Source reduction

Source reduction

According to the EPA, source reduction refers to any change in the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials or products (including packaging) to reduce their amount or toxicity before they become municipal solid waste.

The Federal Trade Commission offers guidance for labeling claims :"Source reduction" refers to reducing or lowering the weight, volume or toxicity of a product or package. To avoid being misleading, source reduction claims must qualify the amount of the source reduction and give the basis for any comparison that is made. These principles apply regardless of whether a term like "source reduced" is used.


Source reduction is the highest goal in the waste management hierarchy - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It is a subset of Waste Reduction, which includes recycling and other strategies that decrease disposal quantities and pollution risk. Addressing polluting materials use as products are designed, produced, or used is the most dependable way to prevent waste from occurring.

Source Reduction is a design strategy – the creative application of Life Cycle Assessment and Alternatives Assessment and the preferred means to reach Zero waste targets and effect sustainable design. Source Reduction is important to Industrial Ecology as key to applying materials mapping and characterization results to practical and effective materials selection, placement, linking and usage.

Source reduction is the strategy of any individual, manufacturer, business, or other entity to eliminate or reduce the amount or toxicity of materials consumed, often reducing costs and other resources at the same time.

Source reduction is a set of tools and methods. A primary concept is the identification and characterization of problem materials to determine if safe use is a possibility or if safer alternatives will better fit in systems that support natural capitalism.


Pollution Prevention (or P2) and Toxics use reduction are also called source reduction because they address the use of hazardous substances at the source.


Source Reduction is achieved through improvements in production and product design, or through Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP).

The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program (TURA) offers 6 strategies to achieve source reduction:
* toxic chemical substitution
* production process modification
* finished product reformulation
* production modernization
* improvements in operations and maintenance
* in-process recycling of production material

External links

* [ United States National Pollution Prevention Information Center]
* [ United States Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center]
* [ NPPR Finds P2 Programs Effective]
* [ TURI]
* [ P2Gems Pollution prevention directory]
* [ Southwest Network for Zero Waste]

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