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Pollution Prevention - Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center Topic Hub

Strategies for reducing the use of toxic substances, eliminating hazardous waste, and conserving water and energy.

Reasons for Change

Often, decision makers want to have a justifiable and measurable reason for exploring and eventually implementing a P2 project. Supporting reasons for implementing P2 can be complex and subtler than a simple payback analysis (but that works, too!) The following are several incentives for implementing P2 projects include compliance, cost advantage, health and safety, and environmental quality. 


Compliance to environmental regulation has been a major driver for waste reduction. Unfortunately, many choose recycling, pollution control, or (even worse) remediation to achieve compliance. Undertaking P2 projects can reduce regulatory exposure and, in some cases, may eliminate the need for permits, manifesting, monitoring and reporting. Keeping up with regulatory requirements and reporting is expensive and time consuming. Implementing pollution prevention strategies can help corporations save time and money, create better relationships with regulatory bodies, and reduce corporate liabilities related to pollution. 

Cost and Competitive Advantage—

Pollution prevention activities often save money in costs related to materials, operations, and pollution or waste treatment and disposal. Many P2 projects have good returns on investment and short payback periods. Some opportunities, such as reduction in toxic substances, can reduce medical claims and disability leave. Costs associated with compliance and waste handling are avoided if the waste or pollutant is prevented. Remember that a waste is a material you pay for more than once: when you buy it, when you handle it, and when you dispose of it.

Health and Safety—

The primary focus of P2 entails lowering environmental discharges and the reduction or elimination of non-renewable consumption and use of toxic substances, This improves air quality and safety of the work environment, and decreases personal protective equipment requirements. P2 also reduces the likelihood and severity of leaks, spills and releases.


A broad-based aspect of P2 is more efficient use of raw materials, staff resources, equipment, and energy and water. Inefficiencies indicate older technologies, or equipment, HVAC systems, etc., and/or poor quality control of processes. 


An important aspect of implementing pollution prevention strategies is education. Proper training reduces health and safety risks, creates a better understanding of the purposes behind P2 strategies and increases the compliance rate for p2 policies. Creating training programs help make employees aware of pollution prevention concepts, programs, methods, accomplishments, and benefits. 

Environmental Quality and Preservation—

Many waste disposal and treatment methods have proven less protective of the environment than previously estimated. These methods may just move environmental contaminants from one medium to another and may cause future problems. Efficient use of raw materials, energy, and water help to conserve non-renewable resources and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. 

Future Liability—

Past disposal practices, even though legal, have often caused environmental damage that has proved to be expensive to clean up and damaging to company image. Reducing wastes reduces long-term liability potential. Reducing use of toxics reduces potential liability with employees that are affected by chemicals in the workplace. 

Improved Community Relations, Company Image, and Customer Loyalty—

EPA and others publish details of companies' toxic waste and emissions that do not provide a favorable light for the largest emitters when compared with their neighbors. Both governmental and non-governmental groups have award programs or otherwise publicly recognize companies that improve the community through their commitments to P2. Several companies choose to market themselves as environmental leaders. 

Adapted from Ohio Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimization Planning Guidance Manual

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