In this research, a methodology named whole-process pollution control (WPPC) is demonstrated that improves the effectiveness of process optimization. This methodology considers waste/emission treatment as a step of the whole production process with respect to the minimization of cost and environmental impact for the whole process. The following procedures are introduced in a WPPC process optimization: (1) a material and energy flow investigation and optimization based on a systematic understanding of the distribution and physiochemical properties of potential pollutants; (2) a process optimization to increase the utilization efficiency of different elements and minimize pollutant emissions; and (3) an evaluation to reveal the effectiveness of the optimization strategies. The production of ammonium paratungstate was chosen for the case study. Two factors of the different optimization schemes-namely the cost-effectiveness factor and the environmental impact indicator-were evaluated and compared. This research demonstrates that by considering the nature of potential pollutants, technological innovations, economic viability, environmental impacts, and regulation requirements, WPPC can efficiently optimize a metal production process. (C) 2019 THE AUTHORS. Published by Elsevier LTD on behalf of Chinese Academy of Engineering and Higher Education Press Limited Company.