Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention means reducing or eliminating sources of pollution to prevent damage to the environment while also eliminating the need for costly controls and cleanup, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Some may also know pollution prevention by its other name, source reduction. No matter the name it goes by, it is fundamentally different and more desirable than recycling, treatment and disposal.

Pollution prevention is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source. Reducing the amount of pollution produced means less waste to control, treat, or dispose of. Preventing pollution before it is created is preferable to trying to manage, treat, or dispose of it after the fact.

We can all apply pollution prevention in our daily lives. Whether in the home and garden, at the supermarket or on the road, we can make pollution prevention choices every day in order to protect the environment, save money, and conserve natural resources. Additionally, there are significant opportunities for industry to reduce or prevent pollution at the source through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use.

Pollution prevention reduces both financial costs (waste management and cleanup) and environmental costs (health problems and environmental damage). Pollution prevention protects the environment by conserving and protecting natural resources while strengthening economic growth through more efficient production in industry and less need for households, businesses and communities to handle waste.

For more information on pollution prevention, visit https://www.epa.gov/p2week.


Tips for preventing pollution - a brochure

Use this map to find EPA regional and state contact information.


How can I find safer products for my family and my community?

EPA Greener Products Web Site is designed to help you navigate the complex world of greener products. It allows you to search for EPA programs related to greener products and links to additional greener products information from other sources.

How "Green" Is It? Keep an eye out for products that are designed with the environment in mind!

EPA's Safer Choice has recognized 2,500 products that are safer for people and the planet.

Do's and Don't of Pest Control.

How can I make my home more energy efficient and support cleaner electricity?

ENERGY STAR features energy efficient choices that can save families about a third on their home energy bills without sacrificing style or comfort.

Calculate your household greenhouse gas emissions.

Green Power Locator can be used to find green power options in your area! You can choose how your electricity is generated by using EPA's Power Profiler. Green power technologies capture renewable energy to create electricity.

How can I reduce the amount of garbage I generate?

Americans generate 1.6 million tons of household hazardous waste per year. Reducing consumption, reusing items, and recycling products and materials help to protect the environment. EPA offers you information on how to prevent waste, reduce consumption, and reuse dozens of items.

Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste
Learn about practical steps you can take to reduce the amount and toxicity of your garbage.

How do I reduce household hazardous wastes?

The Household Hazardous Waste website has a lot of information on how you can reduce the amount of household hazardous waste you generate and ensure that those wastes are safely stored and handled.

What more can I do to make my home more sustainable?

Greener Living Tips for engaging in green practices around the home.

Conserving Water A family of four uses 400 gallons of water every day. Learn how EPA's WaterSense program helps conserve water for future generations.


How can I save water and reduce polluted run-off from my yard?

Water-smart Landscape Design Tips helps to reduce water usage by planting drought-tolerant plants and grasses for landscaping and reduce grass-covered areas.

USDA Local Cooperative Extension System Offices will help you find out what nutrients your lawn needs, test the soil through your local USDA Cooperative Extension System Office or home kit. Only Use What's Needed! If you use fertilizer, use a slow-release type no more than twice per year.

Pesticides: Controlling Pests - Lawn and Garden: Read the Label on any and all pesticides you use to be sure you use them properly.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management.

Water-Efficient Landscaping: Preventing Pollution & Using Resources Wisely (PDF) Conserve water by mulching and by using a soaker hose or drip system. Install a drip-irrigation water system for valuable plants.


How can I prevent pollution by maintaining my car?

Saving money at the pump. Regardless of the make or model, your car’s estimated gas mileage depends on how you fuel, drive and maintain your car.

Fuel Economy.gov has more tips on how to save money on fuel costs.

EPA's Green Vehicle Web site and SmartWay Certified Vehicle Guide will show you if you have cleaner, more fuel-efficient choices in any vehicle size you need, even SUVs, trucks, and other heavy-duty vehicles.

Your on-board diagnostics (OBD) computer system is an advanced computer system responsible for monitoring your vehicle's engine, transmission, and emissions control components. This OBD system can save you time and money by identifying minor problems before they become major repair bills, if you drive a 1996 or newer car or light truck.

Collecting Used Oil for Recycling/Reuse: Tips for Consumers Who Change Their Own Motor Oil and Oil Filters (PDF). If you change your own motor oil, recycle it at a "quick lube" shop, gas station, or auto store that accepts used motor oil for recycling. 


Environmental Management Systems (EMS) can be used by any business or facility to reduce their environmental footprint. The plan can reduce the impact of your energy and water use, waste generation, natural resource depletion, and pollution associated with operating your facilities.

You can take action at work by improving energy efficiency and planning environmentally aware events such as meetings and workshops.

Your business can become more energy efficient by choosing office products (computers, faxes, etc.) that have earned an ENERGY STAR label.

EPEAT-registered products are manufactured with fewer toxins and are designed to be easily recycled. EPEAT-registered products also meet the latest ENERGY STAR® specifications, so they can help you lower your energy use.

Plug Into eCycling where you can find out how to reduce the impacts of electronic products by donating or recycling your obsolete electronics. 


E3: Economy, Energy and Environment is a technical assistance framework helping communities, manufacturers, and manufacturing supply chains adapt and thrive in today's green economy.


Recycle City Web Site helps you learn about and explore how residents in this make-believe city are protecting their environment.


Examples of pollution prevention include equipment or technology modifications, reformulation or redesign of products, substitution of less toxic raw materials improvements in work practices, maintenance, worker training, and better inventory control.

Why should an industry or organization incorporate Pollution Prevention into their operational process?

  • Cost Savings & increased profits
  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced regulatory exposure, risk, and long-term liability
  • Improved worker safety
  • Reduced energy & water use
  • Reduced waste production & disposal costs

See how EPA is showcasing how LCD suppliers are reducing potent fluorinated GHG (F-GHG) emissions.