State Measurement Efforts
- What is the state measurement template?
- Background on state measurement template
- Outcomes for Nationally Consistent Measurement
- EPA Program Contacts
State Measurement Efforts
The state measurement template is a new on-line reporting and measurement tool that allows states to share Sustainable Materials Management related information with each other. This template (consisting of fifteen questions) allows States to share a wide range of information including annual tonnage data (waste, recycling and composting, etc.), descriptions of the types of waste and recycling programs in the State, and financial summaries of how the programs are staffed and funded. After the data has been entered, State governments (and the EPA) can generate a series of analytical reports that summarize, aggregate, and present the data on a State, regional, and national level.
The state measurement template provides a measurement and tracking methodology that has been tested across the eight EPA Region 4 States over the past three years. Based on the success of this pilot, the program is now being implemented nationally. The measurement system leverages a web-based commercial service called Re-TRAC Connect™ that has been developed by Emerge Knowledge Design Inc. All states are encouraged to participate in the further refinement of the state measurement template which is updated annually.
EPA is facilitating a more effective and comprehensive state measurement system nationally. The current Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Characterization Report uses a top-down material flow methodology that relies heavily on estimated (mass balance) data. While it has been an effective tool for evaluating national trends, it does not scale down to States/Regions; does not provide actual, empirical data; and does not provide real-time data, but only an annual "national snapshot." EPA has worked over the past several years assessing the original recycling measurement effort done in the late 1990's, improving the MSW Characterization report and overall data collection and measurement.
The ideal measurement system would provide consistent data, a cost effective way for local governments to participate, the capability to "look across state lines," and the ability to compare program successes. Led by the state of Tennessee, the eight states in EPA Region 4 started a collaboration pilot to share recycling and solid waste data and state program information back in 2008. By 2012, the web based measurement template was operational and all eight states were inputing their 2011 data and program information. This regional pilot is now being implemented nationwide through a three-year phased in process starting in the fall of 2013. Funded by EPA, this database system, called ReTRAC Connect by Emerge Technologies, is already used by the various states, communities, NGO's, the private sector along with EPA's WasteWise and SMM Challenges. It provides real-time data, reduces administrative time associated with paper-based reporting, increases the accuracy of reporting, assists States responding to legislative requests, and saves valuable time and money.
Accelerates managing materials and products on a life-cycle basis
Drives market signals and economic interventions to improve materials management
Improves data, tools, research, and internal/external processes
Expands the public dialogue on how materials management impacts the environment
Engages the business community to think across the life cycle and the value chain
Promotes the replication of successful recycling, reuse and source reduction ideas and programs
While participation in the State Measurement Program is voluntary for State governments, there are several important benefits available to States that participate:
- Accessible to policy makers at the local, state, regional, and federal level
- Cost effective by providing free options to state & local governments
- Creates a national data clearinghouse that provides significant efficiencies, reduces duplication of efforts, and allows resources to be spent on analysis instead of data collection
- Maintains integrity of each State's program
- Provides the ability to map sources/locations of materials
- Allows an "apples to apples" comparison across States and Regions
- Calculates the economic benefits of recycling ($ saved on landfill cost avoidance, recycling revenue, jobs estimation, etc.)
- Encourages Peer-to-Peer networking
- Provides benchmarking data that can be transformed into a series of best practice publications or workshops to help recycling officials improve their programs.
Contact Us: ORCRMeasurement@epa.gov