NERC's Environmental Benefits Calculator

Most of us know that recycling, reuse and source reduction decrease our reliance on landfills, incinerators and waste-to-energy facilities. We also know that recycling, reuse and source reduction have other environmental benefits, such as avoided greenhouse gas emissions and resource savings. What we may not know, however, is how to calculate those benefits.

The NERC Environmental Benefits Calculator is an easy to use tool that generates estimates of environmental benefits of a study area (such as a town or business) based on the tons of materials source reduced, reused, recycled, composted, sent to a landfill or incinerated (including WTE). It incorporates EPA’s WARM Calculator, in addition to information from the U.S. Department of Energy, Steel Recycling Institute, Glass Packaging Institute, U.S. Climate Technology Cooperation Gateway and other sources.

Tables and charts generated by the calculator include:
-Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of recycling.
-Greenhouse gas savings comparisons.
-Energy savings as a result of recycling.
-Energy savings comparisons.
-Selected natural resource savings.

The Calculator is free on the NERC Web site, and can be applied to any U.S. state, region, county, town, institution, school, college or business. It is a powerful and easy-to-use tool that can assist state and municipal employees and others in understanding the climate change impacts of source reduction, reuse and recycling programs, support market development efforts and planning for program expansions. And, the output tables are useful in outreach materials, press releases, presentation slides, educational curricula, reports and articles.

For more information on the Environmental Benefits Calculator contact Athena Lee Bradley, (athena@nerc.org) NERC Projects Manager.

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