This year during Pollution Prevention Week, September 19-25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency marks the 20th anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, according to an EPA press release. The act laid the groundwork for reducing pollution at its source and protecting children and families from exposure to harmful pollutants, as well as significantly reducing the amount of contaminants released into the environment. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson is urging the public to recommit to the goal of pollution prevention in their everyday lives.

“Protecting public health and the environment begins with pollution prevention. We’re taking proactive steps that minimize pollution at the source and keep environmental threats from reaching our communities,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 gave our nation a strong start in this direction. Twenty years later, we must work with our government and industry partners to foster clean innovations and sustainable strategies that expand and enhance pollution prevention across the country.”

EPA is focused on integrating of pollution prevention goals into all its programs and has already achieved results in many agency programs:
  • In 2009 alone, Americans with the help of Energy Star saved $17 billion dollars on their energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 29 million cars.
  • WasteWise celebrated 15 years of environmental results in 2009, with 2,860 members contributing to the prevention and recycling of more than 160 million tons of waste (or 320 billion pounds).
  • Since the program began in 2003, Plug-In To eCycling partners have recycled more than 360 million pounds of electronics, including televisions, computers and cell phones.
  • WaterSense has helped consumers save 46 billion gallons of water and $343 million in water and sewer bills since the program’s inception in 2006.
  • Green electronics, Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, and the Design for the Environment (DfE) programs have reduced the use of toxic materials in everyday items like computers and household cleaners and give consumers the choice to use safer products since the programs began in 2006, 1995 and 1992 respectively. Today, more than 2,000 products carry the DfE label.
EPA has also been working closely with states, local governments, international organizations, environmental groups and industry to identify pollution prevention opportunities. One example is the Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) Program, which is helping manufacturers reduce costs and become more efficient, competitive and sustainable in a global market.

More information on Pollution Prevention Week and what you can do:

Participate in Pollution Prevention Week webinars—Journey to Sustainability: