Green Chemistry Activities
Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that use safer inputs and minimal energy while preventing the generation of waste. In the pollution prevention hierarchy, green chemistry is a way to achieve source reduction. Advancements in green chemistry allow industry to prevent pollution at its source by, for example, designing manufacturing processes that reduce or eliminate the use of TRI chemicals.
Six of the TRI source reduction codes facilities can choose from are specific to green chemistry activities, although green chemistry practices may also fit under other codes. This figure shows the chemicals for which the highest number of green chemistry activities were implemented over the last 5 years and the sectors that reported those activities.
Note: In this figure, metals are combined with their metal compounds, although metals and compounds of the same metal are listed separately on the TRI list (e.g. lead is listed separately from lead compounds).
- Since 2015, facilities have reported 1,233 green chemistry activities for 115 TRI chemicals and chemical categories.
- Green chemistry activities were reported most frequently for methanol, lead and lead compounds, toluene, zinc and zinc compounds, and ammonia.
- The chemical manufacturing, fabricated metals, and transportation equipment manufacturing sectors reported the highest number of green chemistry activities.
- Chemical manufacturers used green chemistry to reduce or eliminate their use of TRI solvent and reagent chemicals, such as methanol, toluene, and ammonia. For example:
- An organic chemical manufacturing facility installed catalyst reduction equipment which decreased methanol usage. [Click to view facility details in the TRI P2 Search Tool]
- Fabricated metal producers and transportation equipment manufacturers applied green chemistry techniques to reduce or eliminate their usage of metals such as lead and zinc. For example:
- A fabricated metal product manufacturer enhanced process monitoring and quality control which improved resource utilization and decreased waste generation, including metal waste. [Click to view facility details in the TRI P2 Search Tool]
Source reduction activities such as green chemistry are the preferred way to reduce the creation of chemical wastes. Find more information on green chemistry using these resources:
- EPA’s TRI P2 Industry Profile Dashboard: green chemistry examples for a specific chemical and/or industry.
- EPA's Green Chemistry program: information about green chemistry and EPA's efforts to facilitate its adoption.
- EPA's Safer Choice program: information about consumer products with lower hazard.
- For more details on the types of green chemistry activities reported to TRI and trends in green chemistry reporting, see The Utility of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) in Tracking Implementation and Environmental Impact of Industrial Green Chemistry Practices in the United States Exit.
This page was published in January 2021 and uses the 2019 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2020.