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Feb 14 -- Comment period extended until March 15, 2024. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-02974

Dec 26 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the Waste Reduction Model (WARM) version 16 and its supporting documentation, along with the WARM v16 methodology external peer review report and the WARM v16 data quality assessment report. WARM is a tool that estimates the potential greenhouse gas emissions, energy savings and economic impacts of baseline and alternative waste management practices of materials. This Notice is inviting public comment on WARM v16 and its supporting documentation from a broad range of individuals and organizations. The EPA will consider the public comments received to inform future improvements to WARM. Comments must be submitted on or before February 9, 2024.

The Environmental Protection Agency launched the Waste Reduction Model (WARM) in 1998. WARM has been updated and expanded fifteen times since its launch in 1998. In 2022 and 2023, WARM underwent an external peer review and a data quality assessment as part of the EPA's on-going efforts to ensure WARM's scientific integrity.

The EPA created WARM to provide high-level comparisons of potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, energy savings, and economic impacts (labor hours, wages and taxes when considering different materials management practices. Materials management practices include—source reduction, recycling, anaerobic digestion, combustion, composting and landfilling.

WARM models 61 materials commonly found in municipal solid waste (MSW) and construction and demolition debris (C&D), including aluminum cans, glass, paper, plastics, organics (including food waste) and building materials.

WARM is a comparative tool rather than a comprehensive measurement tool. WARM was not developed for and, as such, should not be used for final site-specific materials management decisions, when other human health and environmental impacts of the different management methods may need to be considered (such as air pollution, water pollution, noise, etc.). It also should not be used for developing GhG inventories, which need to establish a baseline and measure reductions over time on an annual basis for an entity.

The Environmental Protection Agency requests public comment on WARM v16 and its supporting documentation from a broad range of individuals and organizations with an understanding of and interest in tools and models related to life cycle materials management, such as: federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local governments; industry; researchers; academia; non-profit organizations; community groups; individuals and international organizations. EPA is interested in receiving input on the following:

-- How can the scientific rigor and adherence to modeling best practices and assumptions in WARM regarding biogenic carbon emissions, carbon storage in forests, soils, and landfills, and utility offsets from combustion be improved?
-- How can WARM better align with best practices in climate change modeling and assumptions?
-- How can the alignment of data, assumptions, and model components in WARM with real market practices be improved?
-- In assessing WARM, how well do the modeled management practices represent the diversity of practices typically used in the United States?
-- When evaluating WARM, how accurately does it depict the common secondary use of recycled materials in the United States?
-- What recommendations can be made for enhancing the clarity, transparency, relevance, and usability of WARM and its accompanying documentation?
-- Are there any studies or data sources that are relevant to WARM but are currently not integrated, and how could their inclusion be beneficial for future development?
-- What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of conducting future WARM model development in a more publicly accessible development environment, such as GitHub, to encourage increased transparency and public involvement?
-- What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of the EPA considering the use of readily available data from public sources (such as the Federal LCA Commons) in WARM, especially the use of non-waste management data, to enhance data consistency, accessibility and reliability across federal government life cycle work?

The Environmental Protection Agency will use feedback and information received through this public comment, the external peer review and the data quality assessment to inform future improvements to WARM.

Waste Reduction Model (WARM): https://www.epa.gov/warm
WARM 16 docket [not posted as of Dec 24]: https://www.regulations.gov/search?filter=EPA%E2%80%93HQ%E2%80%93OLEM%E2%80%932023%E2%80%930451
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-28342

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