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Design Guidance

Overall Strategies

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials (that would otherwise be thrown away as trash) and remanufacturing them into new products. Recycling support stations and the education of occupants and janitorial staff are the backbone of a successful waste diversion plan. Start by confirming with the recycling hauler what materials are acceptable and the proper collection method. Separate, color-coded, well-labeled and strategically placed recycling containers make sorting and collection convenient and support ease of occupant participation.

See the SFTool Recycling Checklist for more tips.

Electronic Waste (e-waste)

Office electronics including computers, tablets, printers, flash drives, CD/DVD drives, small IT equipment, and mobile phones, may contain hazardous, as well as valuable and recoverable materials. When electronics have reached the end of their useful life, or a user is ready to discard them, they become electronic waste. To protect human health and the environment, some states have enacted legislation establishing statewide electronic waste, or e-waste, recycling programs. Batteries may also be included in e-waste recycling programs. Lighting, electronics and toner/ink cartridge manufacturers may take back or buy back used products. Federally owned electronics must go through a proper review before disposal. Depending upon age and condition, first look for options to reuse or refurbish unwanted electronics (see Library and Office Materials). Alternatively, seek certified electronic recyclers to manage electronics at the end of their life. For e-waste disposal regulations and certified recyclers, contact GSA’s Personal Property Management Officesopens in new window (www.gsa.gov/property), state and local environmental authorities, and R2non government site opens in new window- or e-Stewardsnon government site opens in new window-certified recyclers.

Best Practices

  • Ensure recycling containers are labeled consistently, with pictures, to help occupants sort materials in the appropriate containers. Coordinate with the recycling hauler to develop the appropriate signage (tenants in leased facilities should coordinate with the landlord or facility manager).
  • Provide ongoing education and training to occupants and janitorial staff about the recycling hauler’s requirements, what items are acceptable and unacceptable for recycling, proper disposal methods, and the importance of eliminating contamination.
  • Target paper and cardboard which typically make up the greatest percentage (by weight) of the total solid waste stream.
  • Work with the recycling hauler and green team to ensure compliance with requirements and to develop strategies for improving performance.
  • Designate, and educate occupants about, collection areas for bulky packaging, flattened cardboard, and other recyclable or reusable materials.
  • Eliminate the choice of multiple receptacles in Support Areas by placing only recycling containers.
  • Educate occupants about federal government personal property disposal rules and the protocols and responsibilities for collecting e-waste.
  • Ensure the security of e-waste collection and storage.
  • Choose refilled or remanufactured ink and toner cartridges.
  • Require a certificate of recycling for e-waste from the certified electronic recycler documenting the amount and types of materials recycled and the date of processing.

Compare Recycling Options

EB = Existing BuildingsNC = New Construction and Major Renovation

Federal Requirements

Guiding Principles

  • Solid Waste Management ( <span>Guiding Principles criteria 5.6</span>)
    Section: <span>Guiding Principle 5:&nbsp; Reduce the Environmental Impact of Materials</span>

    “Reduce waste disposed of in landfills and incineration facilities by recovering, reusing, and recycling materials. Provide in building design, construction, renovation, and operation for the collection and storage of recyclable materials, including, as appropriate, compostable materials. Maintain a waste reduction and recycling program, and maximize waste diversion to the extent practicable. Pursue cost-effective waste minimization during the construction and renovation phase of the building, and maximize reuse or recycling of building materials, products, and supplies.”

    EPA | Waste Management Hierarchy.opens in new window
    Whole Building Design Guide | Construction Waste Managementnon government site opens in new window
    2018 IgCC Section 901non government site opens in new window