Recent advances in life cycle analysis and modeling tools (including several provided by EPA) offer States new ways to evaluate and communicate the environmental impacts of waste reduction programs.
Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality has applied life cycle analysis to several projects, often with thought-provoking and surprising results. The findings illustrate the importance of focusing "upstream" on production-related environmental impacts and of waste prevention. This new look at solid waste issues has generated significant interest among DEQ's stakeholders as well as the media and general public. This presentation will highlight three of DEQ's projects: an evaluation of the energy benefits of recycling, an evaluation of the greenhouse gas impacts of materials and waste, and a life cycle inventory analysis of packaging options.