Ohio Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimization Planning Guidance Manual

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Chapter 17
Measure Progress: Program and Project Evaluation

"Pollution prevention performance must be measured if it is to be improved, and it must be improved if it is to be praised."

Joel Hirschhorn


Once a pollution prevention program is established it should be continuously evaluated and updated. This periodic review by the pollution prevention team should be conducted for all stages of the program, from management support and team selection to project implementation. Once the elements have been examined, the program can be modified and goals redefined to improve overall effectiveness.

Program Evaluation

The progress of the pollution prevention program can be determined by looking at the individual activities and projects. One way of measuring progress is quantitative. For example, look at actual waste reduction, both in terms of actual change in quantity and change in hazard level. The actual change in quantity is the difference between the waste per production unit reported in the current year and the waste per production unit reported in the previous year. The change in hazard level is based on toxicity, reactivity, ignitability, and corrosivity of the waste and industrial hygiene/employee exposure-type measurements. This comparison measurement is most useful when evaluating an alternative material substitution such as switching from an organic solvent to a water based solvent. These measures of waste reduction may not be appropriate for all facilities and wastes. Other quantitative measurements are adjusted quantity change and throughput ratio. Additional guidelines and detailed descriptions on measuring waste reduction can be found in Chapter 4 of U.S. EPA's Facility Pollution Prevention Guide.

Progress can also be measured qualitatively through employee involvement, attitude and number of ideas suggested. Some examples of qualitative evaluation criteria are presented in Table 8.

Table 8. Program Evaluation Criteria
Project Element Evaluation Criteria
Management support Statements of support
Approval of projects
Providing ideas/input
Praise and publicity of successes
Team aspects/program initiation Employee enthusiasm and participation
Using skills from training
Supporting projects
Providing ideas
Understanding process Processes characterized
Flow diagrams developed
All wastes and sources identified
Waste accounting system implemented
Project implementation Projects completed within budget
Projects completed on schedule
Waste reduction achieved
Cost savings attained
Raw material savings achieved
Product quality improved
Worker safety improved
Cost allocation system implemented
Continuing the program Follow-up and review procedures established
Employees kept informed and involved
Pollution prevention team composition rotated

(adapted from Pollution Prevention: A Guide to Program Implementation, Illinois Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center, 1993)

When evaluating the elements of the program, it is important to identify those strategies and techniques which have been very successful, marginally successful, or have failed. If possible, the reasons why these projects were or were not successful should be determined. This information will be beneficial for modifying the program and redefining goals.

Program Modification

To ensure continuing progress and success of the pollution prevention program, the individual components and the overall plan should be modified using the knowledge gained from experience. Successful strategies and techniques can be used again or adapted to other areas where progress has been slow or impeded. The initial pollution prevention goals should be redefined and/or expanded, reaching for the ultimate goal of zero waste generation.

This is also an appropriate time to check to see if results and a written summary of the implementation of each step of the program have been added to the pollution prevention plan. As discussed in Chapter 10, writing summaries and adding them to the pollutionprevention plan will provide a record of all pollution prevention activities in the program. The compilation of reports will be a good reference for anyone who is interested in reviewing your facility's pollution prevention program.


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