The EPA has several tools available for use by students and communities involved in EPIC Partnerships. Below are links to some of them. 

Project Title

Detailed Description

EPA Tool Weblink & Description (For questions, please contact Karen Irwin.)

Help a Community Assess Solid Waste Strategies for Potential Adoption

Using EPA’s Managing and Transforming Waste Streams tool, identify innovative policy and program strategies for waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and/or composting that the municipality is not currently implementing or has only partially implemented.  Review model city/county ordinances and best practices highlighted in the tool.  Confer with the municipality’s solid waste/recycling coordinator on priorities as well as constraints for implementing waste management policies and programs.  Collaborate with the municipality to select up to 10 strategies from the EPA tool that are of top interest for potential implementation within a 2 to 5 year timeframe.  

Refine and scope out the selected strategies (the tool provides weblinks to informational resources).  Identify important considerations, common obstacles, and solutions other communities have employed.  Evaluate what resources and partnerships with local entities may be needed to effectively pursue the strategies locally.  Develop a set of strategy recommendations, e.g., that can be included in the municipality’s next solid waste plan update, along with next steps.

Managing and Transforming Waste Streams – A Tool for Communities

Contains 100 policy & program strategies communities can explore when updating their solid waste plans or adopting a zero waste planMunicipalities can generate a list of strategies to include in a planning document tailored to their community's needs and materials management prioritiesFeaturing over 250 implementation examples, the tool equips users with a compendium of best practices and models, including links to actual ordinance, contract, or franchise agreement language adopted by cities and counties as well as links to website resources.

Quantify for a Community the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Reduction Potential of Expanding its Policies/Programs for Solid Waste Recovery

This project involves running implementation scenarios using EPA’s Policy and Program Impact Estimator:  A Materials Recovery Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Calculator for CommunitiesConfer with the municipality’s solid waste/recycling coordinator on available local solid waste data to populate the calculator.  (The calculator provides some defaults to address gaps in local data.)  Ask which policy and program implementation scenarios are of interest to the municipality, e.g., that affect single-family home recycling or composting, multi-family home recycling, commercial recycling or composting, and/or reuse/recycling of construction and demolition debris.  


Enter data into the calculator, run and save multiple implementation scenarios.  Print and/or copy and paste the results into a report or presentation for the municipality.  


Prepare a summary of the results that compares and contrasts which local policies and programs may have the most potential to reduce tons of waste disposed and life cycle GHGs, consistent with user-entered assumptions for policy/program effectiveness.


Policy and Program Impact Estimator

This Excel spreadsheet calculator is designed to help municipalities, counties, and tribes estimate lifecycle greenhouse gas reductions from implementing new or expanded solid waste policies and programs.  The calculator enables local governments to enter solid waste data for a baseline year and generate customized quantifiable projections for an implementation scenario. Using EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM) version 14 emissions factors, the calculator generates results for annual and accumulative new tons diverted and metric CO2e emissions saved over a 10-year planning timeframe.  It can be used to compare the life cycle GHG reduction potential of different policy and program alternatives, consistent with the user's assumptions for policy/program effectiveness.

Serve as Lead Coordinator of a Residential Food Waste Prevention Program for a Community

Work with a municipality, key stakeholders, and EPA to implement a food waste prevention program within the community utilizing the Food Too Good To Waste toolkit.  The Food Too Good To Waste toolkit and implementation guide aims to reduce wasteful household food management practices.


Depending on the interests of the student group and partnering municipality, the focus of the food waste prevention project and deliverables will vary.  The project may include implementation of a Food Too Good To Waste campaign and/or challenge.  The student group could coordinate and work with a community to roll out a Food Too Good To Waste campaign within a neighborhood or a few multifamily buildings.  EPA can help advise the group on how it may want to structure its efforts to be able to track and quantify the impact of the campaign.

Food Too Good To Waste

The toolkit can be customized and used by any interested local government or community group to reduce wasted food from households.  The kit includes an Implementation Guide (e.g., a challenge to measure household food waste, food storage guide, and shopping template), a Research Report on food loss research, and an Evaluation Report with in-depth analysis of 17 Food: Too Good to Waste campaigns conducted in 10 states between 2012 and 2014.

Help a Municipality Incorporate Pollinator-Friendly Plants & Practices into its Landscaping

Engage the appropriate departments of a municipality to evaluate ways to incorporate pollinator-friendly plants and practices into the landscapes of publicly-owned parks, municipal buildings, road medians, sidewalk planters, and other rights-of-way.  Utilize the Pollinator-Friendly Best Management Practices for Federal Lands, May 15, 2015 draft, as a guide that can be applied by non-federal entities.  Identify native wildflowers suitable for California that attract pollinators (  


Compile a list of best practices that the municipality could employ.  Set up interviews with department employees to solicit feedback on perceived barriers related to use of pollinator-friendly practices; research potential solutions, if warranted.  Provide or facilitate departmental training on the need and opportunities for pollinator-friendly practices.  Propose a cross-departmental process for sharing information and reporting progress on implementing pollinator-friendly BMPs in public landscapes.

Pollinator-Friendly Best Management Practices for Federal Lands, USDA and DOI

A guidance document supporting a Federal strategy to promote the health of pollinators.  Describes a range of Best Management Practices (BMPs).  The BMPs are organized under three subject areas: (1) BMPs to improve pollinator habitat, (2) BMPs to protect pollinators when taking management actions, and (3) BMPs to protect and sustain specific pollinator species.

Assess the Feasibility of Implementing Solar PV on Potentially Contaminated or Underutilized Land in a Community

Work with a municipality to identify and screen potentially contaminated or underutilized sites for suitability to host solar PV arrays using RE-Powering’s Electronic Decision Tree.  Targeted site types include landfills, brownfields (e.g., former industrial sites or abandoned parcels), Superfund sites, RCRA hazardous waste permitted sites, RCRA corrective action sites, water or wastewater utilities, and underutilized paved areas or large rooftops.  A three-phased approach is suggested:


Step 1.  Identify sites for screening.  Sites can be targeted in any number of ways, such as by developing an inventory of sites in a particular zip code or geographic region, by site type (e.g., landfills), by owner (public vs. private), and/or by creating a list of sites of interest to the municipality partner.  EPA’s RE-Powering Mapper and/or Screening Dataset may be used to identify site locations and access information on solar potential.  (Tip:  develop a list of several sites to consider, e.g., more than 10.)


Step 2.  Conduct a first-line feasibility assessment of select sites using RE-Powering’s Electronic Decision Tree.  (Tip:  start with 3-5 sites of top interest for screening; confirm site owner interest.)  Address the questions in the Decision Tree and generate a screening report annotated with comments about the sites.  (Note:  answering some of the questions may require researching online databases, contacting public agencies for information, and engaging the site owner or operator and/or remedial project manager.)


Step 3.  Provide the screening reports to the site owners and municipal partner.  Evaluate what site characteristics may offer the most promise for actualization of solar PV projects, considering state and local policies affecting renewable energy.  Prepare a report or presentation for the municipality summarizing the project and findings.

RE-Powering’s Electronic Decision Tree

A downloadable computer application that walks users through a series of key questions and screening criteria to gauge a site’s suitability for a solar PV or wind energy project.  Targeted sites include current or formerly contaminated sites, landfills, and underutilized parcels or rooftops.  The Decision Tree addresses site characteristics, redevelopment considerations, contamination and landfill issues, and energy load and financial considerations.  It can be used to identify if there are potential obstacles to pursuing a near-term solar PV project at a site.  Reports showing the screening results can be readily generated.