EPA's Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP)
The Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP), developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Trash Free Waters program, is a quantitative survey tool which provides a standard method for collecting and assessing litter data. The protocol is designed to be applied to a broad range of site types— e.g., parks, streets, parking lots, etc. — and environmental conditions — e.g., various hydrological and climatic regimes. This highly adaptable method for trash monitoring will provide practitioners and citizen scientists with a comprehensive and rigorous method for quantifying trash loadings. The tool can also be used to assess item age and level of fouling and analyze and compare across specific material types and categories of trash collected. This information can eventually be used to guide upstream source reduction decisions.
Download The Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol Reference Manual (pdf) for background information about the problem of aquatic trash and to learn how the ETAP tool can be used to address a wide range of management questions. The Reference Manual includes a step-by-step guide of how to use the protocol as well as an appendix of several supplementary materials.
The Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP) Excel Spreadsheet Tool (xlsx) is a data entry tool which can be used in company with the ETAP Reference Manual to record, manage, and analyze data collected in the field using the ETAP methodology.