Pollution Prevention

Waste minimization and pollution prevention (WM/P2) concepts are embedded into all aspects of research and operations at Fermilab. Fermilab’s WM/P2 program reflects national, state and local goals and policies.


The most effective way to eliminate waste and reduce pollution is to avoid creating it. Source reduction prevents the generation of waste in the first place and thereby minimizes the environmental impact. Fermilab reduces waste by:

  • Choosing products and materials that are less toxic or can easily be reused or recycled.
  • Purchasing durable long-lasting goods.
  • Using sustainable design and engineering practices to reduce the amounts of nonrenewable raw materials required, designing and engineering systems for long life, and incorporating end-of-lifecycle recycling and reuse¬†options into processes, products and systems.


All items eventually reach an end to their intended need. Often, however, an item may not have reached the end of its serviceable life before it is no longer needed. In this case, opportunities exist to make items available to others who might find a renewed use. Fermilab has several options to make items available to others for reuse including a chemical exchange system and a property exchange program, which can make some items available for both internal (Fermilab) and external (DOE complex) reuse.


If an item cannot be reused, it is recycled whenever possible. Fermilab’s vast recycling program includes an office desk-side program for paper¬†products, plastic and cans as well as several other programs run by various internal organizations.

Other recycled items include construction and demolition debris, scrap metal, electronics, batteries, fluorescent lamps, oils, pallets, toner cartridges, polystyrene, and mercury containing devices.