Regulatory Library

Pollution Prevention Act (PPA)


The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), first passed by Congress in 1990, is codified at 42 USC 13101. The PPA establishes the following national policy:

    "…that pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible; pollution that cannot be prevented should be recycled in an environmentally safe manner, whenever feasible; pollution that cannot be prevented or recycled should be treated in an environmentally safe manner whenever feasible; and that disposal or other release into the environment should be employed only as a last resort and should be conducted in an environmentally safe manner."

For facilities that already were required to report their releases of toxic chemicals under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, PPA required additional reporting about source reduction and recycling activities related to these chemical releases.

The remainder of the requirements established by PPA apply to Federal Government activities, and do not impose any additional regulatory obligations on the chemical industry. However, pollution prevention is an important program area in EPA and within state environmental agencies, and helps establish institutional relationships where the chemical industry and these regulatory agencies can work cooperatively for mutual benefit.

The PPA requires EPA to promote pollution prevention via Agency regulatory activities and to encourage voluntary pollution prevention by industry through information dissemination and technical assistance. By adopting pollution prevention practices, the chemical industry can realize cost savings and improved regulatory compliance. For many environmental releases, such as hazardous wastes, direct cost savings can be attributed to the reduction in the amount regulated. Additionally, many environmental regulations include de minimus quantities, below which the regulatory requirements are reduced or waived. If pollution prevention activities can reduce releases below these de minimus values, certain compliance activities and their associated costs can be eliminated or drastically reduced.

Related sites:
EPA Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act
EPA's Pollution Prevention web site


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