Waste/Recycling/CompostReturn to Laboratory
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 and composting service what materials are acceptable and the proper collection method. Separate, color-coded, well-labeled and strategically placed recycling containers and waste receptacles make sorting and collection convenient and support occupant participation.
See the SFTool Recycling Checklist for more tips.
Compost (Food Waste)
- Consider equipment that pulps and dehydrates organic waste onsite into a compostable material, which can save space, reduce the frequency of trash pickup (as few as once every 2-3 weeks), and save money.
- Consider white boards or tack surfaces in lieu of printing signs that change regularly. When printed materials must be used, consider materials that are reusable or recyclable.
- Contract with vendors who accept returned containers and packaging materials for reuse and specify their collection in procurement contracts. If vendors do not accept returns, specify packaging that must be recyclable.
- Provide adequate collection for waste streams that are common in labs, such as broken glass, sharps, and other recyclable items.
- Send unwanted lab equipment and furniture to a central surplus department – or create an equipment exchange – where it can be redistributed, donated, or recycled. Use the exchange before purchasing new equipment.
- Centralize storage and/or tracking system for chemicals and materials and check inventories before ordering new supplies.
- Adopt and train lab users in Green Chemistry principles, such as reducing the creation of waste during laboratory operations and substituting nonhazardous or less hazardous chemicals in chemical procedures.
- Order supplies that come with the least amount of packaging. Specify reduced packaging when placing orders.
- Use a standardized labeling system for chemicals and hazardous materials, including expiration dates.
- Use reusable laboratory supplies, such as glass pipettes, instead of plastic disposable items whenever possible. Even when disposal items are used, take advantage of hand washing, solvent rinsing, or autoclaving to clean and reuse.
- Review EPA guidance and checklist for evaluating the regulatory status of materials that would, under usual circumstances, be commercial chemical products (CCPs).
- Include, at minimum, mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, plastics, glass, and metals in the recycling program.
- Include also: food and organic waste (compost), batteries, toner/ink cartridges, mercury-containing lamps, and electronic waste (e-waste).
- Ensure recycling, compost and waste receptacles are labeled consistently, with pictures, to help occupants sort materials in the appropriate containers. Coordinate with the recycling hauler and composting service 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 and composting service’s requirements, what items are acceptable and unacceptable for recycling and composting, 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, followed by food and organic waste.
- Label waste receptacles as ‘landfill waste’.
- Work with the recycling hauler, composting service 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.
- If the composting service accepts compostable paper and fiber-based products, consider purchasing compliant foodservice items to reduce the amount and cost of waste disposed in the landfill.
- Ensure routine collection from compost containers, which should be air-tight (some have carbon filter lids) to prevent unwanted odors and pests.
- Ensure containers for paper, cardboard and compost are provided in food preparation areas.
Compare Waste/Recycling/Compost Options
Solid Waste Management ( <span>Guiding Principles criteria 5.6</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.
Whole Building Design Guide | Construction Waste Management
2018 IgCC Section 901