TRI Pollution Prevention Overview

TRI BannerTRI iconUnder the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 (PPA), the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) collects information to track industry progress in reducing waste generation and moving towards safer waste management alternatives. When providing this information, many facilities choose to describe the measures they have taken to prevent pollution and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals entering the environment. As a result, TRI serves as a tool for identifying effective environmental practices and highlighting pollution prevention successes. To learn more, visit Pollution Prevention (P2) and TRI.

Since the passage of the PPA, facilities have been required to provide the following details about each chemical they report to TRI:

Facilities may also provide additional information describing their source reduction, recycling, or pollution control activities. These "pollution prevention text" entries are available online dating back to 2005 for facilities that report to TRI electronically.

TRI's pollution prevention information can be accessed, analyzed, and visualized using the TRI Pollution Prevention Search.

The Waste Management Hierarchy

The Waste Management Hierarchy

The Waste Management Hierarchy

The waste management hierarchy established by the PPA guides waste generators toward the best options for managing wastes. The preferred option is to prevent pollution at its source, but for waste that is generated, the preferred management methods are recycling, followed by burning for energy recovery, treatment and, as a last resort, disposing of the waste.

  • Source Reduction includes activities that eliminate or reduce the generation of chemical waste.
  • Recycling includes the recovery of a toxic chemical in waste for reuse.
  • Energy Recovery includes the combustion of toxic chemicals in waste to generate heat or electricity.
  • Treatment includes the destruction of a toxic chemical in waste.
  • Disposal or Other Releases includes toxic chemical quantities entering the environment.