Pollution Prevention: Where Sustainability Begins

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DALLAS -- Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s true—stopping something bad from happening is easier than fixing it later. This is the core concept behind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pollution prevention efforts. Reducing the amount of pollution produced means less waste to control, treat, or dispose of.

Pollution prevention (P2), also called source reduction, is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source. EPA has emphasized P2 for 25 years, starting with the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. That law tasked EPA with establishing a grant program to teach state and local governments and businesses about the benefits of P2, laying the foundations of today’s sustainability movement.

Many of EPA’s programs contribute to P2. Agency grants support state programs that help businesses seeking source-reduction opportunities, such as funding for developing P2 plans and training for source-reduction techniques. The Toxic Release Inventory collects information to track industry progress in reducing waste generation and moving toward safer waste-management alternatives. EPA also promotes P2 awareness during Pollution Prevention Week and year-round with the P2 Information Clearinghouse.

EPA also supports several voluntary programs to assist businesses, organizations, communities, and consumers in “greening” their processes and increasing their sustainability. From environmental management systems to the Green Chemistry and Safer Choice programs, EPA resources can help many groups in achieving their P2 goals.

Individuals can prevent pollution, too. Whether at home, shopping, or on the road, anyone can make pollution prevention choices every day to protect the environment, save money, and conserve natural resources. Find tips for using P2 practices here: http://www2.epa.gov/p2/what-you-can-do-about-pollution-prevention

Over time, businesses, colleges, and even sports teams have realized that with P2 they can achieve their corporate objectives and help save the environment, all while improving their bottom lines. From clean energy initiatives, like the Clean Power Plan, to programs that promote the use of safer materials, EPA is helping to reduce pollution and make our way of life sustainable for generations to come.

More about pollution prevention: http://www2.epa.gov/p2

More about activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

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