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30 Years of the Pollution Prevention Act

  • On  December 30, 2020 in |
  • General

Congress passed the Pollution Prevention (P2) Act in 1990. It was designed – in large part - to help U.S. businesses transform the way they think about manufacturing products and processes, and how to reduce costs by minimizing waste.

What is pollution prevention (P2)? Pollution prevention (P2) is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source. P2, also known as source reduction, is the ounce-of-prevention approach to waste management. Reducing the amount of pollution produced means less waste to control, treat, or dispose of. Less pollution means less hazards posed to public health and the environment. Go to U.S. EPA’s P2 web page at to learn more about P2.

Ohio EPA’s P2 related efforts began in 1986 with a requirement that any business that land-disposed more than 200 tons of hazardous waste in the state needed to complete a waste minimization and treatment plan. Ohio EPA’s hazardous waste program created a P2 section shortly before the federal P2 Act of 1990. In 1993, the hazardous waste program’s P2 section was expanded into an Office of Pollution Prevention (OPP) - one of around 20 state government P2 programs. This office focused on outreach and education. In 2004, OPP was merged into the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP), and in 2015 they merged with the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA).

Over the years, thousands of Ohio companies have received P2 assistance from OCAPP and many have been recognized for their P2 efforts. P2 is now integrated into most aspects of environmental protection. The green movement uses P2 approaches to address common environmental issues. The P2 concept provides the basis for the many corporate sustainability programs. Environmental initiatives such as green chemistry, zero waste, and byproduct synergy all have a strong P2 component. As P2 has changed, so has the way Ohio EPA provides P2 services. Now, we rarely approach larger companies to ask if they need help in reducing waste. Instead, they have either developed their own expertise or contact us for assistance. Our focus is now on small and medium sized businesses that may not have the expertise or resources to understand how P2 can help. We also focus more time helping companies design waste reduction programs instead of educating them on P2.

If you would like to speak with an environmental specialist about potential P2 options at your facility/company, request a free on-site P2 assessment, or find out about our encouraging environmental excellence (E3) recognition program, please call our toll-free hotline 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at (800) 329-7518

Go to our YouTube Channel to listen to webinar recordings on P2.