Comparing Industry Sectors
This section examines how different industrial sectors manage their TRI chemical waste. This sector-specific approach can highlight progress made in improving environmental performance, identify emerging issues, and reveal opportunities for better waste management practices.
Industries subject to TRI reporting requirements vary substantially in size, scope, and business type. As a result, the amounts and types of chemicals used, generated, and managed by facilities across industrial sectors often differ. For facilities in the same sector, however, the processes, products, and regulatory requirements are often similar, resulting in similar manufacture, processing, or other use of chemicals. This section presents trends in key sectors’ production-related waste managedproduction-related wasteThe sum of all non-accidental chemical waste generated at a facility. It is the sum of on-site environmental releases (minus quantities from non-routine, one-time events), on-site waste management (recycling, treatment, and combustion for energy recovery), and off-site transfers for disposal, treatment, recycling or energy recovery. which includes TRI chemical releasesReleasesAny spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment (including the abandonment or discarding of barrels, containers, and other closed receptacles) of any toxic chemical. [42 U.S.C. §11049 (8)] [40 CFR § 372.3] to the environment.
For analytical purposes, the TRI Program has aggregated the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes at the 3- and 4-digit levels, creating 29 industry sector categories. To learn more about which business activities are subject to TRI reporting requirements, see this list of covered NAICS codes.
The following pie chart shows the quantities of TRI chemical waste managed through recycling, energy recovery, treatment, and disposal or other releases. For more details on quantities released, toggle to the “Releases only” figure.
Seven industry sectors reported 88% of the TRI production-related waste managed in 2019. The majority of this waste originated from the chemical manufacturing sector (55%).
The following pie chart shows the industry sectors that reported the most releases for 2019.
This pie chart shows that 4 of the 29 TRI sectors accounted for 77% of the quantities of TRI chemicals disposed of or otherwise released: metal mining (44%), chemical manufacturing (15%), primary metals (10%), and electric utilities (8%).
For more details on how the amounts and proportions of TRI chemicals managed as waste have changed over time, see the production-related waste managed by industry trend graph.
For more information on the breakdown of these releases by environmental medium, see air releases by industry, water releases by industry, and land disposal by industry.
TRI Data Considerations
As with any dataset, there are several factors to consider when using the TRI data. Key factors associated with data used in the National Analysis are summarized in the Introduction. For more information see Factors to Consider When Using Toxics Release Inventory Data.
This page was published in January 2021 and uses the 2019 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2020.