The Problem

Wasted Value in U.S. Supply Chains

The amount of wasted resources generated by manufacturing in the United States leaves ample room for opportunity among sustainability-savvy firms. And service-based firms also face a number of issues related to sustainability. Regardless of a company's industry, its supply chain can have a significant impact on sustainability. As companies work with more international and diverse suppliers, it's crucial to understand the total impact of the end-to-end supply chain.

Contrary to the misconception that sustainability is needlessly expensive, implementing sustainable practices can help a firm recoup money spent in the supply chain. In fact, as government regulations on waste output require firms to evolve their practices, implementing sustainability steps can position your organization ahead of the curve. 

A common misconception is that sustainable practices aren't regulated. A factory cannot legally pour waste down the drain and into waterways. The U.S. government already regulates this, and firms should be prepared for new areas of regulation in the future.

Opportunities Within Operations


Pile of garbage crushed into large cubes

U.S. manufacturers generated 25.86 billion pounds of waste in 2019. Of that, 15.74 billion pounds was recycled and the rest was treated or incinerated, leaving 1.43 billion pounds of waste in landfills.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

CO2 Emissions

Two tall industrial chimneys release gas into the air in a large city

The U.S. generates 5.13 billion tons of CO2 annually, with 1.42 billion tons coming from manufacturing.

U.S. Energy Information Administration and EPA


Rippling blue water

U.S. manufacturing consumes 20.7 trillion gallons of water per year of the total U.S. annual consumption of 117.5 trillion gallons.



An electrical transmission tower stands in a field against a bright blue sky and white clouds

U.S. manufacturing used 26.62 quadrillion (26,620,000,000,000,000) BTUs for building heating and feedstocks in 2019. For comparison, a typical American household uses about 149 million (149,000,000) BTUs a year.


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