Source reduction

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Source reduction is activities designed to reduce the volume or toxicity of waste generated, including the design and manufacture of products with minimum toxic content, minimum volume of material, and/or a longer useful life. An example of source reduction is bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store.


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).

Source reduction in the United States[edit]

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission offers guidance for labelling 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.

The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program (TURA) offers 6 strategies to achieve source reduction:

  1. Toxic chemical substitution
  2. Production process modification
  3. Finished product reformulation
  4. Production modernization
  5. Improvements in operations and maintenance
  6. In-process recycling of production material

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