Tracking, Measuring and Reporting P2 Results and Outcomes
by Chris Wiley
PPRC Executive Director
"How much pollution have P2 efforts really prevented?” This question was posed to me a few years ago by a philanthropic foundation. My answer? Not a word, but a slight tilt of my head (much like a dog who’s not quite sure what his owner wants).
“What have been the results of your activities and efforts?” This one came from a legislative aid who was being newly introduced to our organization. Again, no good answer; certainly not an unequivocal, absolutely defensible and quantitative number I could proclaim with enthusiasm.
Noticing our inability to adequately tell the Pollution Prevention Story, we joined other P2 programs throughout the Northwest to develop a P2 Results Measurement tool. With funding from EPA Region 10 and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality we set out to develop an online tool to measure and report the results of P2 program activities and projects.
Shortly after we completed the tool and had some numbers to report, I had an opportunity to use the information. I attended a meeting where a local government official proclaimed that “voluntary P2 and compliance assistance programs do not work!”
When it was my turn to speak, I refuted that assertion by placing a viewgraph (right) on the overhead projector. I finally had solid numbers to help tell the P2 Story, and judging by the audience reaction, they were looking to tell this story too.
How Did We Get These Numbers?
Currently, PPRC collects and inputs data from P2 Plans (for those states with P2 plan requirements), awards programs and anecdotal case studies. In the future, we hope to have a distributed network of P2 Program representatives entering their own results data directly into the tool.
We enter the data through a series of online input pages for four major categories:
Specifically, we try to capture the following data for each category:
- General Project/Activity Information;
- Process Inputs;
- Process Outputs; and
- Renewable/Recycled Materials & Resources.
General Project/Activity Information
- Name of P2 Program
- Geographic state activity occurred
- Date range of the activity
- Toxic/Hazardous Materials Reduced (pounds and gallons)
- Raw Materials Reduced (pounds and gallons)
- Reduced Use of Raw/Fresh Water
- Reduced Use of Energy/Fuel (Electricity, Natural Gas, Vehicle Miles, Diesel Fuel, Other Petroleum, Coal, Other Fuels)
- Hazardous Waste Reduced (pounds and gallons)
- Hazardous Waste Diverted to Recycling/Reuse (pounds and gallons)
- Number of Businesses/Institutions that Changed their Status as Large, Small, Exempt, or Below-Reporting-Threshold Hazardous Waste Generators
- Solid Waste Reduced (pounds and gallons)
- Solid Waste Diverted to Recycling/Reuse (pounds and gallons)
- Direct Releases to Air Reduced (CO2, NOx, SOx, Particulates, non-HAP VOCs, HAP VOCs, non-VOC HAPs, Other Air Pollutants)
- Industrial Wastewater Discharge Avoided
Renewable/Recycled Materials & Resources
- Recovered Materials Used (pounds and gallons)
- Renewable Energy Purchased Off-Site (KWh)
- Renewable Energy Generated On-Site (KWh)
- Reclaimed Water Use
For each of the data fields above we can capture Initial Costs and Savings data when available. For Initial Costs, we track and measure both Non-Capital and Capital costs. Savings are tracked as either One-Time savings or Annually Recurring.
Below is an example of the Process Inputs data input page. Each question mark icon links to a page that defines the corresponding data element.
Reduced Operating Costs
One of the most compelling numbers on the screen shot image above is the amount of reduced operating costs from P2 and related activities: over $384 million. This figure is the sum of several selected aggregated measures after certain cost factors are applied to the raw data. The cost factors are:
- Reduced Hazardous Waste Generation (pounds) = (lbs.)($2/lb.)
- Reduced Hazardous Waste Generation (gallons) = (gallons)(8.34 lbs./gal.)($2/lb.)
- Reduced Toxic Material Use = (reported one-time savings + reported annual savings) [this value varies dramatically between materials, so no no average cost factor is applied]
- Electricity Saved = (KWh)($.04/KWh)
- Therms Natural Gas Saved = (therms)($.30/therm)
- Diesel Gasoline Saved = (gallons)($1.345/gallon)
- Other Gasoline Saved = (gallons)($.0542/gal.)
- Water Saved = (gallons)($.124/gal.)
- Solid Waste Reduced = (lbs.)($.03/lb.)
- Vehicle Miles Avoided = (miles)($.52/mile)
Here, at last, were the numbers I needed to answer the earlier queries. Here were numbers useful for environmental agency managers, legislators and business leaders. Here were numbers that were quantitative, unequivocal, and absolutely defensible. Here were numbers sufficient to acquaint leaders and managers with the affects of P2 and the reasons why sufficient resources should be allocated to conduct more P2 outreach.
2004 is the year for the P2 community to determine how to track, analyze and report P2 results across the country.
What Could a National P2 Results System Look Like?
