Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flexibility In Cutting Toxic Releases Yields Dividends

Date:
September 8, 1998
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Changes in federal regulation giving chemical companies flexibility in deciding how to reduce toxic pollution are producing measurable results, according to researchers at the University of Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Changes in federal regulation giving chemical companies flexibility in deciding how to reduce toxic pollution are producing measurable results, according to researchers at the University of Illinois.

Economists Madhu Khanna and Lisa Damon studied the impact of the 33/50 program started by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1991 to encourage firms to reduce their pollution emissions by 33 percent by 1992 and by 50 percent by 1995. The voluntary program gave companies flexibility to determine how to reduce 17 highly toxic chemicals.

The EPA has since hailed the program as a success based on pollution reductions of 46 percent compared with the level shown in the 1988 Toxic Release Inventory.

In their independent sampling of chemical companies, Khanna and Damon found that the EPA's results were inflated by including pollution reductions that took place between 1988 and 1991 before the voluntary program began.

Nevertheless, sampled participants did reduce their overall releases by 41 percent between 1991 and 1993, and had a significantly better record in pollution reduction than chemical companies not participating in the program. The figures were adjusted to equalize size and other variables between participating and non-participating companies.

Their findings suggest that the new environmental initiatives "have been effective in motivating corporations to undertake self-regulated efforts to improve their environmental performance," Khanna and Damon concluded in a paper published by the U. of I. Program in Environmental and Resource Economics.

Moreover, the 33/50 program led to a positive change in the composition of wastes. "Firms have reduced their on-site releases and increased off-site transfers for recycling, energy recovery and treatment. This change is likely to lower the net risks associated with toxic waste generation."

Looking at the question of costs, the researchers found that participating chemical companies had lower average earnings in the three years studied than non-participating companies. However, they concluded that the immediate costs of the program would be offset by reduced future liabilities and savings due to increased efficiency.

The threat of possible liabilities under the Superfund Act was a strong motivator for many companies to participate in the voluntary program, they noted, adding that "voluntary initiatives alone are unlikely by themselves to generate the desired changed in corporate behavior."

Khanna and Damon concluded that "credible penalties" must be levied against companies that make little or no effort to clean up toxic wastes. "New generation policy initiatives should be regarded as complements to rather than substitutes for mandatory environmental regulation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Flexibility In Cutting Toxic Releases Yields Dividends." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980908073246.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1998, September 8). Flexibility In Cutting Toxic Releases Yields Dividends. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980908073246.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Flexibility In Cutting Toxic Releases Yields Dividends." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980908073246.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins