US study shows waste reduction at source still an elusive goal

The right-to-know and waste reduction laws passed in the USA since the late 1980s are often portrayed as having given a major impetus to waste minimisation in the chemical industry and its customers. But a recent study sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency has found that more than half of the reported reductions in waste generation among the leading companies in the field were purely paper gains - while product and process changes which cut wastes at source contributed only 5% to their reported reductions in releases and disposals.

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