In 2003, the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) produced the report: An Ounce of Pollution Prevention is Worth Over 167 Billion Pounds of Cure: A Decade of Pollution Prevention Results 1990 - 2000. It provided information on local pollution prevention program achievements over the last decade and resonated well with many environmental agency managers. It began to make a quantifiable case for businesses to implement P2 as an environmental program.
However, while the report captured many P2 results from across the nation, gathering data from each program and state is a huge undertaking, and the data reported from some regions fell short of actual P2 results.
If this type of report is to be a recognized and reliable tool for communicating the importance of P2, then we need it to tell the great story that P2 is.
To ensure the full story gets told, P2 programs may find Desktop Tracking systems and other software useful. Desktop Tracking systems allow individual P2 practitioners to input data on the results of their projects, and many regions have invested in the development of customized systems (see diagram).
The data captured from these Desktop Tracking systems could be rolled up into regional aggregation tools, like PPRC’s. At this scale, “number crunching” can yield tangible facts and equivalents about P2 impacts on the regional economy and environment.
Ultimately, a national report could be developed by accessing the regional reports, summarizing results and highlighting the many successes of P2 programs. Using these tools together may be the best way to provide the most comprehensive accounting of the environmental and economic benefits that our nation enjoys as a result of pollution prevention.
A Vision of How a National Results System Might Work
|Desktop Tracking Systems
example: NEWMOA P2 & Compliance Measurement
example: EPA Region 8
(more information: Linda Walters, 303-312-6385)
|Regional Data Aggregation
example: Region 10 P2 Results Measurement Tool
example: Region 7 P2 Results Measurement Tool Demonstration Site
|National P2 Results Report
example: NPPR Report, “An Ounce of Pollution Prevention
is Worth Over 167 Billion Pounds of Cure:
A Decade of Pollution Prevention Results 1990-2000”
In 2004, there will be opportunities to discuss complex measurement issues and develop data collection, analysis, and reporting systems. Here’s how to get involved: Find out who is representing your Region on the National P2 Results Task Force. Contact Terri Goldberg at NEWMOA (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chris Wiley at PPRC (email@example.com)
Join NEWMOA’s P2 and Compliance Assistance Metrics Listserve. Contact Chris at PPRC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Attend the Measurement Training Session and the Breakout Discussion at the “One Environment, One Conference - National Environmental Assistance Summit” in Baltimore, Maryland from April 19-24 (www.p2.org/summit2004/Agenda.cfm)
Save the Date!
PPRC Hosts Annual Northwest P2 Roundtable on March 17-18, 2004
Use this unique opportunity to network with public, non-profit, and private sector professionals working on waste reduction and resource efficiency projects around the Pacific Northwest.
- Morning presentations and afternoon training sessions to share tools, contacts, and resources on:
- Lean Manufacturing
- Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
- Product Stewardship
- “Beyond Waste” and Organizational Sustainability Initiatives
- “Big-picture” musings on Northwest sustainability work, from Nik Blosser of the Sustainable Industries Journal and Celilo Media Group
- Structured “what’s up?” sessions: share news on recent, ongoing & future projects, contacts and resources
- Funders roundtable where funders and “fundees” can brainstorm next steps/next projects
When: Wed., March 17 - Thurs., March 18; 8:30am - 4:30pm each day
Special Free Training Opportunity:
Where: Mountaineers Building, 300 Third Ave West, Seattle (southwest of Seattle Center, on Metro bus lines)
Fee: $50 admission fee (includes Wednesday lunch)
RSVP: Advance reservations recommended. Contact PPRC: email@example.com or 206-352-2050
More Information: Agenda, directions to the meeting location and nearby hotels, and more at www.pprc.org
On Tues. March 16, 8am - 3:30pm, the Washington State Department of Ecology is offering a training opportunity at the Mountaineers Building, free of charge and with lunch provided. The training “On-Site Compliance Assistance and Technical Assistance Referrals” is designed for local, state, and federal compliance inspectors and technical assistance providers. Space is limited! To register, or for more information, contact Rob Reuter at WDOE: 425-649-7086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever spent hours developing a specialized factsheet only to find that someone across the country wrote one a year before that would have worked for you? This, and related experiences, are frustrating anytime, but especially when you have fewer hours to devote to P2 work. providing quick access to popular P2 information,
conducting national searches to find resources and contacts on specific topics, and
helping publicize Northwest P2 news, products and activities.
In an effort to help prevent this type of redundancy, and improve information flows, PPRC teams with a national network of other regional P2 information centers, called P2Rx (the Pollution Prevention Resource eXchange). Together, we help P2 information providers by:
P2 Programs Directory
(Find assistance programs near and far)
Online P2 Information
(information on 39 industry sectors and P2 topics)
Homes Across America
(resource efficient home building)
Mercury Reduction Programs
Request for Proposals Clearinghouse
“Rapid Response” Help Desk
(Quick responses to P2 questions)