Laws & Regulations

Summary of the Pollution Prevention Act

42 U.S.C. §13101 et seq. (1990)

The Pollution Prevention Act focused industry, government, and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. Opportunities for source reduction are often not realized because of existing regulations, and the industrial resources required for compliance, focus on treatment and disposal.

Source reduction is fundamentally different and more desirable than waste management or pollution control. Source reduction refers to practices that reduce hazardous substances from being released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment or disposal. The term includes equipment or technology modifications, process or procedure modifications, reformulation or redesign of products, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training, or inventory control.

Pollution prevention includes practices that increase efficiency in the use of energy, water, or other natural resources, and protect our resource base through conservation.

More Information

The Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) manages programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Pollution Prevention Act. Under these laws, EPA evaluates new and existing chemicals and their risks, and finds ways to prevent or reduce pollution before it gets into the environment.