trol. This information may not indicate the final disposition of the waste, but for the purposes of this metric, that kind of detail is not necessary.

Particulate Waste

The majority of particulate waste will actually be measured in the other waste categories. Material that is collected from dry control systems, such as bag houses, will be either in the chemical-waste measurement if the material is hazardous or in the trash measurement if the material in nonhazardous. If a wet control system is used, the material will end up in the water-waste measurement. With this in mind, the actual particulate waste that is in an air stream is very small and, in most cases, can be ignored. In those few cases where it is relevant, an actual measurement system may be needed.

Water Waste

Because the objective is to obtain a measurement of the total waste, not of the individual components, the amount of waste in the water can be determined by a simple analysis of total dissolved solids. This also takes into consideration that any organics in the water have been previously accounted for in the organics categories.

Progress in Waste Reduction

The metric and measurement system was implemented throughout 3M in 1990. 3M management established a goal of reducing waste by 35 percent by 1995. The company's Challenge 95 asked each division to accomplish a 7 percent per year reduction in the rate of waste generation during each of the next 5 years.

By the end of 1995, 3M achieved 30 percent waste reduction compared with 1990 levels in the United States and a 32.5 percent reduction worldwide. The waste-ratio measurement system and the establishment of waste-reduction goals have clearly motivated 3M employees to reduce the generation of waste. The company's new goal is to reduce waste production to 50 percent of the 1990 level by 2000.


The metrics required by laws and regulations can be useful indicators of environmental performance, but they are not always suitable for internal corporate purposes. Using existing databases, 3M has developed a waste metric that conforms to a TQM structure, is simple yet accurate, is a good employee motivator, can be utilized to establish goals, and, after 5 years of experience, has proved effective in accomplishing waste reduction and pollution prevention.

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