Report profiles environmental stewardship
in major sectors
Washington, DC— Steel recycling has reached
a 20-year high. The number of green buildings doubled last year.
Paint and coating manufacturers now reclaim 97 percent of all waste
solvents for further use. The forest products sector now leads all
manufacturers in use of co-generation, a highly efficient process
that creates heat and electricity from a single source. These are
just a few of the environmental performance trends highlighted in
a new EPA report.
The 2006 Sector Strategies Performance Report
is a joint product of EPA’s partnerships with some of the
nation’s most important economic sectors. Collectively, these
sectors contribute nearly $2.1 trillion to the gross domestic product
and $5 billion in environmental spending each year.
Through EPA’s Sector Strategies Program,
more than 20 national trade associations – representing 12
major sectors of the United States economy – are working with
the agency to improve their environmental performance while also
reducing unnecessary administrative burden. The participating sectors
represent more than 780,000 facilities in manufacturing (cement,
forest products, steel, metal casting, metal finishing, paint and
coatings, shipbuilding, and specialty-batch chemical) and non-manufacturing
sectors (colleges and universities, construction, ports, and agribusiness).
Using government and industry data, as well as
case study examples, the report provides a 10-year portrait of environmental
performance for each sector. It tracks each sector for their record
in reducing water discharges, air emissions, waste generation, toxic
chemical releases, as well as their accomplishments in recycling
and energy and water efficiency.
The data reveal areas where sectors are improving
and where more effort is needed to achieve environmental goals.
For example, the forest products, iron and steel, and cement sectors
are some of the nation’s most energy-intensive industries.
While all three registered improvements in energy efficiency over
the 10-year period, their trade associations (the American Forest
and Paper Association, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and
the Portland Cement Association) have set industry goals that would
net further energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas intensity.
The report also provides a first-time look at
how EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory data can be used to target
the greatest hazard reduction opportunities when managing chemicals.
EPA is using toxicity-weighted scores to show release trends for
higher impact substances.