An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

WasteWise

EPA’s WasteWise encourages organizations and businesses to achieve sustainability in their practices and reduce waste. WasteWise is part of EPA’s sustainable materials management efforts, which promote the use and reuse of materials more productively over their entire life cycles.

On this page:


What Is WasteWise?

All U.S. businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations can join WasteWise as a partner, endorser or both. Current participants range from small local governments and nonprofit organizations to large multinational corporations.

Partners demonstrate how they reduce waste, practice environmental stewardship and incorporate sustainable materials management into their waste-handling processes. Endorsers promote enrollment in WasteWise as part of a comprehensive approach to help their stakeholders realize the economic benefits to reducing waste.

Logo that says EPA WasteWise with a photo of the globeIn 2019, WasteWise celebrated its 25th anniversary by announcing a revamped logo to mark both the program's success to date and to support its participant outreach in the future.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary, EPA has also compiled a booklet to highlight some of the accomplishments from the last 25 years of WasteWise.

 

Benefits of joining WasteWise include:

  • Opportunities to receive WasteWise Awards for outstanding achievements.
  • Public recognition in WasteWise publications, case studies, meetings and on EPA’s website.
  • Reduced purchasing and waste disposal costs.
  • Outreach and educational materials and free one-on-one technical assistance via the WasteWise Helpline.

Join WasteWise

Join WasteWise as a partner if your organization generates wastes and has a means to measure recycling and waste reduction efforts. Endorsers help their stakeholders realize that reducing solid waste makes good business sense.

Levels of WasteWise Participation

There are three main levels of participation for both partners and endorsers within WasteWise. The guide below outlines the various levels and associated commitments for each status level. Some of the levels have a time limit; however, most do not. The levels of participation include the following:

Registrant

  • Registrants joined WasteWise within the last 90 days, but have not yet submitted their initial baseline or established goals.
  • Members become registrants automatically when they sign up via the SMM Database Exit and hold this status until they submit baseline data.
  • Participants with this status will have their name appear on EPA's WasteWise website.

New Participant

  • New participants submitted their baseline data and established annual commitments/goals, but have not yet submitted their first annual report.
  • The Helpline updates the member’s status after they submit the baseline data.
  • Participants with this status will have their name appear on EPA's WasteWise website.

Active Participant

  • Active participants submitted their baseline, annual commitments/goals and most recent set of annual data. A participant does not have to achieve its annual commitments/goals to be considered "active."
  • Participants with this status will have their name appear on EPA's WasteWise website.

Top of Page

Plan Your WasteWise Participation

  1. Form a waste reduction team to maintain your waste reduction participation—planning, designing and implementing activities. By forming a team, employees throughout your organization can share in your efforts. The team may be responsible for:
    • Working with your organization's management to set short- and long-term waste reduction goals.
    • Gathering and analyzing information related to the design and implementation of your planned activities.
    • Promoting the program to other employees and educating them on ways to participate.
    • Monitoring progress.
    • Reporting the status of planned activities to management.
    • Reporting the organization's waste reduction efforts annually to WasteWise.
  2. Conduct a waste assessment. A Waste Assessment Approach or “waste audit” is a systematic review of your facility and its operations to quantify waste generation and identify management practices. Waste assessment data will give your team a much better understanding of the types and amounts of waste your organization generates.
  3. Define the scope of your participation. Focus your waste reduction activities and resources on certain areas of your organization. To determine the scope, examine your facilities or key operations for waste reduction opportunities, and then choose waste reduction areas on which to focus.
  4. Evaluate your options. Use your waste assessment results to choose waste reduction activities. Consider holding a brainstorming session to identify potential activities. List your most promising options and evaluate them in terms of economic and operational feasibility. When analyzing and selecting your options:
    • Focus first on waste prevention, which will help eliminate waste at the source, saving natural resources and energy and cutting costs.
    • Next, evaluate recycling options to manage waste that cannot be prevented. Before collecting recyclables, identify markets for them.
    • Finally, examine opportunities to buy or manufacture recycled content products.
  5. Set goals that can be tracked and measured. Use the results of your waste assessment to identify activities to help you prevent waste, expand recycling, and increase the purchasing/manufacturing of recycled-content products.
  6. Implement your planned activities. Many successful activities begin with an organization-wide kickoff event that offers your organization’s leaders an opportunity to encourage participation and explain your goals.
  7. Work with WasteWise. The information specialists at the WasteWise Helpline offer free technical assistance to help you identify goals, share insights and success stories from other partners/endorsers, answer program questions and provide information and resources.

Top of Page

Announce Your Achievements

Announce your waste reduction successes to your employees and community to maintain momentum, increase awareness and sustain management support. Sharing your success with the community will demonstrate your organization’s environmental stewardship.

