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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

Industry Makes Green While Going Green

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Major manufacturing and business sectors are improving environmental performance to cut waste, improve economic competitiveness and gain other important benefits. Steel recycling in the United States reached an all-time high in 2005. Chemical manufacturers cut air emissions in half from 1995 to 2006. During the same decade, cement manufacturers reduced their waste per unit of production by one quarter. These environmental trends are highlighted in a new EPA report released this month on some of the nation’s most important economic sectors.

“America’s leading industries are not just making beverages and manufacturing chemicals – today they are also producing real environmental results,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “They are proving that smart environmental performance is smart business.”

EPA’s 2008 Sector Performance Report provides environmental profiles of 12 major sectors of the U.S. economy: cement manufacturing, construction, ports, chemical manufacturing, colleges and universities, food and beverage manufacturing, forest products, iron and steel, metal casting, oil and gas, paint and coatings, shipbuilding and ship repair. The third in a series of sector-based environmental performance reports, today’s update shows the location and concentration of sector facilities across the country, and provides expanded analyses of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The report shows each sector’s environmental impact, including air emissions, water discharges, and waste disposal. It also gives a 10-year portrait of performance trends for the nine industrial sectors: for example, air emissions per unit of production fell from four percent to 67 percent from 1996 to 2005, representing more than 300 million pounds fewer air emissions each year. Using government and industry data and case studies, the report also shows areas of progress and highlights where targeted efforts are still needed.

The 12 sectors represent more than 856,000 entities employing more than 12.6 million people, and contributing more than $2.5 trillion annually to the U.S. economy. These sectors also represent nearly 15 percent of total domestic energy consumption, more than a quarter of U.S. air pollutant emissions, and more than 75 percent of the hazardous waste generated in this country.

EPA works with business and industry sectors to find effective ways to improve environmental performance and resource management. The 2008 report can be used by government agencies, business associations, individual companies, communities, and other entities to fully understand sector impacts and then set priorities for action.

Number 50 part 1


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