25 Years Preventing Pollution: A Retrospective Report

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The Pollution Prevention (P2) Act, passed 25 years ago, represented a paradigm shift in our nation’s approach to solving pollution problems. In clear terms, the Act called for industry, government, and the public to look upstream in manufacturing processes — to prevent sources of pollution rather than use end-of-pipe reduction or clean-up strategies. To contextualize the Act within a larger history of pollution prevention, this report seeks to answer a few questions: Where did the conceptual shift from control to prevention come from? What has been the Act’s impact or legacy? And what’s next?

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