  • Use the WasteWise logo- Partners/Endorsers that have registered and submitted their WasteWise baseline data are eligible to use the WasteWise logo to promote their waste reduction efforts internally and externally.
  • Give presentations- Explain how WasteWise activities can help organizations reduce their environmental impacts.
  • Publicize your achievements in articles- Use articles to inform your employees about how they can get involved and to share your environmental goals with your stakeholders.

Top of Page


WasteWise Requirements and Reporting

WasteWise has specific requirements for its various partners and endorsers, which determine each organization's reporting guidelines and goals.

Requirements for New Partners

As a new partner, you must first complete the following steps:

  • Join WasteWise by completing a registration form Exit.
  • Once your organization has been approved in the new system, you will gain access to your Participation Agreement. You should login Exit and complete this form within seven days of being approved.
  • Submit baseline data in the SMM Data Management System within 90 days of registration.
  • Within the first 90 days of registering, establish an annual quantitative goal of at least a five percent increase in waste diversion (i.e. a combination of waste prevention and recycling) from the previous year.
  • After year one, establish self-directed quantitative annual goals in waste diversion, showing continuous improvement.
  • Submit annual data in the SMM Data Management System Exitby March 31 of each year.

By March 31 of the next calendar year, you should complete a Partner Annual Data form Exit with data from the calendar year you joined to see whether you achieved your baseline goal. You should also complete a Partner Annual Goal form Exit, setting a goal for your first full year of participation that’s at least a five percent increase over the year you joined. By March 31 of every following year, you should report annual totals from the previous year and set a self-directed quantitative goal for the upcoming year.

Top of Page

Requirements for Existing Partners

To remain an active participant in WasteWise, partners must complete the following steps by March 31 of each year in the SMM Data Management System Exit:

  • Submit annual data for the previous year.
  • Establish an annual goal for a self-directed quantitative increase in waste diverted (a combination of waste prevention, recycling and composting tonnage) as compared to the previous year. The goal can be for an increase in a single activity or across all activities.

Requirements for Endorsers

All existing endorsers will complete a Endorser Annual Data form Exit via the SMM Data Management System quantifying their endorser activities and establish annual goals for the upcoming year. New endorsers will set their Endorser First Year goals, report activities following their first full year of participation and then set new goals for the next year.

Top of Page


Awards and Award Winners

Recognition is a key element of the Sustainable Materials Management Program and WasteWise. EPA is pleased to recognize the following organizations for their outstanding leadership in waste prevention and diversion.

2019 WasteWise National Award Winners

  • Very Large Business, Partner of the Year: CenturyLink Field
  • Very Large Business, Honorable Mention: L Brands, Inc.
  • Large Business, Partner of the Year: Rooms To Go
  • Large Business, Honorable Mention: Peace Dining Corporation
  • Small Business, Partner of the Year: Ravitz Family Markets, Price Rite Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Small Business, Honorable Mention: Home Market Foods
  • Local Government, Partner of the Year: City of Chesapeake Garage
  • Local Government, Honorable Mention: Sand Creek Station Golf Course
  • Tribal Government, Partner of the Year: Chumash Casino Resort
  • College/University, Partner of the Year: Central Michigan University
  • Non-profit Organization, Partner of the Year: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

2019 WasteWise Regional Award Winners

Region 2

  • Cummins, Inc.'s Jamestown Engine Plant
  • DC Safety Sales Company
  • Evelyn Hill, Inc.
  • Just Salad LLC
  • Laddey Clark & Ryan, LLP
  • Mayo Performing Arts Center
  • Raritan Valley Community College
  • Ravitz Family Markets, ShopRite: Cherry Hill Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Ravitz Family Markets, Shoprite: Evesham Rd., Cherry Hill Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Ravitz Family Markets, ShopRite: Marlton Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Ravitz Family Markets, ShopRite: Mount Laurel Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Ravitz Family Markets, Shoprite: Union Mill Rd., Mount Laurel Supermarkets, Inc.,
  • University of Albany, State University of New York

EPA Region 5

  • Kohl's Department Stores

EPA Region 6

  • Owens, PLLC

EPA Region 9

  • Caesars Entertainment
  • Earth Friendly Products

Top of Page


ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager - Track More Than Waste

EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an online tool used to measure and track energy and water consumption as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is used to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings in a secure environment. EPA has added a waste tracking feature to this tool  that makes it easy for building managers to track waste and materials in addition to conventional utilities associated with building operations.   

Portfolio Manager can help building owners and managers across the commercial market more effectively manage their waste by allowing them to track, by building, the type and amount of material they send for donation, reuse, recycling, composting, and disposal. The waste tracking feature is an additional opportunity for building managers to engage with the Portfolio Manager tool, and for EPA to encourage building management practices that reduce waste and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The addition of waste tracking will bring greater visibility to waste management and the opportunities to reduce costs and environmental impacts.

For more information on ENERGY STAR’S Portfolio Manager: 

Top of Page