Measuring Pollution Prevention
Our Pollution Prevention grant program reduces millions of pounds of pollution, a million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents and nearly a billion gallons of water use every year.
We measure P2 outcomes for a number of purposes:
- The Pollution Prevention Act tells the Agency to "establish appropriate means for measuring the effectiveness of the State grants".
- EPA's Environmental Results Policy Order, 5700.7A1 requires that grant applicants plan for tracking and measuring their progress towards achieving the expected outcomes and output.
- Grantees must relate their work to Goal 4: Ensuring the Safety of Chemicals and Preventing Pollution in the FY 2014-2018 EPA Strategic Plan. The objective under this goal is to: "conserve and protect natural resources by promoting pollution prevention and the adoption of other sustainability practices by companies, communities, governmental organizations and individuals."
Measuring results is one way to determine the success of a technical assistance or training effort. Different types of activities will lead to different outcomes or results.
- Outcomes may be knowledge-based, behavioral, health-related, or environmental.
- Short-term P2 outcomes reflect changes in knowledge, attitude or skills, including: increased awareness of P2 practices or increased knowledge of how to implement P2 options.
- Intermediate outcomes include adoption of P2 practices or developing a P2 plan.
- Long-term outcomes resulting from short term and intermediate outcomes include: conservation of natural resources, decreased exposure to toxics, decreased release of toxics to the environment and cost savings.
EPA's FY 2014-2018 Strategic Plan lists these four P2 program outcomes, achieved across all media (air, water, land) which P2 grantees must report. (Refer to pp. 35-36 and p.72 of EPA’s Strategic Plan for information related to P2.)
- Reductions in hazardous releases and hazardous inputs (pounds)
- Reductions in greenhouse gas releases (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent: MTCO2e)
- Reduced water consumption (gallons)
- Cost savings associated with reducing hazardous pounds, MTCO2e, and water consumption
How are P2 results calculated?
The Agency has developed P2 Calculator spread sheets designed to help measure the environmental and economic performance results of P2 activities. These calculators can demonstrate the unique multi-media perspective that P2 brings to reduce GHG reductions and cost savings.
Office of Inspector General Review of P2 Results
In September 2015, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a review of the results reported under P2 grants and found that inconsistent and arbitrary application of measurement guidance hampers the agency’s ability to accurately report reliable grant program results.
In January 2009, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a review of P2 program results: Measuring and Reporting Performance Results for the Pollution Prevention Program Need Improvement Report No. 09-P-008. Later that year, our office responded to the OIG recommendations in this memorandum: April 22, 2009.
Who reports P2 results?
Each year grantees report the results of their work. In 2006, the Pollution Prevention Program began publicly reporting the environmental results of P2 grants, individually, regionally and nationally.
State and local P2 programs
State and local P2 programs measure P2 to show that their programs are delivering value for their clients, the public and taxpayers. This helps state and local policy makers understand the impact of P2 efforts and set priorities.