By Daniel Teitelbaum, Pollution Prevention Staff Lead, Toxic Release Inventory Program, US EPA
Since its inception in 1986, EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program has embodied the principle that information can lead to improved environmental outcomes even in the absence of explicit pollution control mandates. Now, TRI is shining its spotlight in an area where experts have identified significant information and knowledge barriers: green chemistry innovation and implementation.
In connection with the publication of the 2011 TRI National Analysis report, EPA released a new pollution prevention (P2) search tool to make green chemistry and other P2 information collected by TRI readily available and help break down barriers to adoption of these practices. The tool offers easy and direct access to a variety of data elements provided by industrial facilities. These include both mandatory release and waste management quantities and an optional free-text field that thousands of facilities use to describe their green chemistry and other P2 practices.
For the more than 20,000 facilities that report to TRI annually, completing the P2-related data fields in the TRI reporting form is an opportunity to showcase their green chemistry achievements, provide important context for the toxic chemical quantities they have disclosed, and get the word out about environmentally-preferable products that have proven, quantifiable benefits. For data users, the tool offers an easy way to find out which facilities reported the largest reductions in toxic chemical releases and the P2 activities that were most effective for their area of interest.
Over the coming months, EPA plans to enhance this tool and make it easier for facilities to report new information on green chemistry practices, as well as barriers to such practices. We encourage you to explore the tool and provide your feedback at www.epa.gov/tri/p2. You can also get information on TRI and green chemistry by viewing a recent ACS webinar or attending the session on this topic at the upcoming Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference.
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