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Recycling Checklist

Procuring products? Think about minimizing waste before you buy.

At Purchase

Reduce Packaging

  • Buy in bulk
  • Prioritize products with minimal packaging

Reduce Disposal Waste

  • Prioritize reusable items over single-use
  • Consider ease of maintenance and repair

Increase Recyclability

  • Look for items that can be easily disassembled into component materials

Ensure Local Recycling


Additional Resources

Related Topics

Durable Goods

Durable goods have a long useful life (typically two years or more), are replaced infrequently, and typically have a high cost per unit. This is in contrast to ongoing consumables which have a relative low-cost per unit and are replaced frequently. Examples of durable goods include furniture, printers, computers, refrigerators and televisions. Greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by properly disposing of durable goods at the end of their useful life through re-use programs or recycling. Donate used furniture or electronics to a local program or charity, or find a certified vendor who will responsibly recycle the materials.

Whole Building Design Guide | Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA)non government site opens in new window

Whole Building Design Guide | Evaluating and Selecting Green Productsnon government site opens in new window

EPA | Reduce, Reuse, Recycleopens in new window


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 and compost 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.

EPA | Recycling Basicsopens in new window

Sustainable Practices in Leased Facilities

For tenants in leased facilities, it is important to understand their role in advancing sustainable practices, as well as the role of the landlord and facility manager. The management of energy and water consumption, solid waste, custodial services, and product and material acquisition requires communication and ongoing coordination between the landlord, who is typically responsible for utilities and service contracts, and the tenant, whose occupancy and behavior impacts facility operations. Tenants whose utilities are included in their lease agreement should coordinate with the landlord and facility manager to monitor and report performance. Tenants should also coordinate with the landlord and facility manager to ensure occupants, contractors, and operations staff are educated about the sustainability objectives of both the landlord and tenant and how they can support these efforts.

WBDG - Whole Building Design Guide | Optimize Operational and Maintenance Practices

Share non government site opens in new window

Did You Know?

The U.S. generated approximately 251 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2012. Almost 87 million tons were recycled and composted, which represents a 34.5% recycling rate. Solid waste generated per capita is the lowest since the 1980s. This is a 3 percent increase in the tons recycled.

Source: US EPA, Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2012opens in new window.

Reduce facility waste with SFTool  

Case Study

Sense of Place

Skylight and Sculpture

What makes a workplace special? What fosters a sense of attachment, engagement and identity? These are the kinds of questions that underlie the sense of place. The workplace is increasingly seen as a “brand” that conveys not only a place, but also the mission and values of the organization. The GSA workplace program combines branding and sense of place with sustainable approaches to create special places imbued with meaning and purpose.

View Case Study