30 Years of Pollution Prevention Builds Stronger, More Sustainable Businesses

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution PreventionBy Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Businesses are the backbone of the American economy and play a crucial role in protecting our environment for generations to come. This year marks EPA’s 50th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of the Pollution Prevention (P2) Act. During this time, we’ve worked with businesses to find ways to stop pollution before it is even created, the very heart of P2 and sustainability practices.

P2 focuses attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and use of raw material, resulting in less waste, economic growth, and protection of public health. The combined effect of all this is a healthier environment and stronger, more sustainable businesses that are innovative and resilient.

For the past 30 years, we’ve partnered with states and tribes through our P2 grants to support U.S. businesses seeking information about P2 and source reduction opportunities. Our grantees have helped thousands of businesses identify, develop, and adopt P2 approaches which have significantly reduced the use and release of hazardous materials into the environment and saved businesses over $1.5 billion.

These savings can help businesses gain a competitive advantage by reducing operation and maintenance costs and increasing profits and community recognition of their environmental stewardship and, in so doing, can help the U.S. economy grow.

One great way to get a sense of how businesses are working to reduce pollution is to take a look at our Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) pollution prevention pages. The TRI Program collects information to track industry progress in reducing waste generation and moving toward safer waste management alternatives. Many facilities provide descriptions of measures they have taken to prevent pollution and reduce the amount of chemicals entering the environment. For example, in 2018, a total of 3,120 new source reduction activities were implemented by 1,270 facilities.

This week, during P2 Week, I’d like to encourage you to take actions that foster a prosperous and sustainable future. Citizens, communities, and companies have a wide range of options to reduce pollution at its source. Whether we reduce the use of pesticides applied to our gardens, become more energy efficient at work, or explore the TRI data available for our community, there are all kinds of good practices that can help us advance economic growth and increase sustainability at the same time.

Check out the resources provided below for information on P2 Week activities. Additionally, you can look through our new P2 timeline to learn about all the P2 progress we’ve made over the last 30 years!


About the author: Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Prior to that she served as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1, and her responsibilities included overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations. Read more.

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