Measure Your Progress
Measuring waste prevention results is one of the most challenging parts of any waste reduction program. Use the following resources to find data sources, calculate waste reduction results, and determine the environmental and economic benefits of your waste reduction program.
- Monitor and Evaluate Your Program
- Calculate Results
- Determine Environmental Benefits
- Account for Intangible Benefits
Program monitoring and evaluation is a critical element of a waste reduction program. It is important to establish a consistent set of metrics and procedures for collecting data. The Waste Reduction and Buy Recycled Tracking Sheet (Excel) (530K) can help you track your efforts and estimates:
- The quantity and composition of waste generated.
- Avoided waste removal costs.
- Avoided purchasing costs.
- Waste prevention and recycling revenues.
- Greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Compare each year’s results to your baseline data or the previous year’s results to evaluate your program’s progress. The tracking sheet does not consider intangible benefits of waste reduction, such as improved corporate image and employee morale, which you should also consider when determining the overall success of your program.
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
- Waste Reduction and Buy Recycled Tracking Sheet (Excel) (530K). Click to open or right-click to download and save to your computer. This file contains macros that need to be enabled. To do this, before opening the file, open Excel, click on Tools, then Macro, then Security. Select the Security Level tab and make sure it is set on medium.
- How to Use the Waste Reduction and Buy Recycled Tracking Sheet (PDF) (7 pp, 85K). Guidance for completing the Waste Reduction and Buy Recycled Tracking Sheet.
WasteWise offers tools and conversion factors to help you accurately calculate the amount of waste reduced and associated cost savings. Cost savings can result from avoided waste removal costs, avoided purchasing costs, and increased operational efficiency.
- Volume-to-Weight Conversion Factors (PDF) (21 pp, 236K). Comprehensive list of volume-to-weight conversion factors for commonly collected materials.
- Calculating Amount Reduced (PDF) (16 pp, 119K). Measurement approaches for waste reduction activities including packaging reduction, office paper reduction, office equipment and supply reuse and donation, and toner cartridge remanufacturing. Sample calculations and default values are provided.
- Estimating Waste Removal Costs (PDF) (2 pp, 65K). A worksheet to evaluate your organization’s waste removal costs and develop a baseline for future cost comparisons.
- Converting Waste Reduction Results into Cost Savings (PDF) (4 pp, 84K). A guide to help you quantify cost savings from your waste reduction program.
By reducing waste, WasteWise Partners also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their consumption of natural resources and energy. Use the resources below to determine the environmental benefits that have resulted from your organization’s waste reduction efforts.
- Waste Reduction Model (WARM). A tool that shows how your WasteWise efforts affect climate change. The tool calculates and totals the GHG emissions associated with waste management practices—source reduction, recycling, combustion, composting, and landfilling. The model calculates in metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCE), metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), and energy units (million BTU) across material types that make up municipal solid waste (MSW). WARM can help solid waste planners and organizations track and report GHG emissions reductions that result from several different waste management practices.
- Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. An online tool that translates GHG emissions reductions into real-life equivalents (e.g., barrels of oil, acres of forest preserved from deforestation, passenger cars not driven for one year).
- EPA Climate Change and Waste Web site. This Web site provides information about the relationship between solid waste and global climate change, access to publications, links to innovative waste reduction projects, and conversion tools.
- WasteWise Helpline. Contact the WasteWise Helpline at (800) EPA-WISE (372-9473) or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in converting your waste reduction results into greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Successful waste reduction programs can yield benefits other than cost savings. Improved employee morale and positive public image are a couple examples of intangible benefits that your organization may experience.