TRI National Analysis

Comparing Industry Sectors in the 2015 TRI National Analysis

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This chapter examines which sectors contributed the most to 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 and releasesHelpreleasesReleases to the environment include emissions to the air, discharges to surface waters, and releases to land and underground injection wells. in 2015, and highlights several industry sectors to show trends occurring over time. It also discusses the trends among federal facilities, which report to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) regardless of industry sector. For analysis purposes, the TRI Program has aggregated the North American Industry Classification System (NAICSHelpNAICSThe North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the economic classification system that replaces the 1987 SIC code system for TRI Reporting beginning with the RY 2006 EPCRA Section 313 reporting.) codes at the 3- and 4-digit levels, creating 29 industry sector categories. To learn more about which business activities are subject to TRI reporting requirements, see this list of covered NAICS codes.

The industries that are subject to TRI reporting requirements vary substantially in size, scope, composition, and business type. As a result, the amounts and types of chemicals used, generated, and managed by facilities within a given industry sector often differ greatly from those of facilities in other sectors. For facilities categorized by the same NAICS code, however, the processes, products, and regulatory requirements are often similar, resulting in similar manufacture, processing, or other use of toxic chemicals. Looking at chemical waste management trends within a sector can identify emerging issues, highlight progress made in improving environmental performance, and reveal opportunities for better waste management practices.


Seven industry sectors reported 87% of the quantities of TRI chemicals managed as production-related waste in 2015. A majority (66%) of TRI chemical waste managed originated from three sectors: chemical manufacturing (49%), primary metals (10%), and petroleum products manufacturing, primarily from petroleum refineries (7%).


This pie chart shows that 90% of  the quantities of TRI chemicals disposed of or otherwise released originated from seven of the 29 TRI industry sectors. Almost two-thirds originated from just three industry sectors: metal mining (37%), chemical manufacturing (15%), and electric utilities (13%). The chemical manufacturing sector is one of the top two sectors for both production-related waste managed and total releases.

Sections in this chapter

Manufacturing Sectors
Food Processing
Chemical Manufacturing
Metal Mining
Electric Utilities
Federal Facilities

This page was published in January 2017 and uses the 2015 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2016.

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