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Lean Manufacturing and Environment

Lean and Environment Toolkit

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Appendix B: Basic Environmental Measures for Lean Enterprises

The following facility-level draft of basic environmental measures could help world-class Lean practitioners document:

  • The cost benefits from integrated approaches to managing/preempting environmental risks and liabilities;
  • The environmental benefits of life cycle approaches that seek synergies from investments into cleaner technologies and the production of green products/services;
  • The use of pollution prevention as a tool to a sustainable future by augmenting the Lean system’s capacity through the systematic elimination of environmental hazards and pollution sources; and
  • The quantities of chemicals, water and energy impacts, and environmental discharges being reduced or eliminated.

These metrics can be incorporated into current manufacturing processes seamlessly as they are directed at the same goals as the business part: waste reduction.


The draft basic environmental measures below should not be construed as an exhaustive list of environmental performance measures since other investment, efficiency, effectiveness, cost/benefit activities, and behavioral level measures may not be currently measured by this tool. These other facility-level environmental outcome measures may be compelled, however, by environmental management systems that are ISO 14000 compliant. Likewise, other voluntary EPA or state environmental pollution prevention partnerships may compel a level of documentation beyond the one sought by the enclosed performance measurement tool.

EPA’s Lean and Environment Basic Environmental Measures

The basic environmental measures tool below is in part derived from two EPA national voluntary partnership programs—the Green Supplier Network and the National Environmental Performance Track. The measures include priority chemicals that are of particular concern because of their toxicity, persistence in the environment, and/or their potential to bioaccumulate in organisms at higher levels in the food chain.

Many leading enterprises already report the environmental performance measures identified in this table to national and state environmental reporting systems such as the Toxics Release Inventory and voluntary environmental partnership programs.

Basic Environmental Measures




Unit of Measure

Input Measures

Energy Use

Any source providing usable power or consuming electricity
Transportation and non-transportation sources

Energy Used

Specific to energy source such as BTUs or kilowatt hours, % reduction, energy use/unit of product

Land Use

Land covered by buildings, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces
Land/habitat conservation

Land Converted, Land Restored or Protected, Area of Impervious Surfaces

Square feet, acres

Materials Use

Materials used (total or specific), ex. packaging materials
Proportion of input materials that were recycled or recovered (vs. virgin materials)

Materials Used, Percent Utilization of Materials, Post-Consumer Recycled Content

Tons/year, pounds/unit of product, % materials utilization

Toxic/ Hazardous Chemicals Use

Use of hazardous and toxic chemicals that are regulated or are otherwise of concern (Priority Chemicals and Fact Sheets)

Toxic/Hazardous Chemicals Used

Pounds/year, pounds/unit of product, % reduction

Water Use

Incoming raw water, from outside sources, e.g., from municipal water supply or wells, for operations, facility use, and grounds maintenance. NPDES

Volume of Water Used, P2 to reduce Priority Chemicals/Quality Standards/Pretreat Standards

Gallons/year, % reduction, % recycled Pounds Priority Chemicals/year, % reduced, % recycled

Non-Product Output Measures

Air Emissions

The release of any of the following:

  • Air toxics - CAA 112b HAPs
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Lead
  • Ozone and its precursors, including:
    • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
    • NOx (nitrogen oxides)
  • Ozone-depleting substances
  • PM10 (particulate matter)
  • PM2.5 (fine particulate matter)
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Greenhouse gases, including Carbon Dioxide

Air Emissions Generated

Pounds/year, Tons/year, % reduction

Water Pollution

Quantity of pollutant in wastewater that is discharged to water source.  Should include any substances regulated in NPDES permit. May include:

  • Heavy Metals - Cu, Pb, Hexavalent Chromium, Cadmium, Zn, Ni, Hg,
  • Organic Pollutants and Pesticides, Conventional   pollutants, e.g., oil and grease, BOD and  suspended solids, and
  • Nutrients - N, P
  • Pathogens
  • Sediment from runoff
  • Wastewater discharge volume

Mass or Concentration of Regulated Pollutants  Discharged

Pounds/year, mg/L or % reduction

Solid Waste

Wastes (liquid or solid) other than RCRA hazardous wastes.

Solid (Non-Hazardous) Waste Generated

Gallons or pounds/year, % reduction, % recycled

Downstream/Product Measures

Product Impacts

Expected lifetime energy and water use
Wastes (to air, water, & land) from product use and disposal or recovery


Energy - BTU, kWh, mWh
Water use–gallons
Wastes–pounds, tons

Other Measures

Money Saved

Money saved in the reduction of materials or other changes in processes

Dollars saved

Dollars saved

Qualitative Measures

Other environmental improvements that cannot be directly or accurately quantified.  For example: implementing an EMS


Savings and environmental benefits from leaning out of permits/Design for Environment/ Clean Production/ EMS implementation/ Extended Product Responsibility

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