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Federal Green Challenge

Federal Green Challenge - Waste

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Federal Green Challenge Waste Goals

recycling bin
Relative to your baseline, achieve a 5% increase or reduction in the following activities:
  • Reduce the tons of waste generated;
  • Increase the tons of material recycled; and
  • Increase the tons of material composted.

EPA has tools available through WasteWise to help organizations achieve their waste reduction, reuse, and recycling goals. Federal Green Challenge participants report waste goals and results into the WasteWise measurement tool.

Reducing Your Waste Footprint


  • Print double-sided and/or multiple pages to one sheet of paper
  • Set printers to double-sided default
  • Create and distribute materials electronically
  • If you have a cafeteria, use reusable serviceware instead of disposable
  • Reduce packaging waste by purchasing products in bulk
  • Design new facilities for deconstruction to reduce construction and demolition debris in the future


  • Create a materials exchange in your building
  • Donate used electronics that are still functional through programs like Computers for Learning  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
  • Reuse packaging material


  • Start a composting and/or recycling program
  • Remove individual garbage cans and place them in a central location
  • Recycle electronics
  • Recycle construction and demolition materials
Fact: Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.

Buying Recycled/Recyclable

  • Purchase 100% postconsumer fiber paper products
  • Purchase office products with recycled content
  • Purchase products that are recyclable/compostable at your facility


Case Studies

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Station Great Lakes increased its amount of materials recycled by an astounding 114 percent by initiating a campaign to add a composting component, reuse construction and demolition debris, and increase the number of collection bins available throughout the installation. The composting project alone amounted to more than 300 tons of food scrap and landscape waste diverted from area landfills. Read more about New Composting Program Boosts Waste Diversion (PDF) (2 pp, 400K).

The Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Illinois, prevented 320 tons of lawn waste from going into a landfill through “cold composting.” This is the practice of mowing a lawn and leaving the grass clippings on the ground. The clippings then decompose and increase soil fertility instead of being collected and sent to landfills or a traditional composting facility. Read more about Waste Diversion through Cold Composting (PDF) (2 pp, 300K).

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Chicago Field Office diverted waste from landfills by revitalizing its recycling program. This work resulted in a recycling rate of 38 percent. ICE attributes its success to redesign of recycling bin placement, an education and outreach campaign, and the clean-out of a storage room full of equipment the agency no longer needed. Read more about Enhanced Recycling Increases Waste Diversion (PDF) (2 pp, 400K).

In 2008, the US Postal Service Western Areas conservation efforts saved the region $44 million. These savings were achieved by reusing and redistributing equipment and materials within the postal system, as well as diverting 35,000 tons of waste from the landfill.

The Federal Prison Camp (FPC) in Duluth, Minnesota used a three-tier recycling program to increase its recycling rate by 118% in just one year. The three tiers were:

  1. detailed institution trash recycling,
  2. vermiculture or worm farming, and
  3. food waste composting.

More case studies are available at the WasteWise website

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Executive Order 13514

  • Minimize the generation of waste and pollutants through source reduction;
  • Divert at least 50% of non-hazardous solid waste, excluding construction and demolition debris, by end of FY2015;
  • Divert at least 50% of construction and demolition materials and debris by end of FY 2015;
  • Reduce printing paper use and acquiring uncoated printing and writing paper containing at least 30% postconsumer fiber; and
  • Reduce and minimize the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials acquired, used, or disposed of.
  • Learn more about Executive Order 13514 Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Executive Order 13423

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