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Pollution Prevention (P2) eliminates or minimizes pollution at the source — so pollution isn’t created in the first place and never enters into the environment. Traditionally, most environmental protection has involved controlling, treating, or cleaning up pollution which, in many cases, we continue to create.

P2 is most effective in reducing health and environmental risks because it:

  • eliminates the risks associated with any release of pollutants to the environment,
  • avoids shifts of pollutants from one medium (air, water or land) to another, and
  • protects natural resources for future generations, by cutting wastes and conserving resources.

The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 made pollution prevention (P2) the national environmental policy of the United States. At EPA, pollution prevention means source reduction — preventing or reducing waste where it originates, at the source — including practices that conserve natural resources by reducing or eliminating pollutants through increased efficiency in the use of raw materials, energy, water, and land. EPA works to promote pollution prevention. This is done in several ways, such as using voluntary pollution reduction programs, engaging in partnerships, providing technical assistance, funding demonstration projects, and incorporating cost-effective pollution prevention alternatives into regulations and other initiatives.

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