methods for 2020.
For 2020, 88% of production-related waste was managed on site.
- Most production-related waste managed off site is recycled. Most of this recycling is reported by the primary and fabricated metals sectors. Facilities in these sectors often send scrap metal off site for recycling.
- The 2020 distribution of waste managed on site and off site is similar to previous years.
This page was published in March 2022 and uses the 2020 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2021.