Waste Diversion Goals and Strategies
In This Section
EPA has already exceeded the federal requirements to divert waste. To continue to exceed its federal waste diversion requirements, EPA has set the following goals:
- Emphasize source reducation—eliminating waste before it is generated through reuse, donation, and other strategies—as the first priority in Agency waste diversion efforts.
- Exceed Executive Order (EO) 13514’s goal of diverting 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste by FY 2015 by diverting 55 percent by fiscal year (FY) 2015.
- Strive to achieve 75 percent diversion of construction and demolition (C&D) materials and debris, exceeding EO 13514’s goal of diverting at least 50 percent by FY 2015.
- Continue to reduce printing paper use through duplex printing requirements, and continue to exceed the requirement to purchase printing and writing paper with 30 percent postconsumer content.
- Divert an increasing percentage of the compostable and organic materials from EPA's waste stream.
EPA employs a range of strategies to meet these goals. Beginning in 2002, EPA made an effort to expand, standardize, and reinvigorate the recycling program in its Headquarters (HQ) facilities to make it easy for all employees to know how and what to recycle. (Learn more about EPA HQ's ongoing waste reduction activities.) Following on this initiative, EPA expanded its recycling program to its regions and laboratories withthe following strategies:
- Conduct waste reduction and pollution prevention assessments
Starting in 2003, EPA has conducted waste reduction and pollution prevention assessments at all of its major offices and laboratories. These assessments identify short- and long- term areas for improvement and provide an opportunity to share waste diversion best practices at laboratories and regional offices across the Agency.
- Incorporate waste diversion requirements into lease and contract language
EPA's Best Practice (Environmental) Lease Provisions contain template language for use in developing Agency leases that address construction waste management and ongoing recycling of paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics, metals, batteries, mercury-containing lamps, and organic waste. EPA's Architecture and Engineering (A/E) Guidelines, used to guide major construction projects, require construction and renovation projects to develop a construction waste management plan that addresses proper handling of construction and demolition wastes and to allocate proper space in the facility for collection of recyclables.
- Issue challenge programs and provide technical assistance
On an ongoing basis, EPA challenges its facilities to explore new opportunities to reduce waste through competitions and technical assistance. In FY 2009, EPA launched the Strive for 45 campaign in an effort to meet the Agency's 45 percent waste diversion goal set under EO 13423. Under the campaign, EPA developed an Intranet site for facility waste reduction coordinators with tools for measuring and expanding waste reduction, as well as outreach materials to reinvigorate recycling practices. Under Strive for 45, EPA also conducted a 6-month inter-facility waste reduction competition. in FY 2010, EPA launched a new campaign, Think Beyond the Bin, an Agencywide effort to exceed the 50 percent waste diversion rate required under EO 13514 by expanding waste diversion efforts beyond traditional recycling practices.
EPA continues to support its facilities in improving waste reduction practices through the Intranet site, webinars highlighting best practices, and the work of individual facility EMS and “green teams.”