By Daniel Teitelbaum

Pollution Prevention Staff Lead, Toxic Release Inventory Program, US EPA

 

Waste Management HierarchyLast January, EPA released a new pollution prevention (P2) search tool to help bring attention to the thousands of P2 achievements that companies report to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program each year. Thanks to TRI's unique combination of quantitative environmental metrics and qualitative information on environmentally-friendly practices, this tool has enabled a wide variety of data users to quickly identify effective P2 practices and the facilities that implemented them.

 

Now, with TRI reports for 2012 due July 1, 2013, EPA is taking additional steps to make it easier to report P2 information. When covered facilities are asked about the types of P2 activities they've implemented, for example, they will be offered six new reporting codes that can be used to indicate the adoption of green chemistry and green engineering practices.

 

These codes (which are listed on page 80 of the TRI Reporting Forms and Instructions) were developed by EPA's TRI and Green Chemistry Programs, in part at the suggestion of the Green Chemistry Institute and its Roundtable members. Their use will shed new light on the extent to which toxic chemical releases have been reduced through practices such as:

 

  • Replacing a feedstock or reagent chemical with a greener alternative;
  • Optimizing reaction conditions or otherwise increasing efficiency of synthesis;
  • Using biotechnology in a manufacturing process; and
  • Reducing the use of organic solvents

 

Facilities that select these codes will have the opportunity to elaborate on each new practice and describe its benefits in the Optional P2 Information section of the TRI form. (Additional guidance on reporting P2 successes, including TRI's new P2 reporting tip-sheet, can be found at www.epa.gov/tri/p2http://www.epa.gov/tri/P2/pdf/TRI_P2_Tipsheet.pdf.)

 

The TRI P2 search tool will be updated to include all newly-reported green chemistry practices later this summer. You can also learn more about TRI and green chemistry by attending the June 18th session on this topic at the 17th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

 

 

Figure 2: The TRI National Analysis provides information on newly-implemented P2 activities; new reporting codes added in 2012 will better track the adoption of green chemistry practices.

 

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