The Environmental Protection Agency has encouraged voluntary efforts at pollution prevention by facilities through participation in voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) such as the 33/50 program to reduce toxic releases. This paper examines the effectiveness of the 33/50 program in the adoption of pollution prevention practices and disentangles the effect of adoption from that of program participation on releases of 33/50 chemicals. Using facility-specific panel data and controlling for the endogeneity of program participation and pollution prevention adoption, we find that program participants were 38% more likely to adopt pollution prevention practices than non-participants. Program participants who adopted pollution prevention practices reduced their 33/50 releases by 52% compared to facilities that neither participated nor adopted pollution prevention. This indicates that VEPs that emphasize pollution prevention can play a complementary role in reducing toxic releases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2234-2254
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2017


  • Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)
  • pollution prevention
  • voluntary environmental programs (VEPs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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