Waste Reduction Network

Waste Reduction Network

Annually, the U.S. generates 2.7 billion tons of industrial solid waste and more than 290 million tons of municipal solid waste. By reducing waste, organizations may also save energy. Manufacturers, companies, schools, and governments across the country can strengthen their competitiveness and sustainability by setting and realizing robust waste reduction goals. In 2019, DOE announced the Better Buildings, Better Plants Waste Reduction Pilot. Over a 2-year period, DOE worked with organizations to determine the appropriate metrics, goals, and opportunities to reduce waste in different sectors. The program has transitioned permanently to the Waste Reduction Network.

Explore takeaways from the Waste Reduction Pilot: Takeaways from the Pilot
Explore Market Solutions Resources: Break Energy Efficiency Barriers
Waste Reduction Network Fact Sheet

To facilitate waste reduction the Better Buildings, Better Plants Waste Reduction Network brings industry-leading organizations together to demonstrate successful approaches to waste management.

Waste Diversion & Reduction Resources

This page offers waste diversion and reduction resources organized by key topics. Click below to explore.

2022 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, the 900+ Better Buildings partners have saved more than 2.5 quadrillion Btus, saving more than $15 billion and 155 million tons of CO2.

Featured Solutions

JBG SMITH set a goal to hit a waste diversion rate of 60% by 2030. Recognizing that the weight of organic material is a significant portion of the landfill waste stream, the sustainability team started a composting pilot program to divert organic waste from landfills at their North End Retail property in Washington, D.C.
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC developed a "Zero Waste to Landfill" Certification Process for its manufacturing facilities, promoting zero waste to landfill across all plants in 2021. 
The Better Plants partner formed a design-thinking workshop called “Hack the Pack," bringing together a cross-functional team to find ways to change, or “hack,” product packaging to benefit dealers, Steelcase, and the environment.
Montefiore developed a comprehensive recycling program using waste audits and source generation methods to reduce and divert waste in operating rooms and throughout their medical campuses.
The City of Beaverton, OR utilized a user testing process to develop waste signage that was effective and easy to understand.
Sprint's systematic approach to waste management has resulted in the company steadily increasing its waste diversion rate each year since 2008.
Shorenstein utilized three main components, policy, training and outreach, and auditing, to see success in their waste diversion program.
In an effort to reduce process waste and improve efficiency, staff at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) leveraged the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Principles of Green Chemistry to enhance their sustainability efforts.

Other Resources

Calculator

The Waste Stream Energy Content Calculator is intended to quickly estimate the energy recovery potential of waste streams based on the values of waste generated annually. The calculator only considers two main pathways for energy recovery, direct combustion and anaerobic digestion. Based on provided input from Waste Reduction Network partners, the calculator also evaluates onsite GHG impact resulting from energy recovery from waste considering offset energy stream.

Fact Sheets

This document contains relevant industry definitions to support partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Waste Reduction Network.
This resource shows the various ways to categorize waste, including solid (hazardous and non-hazardous) and non-solid waste types. 
Through the Better Buildings Waste Reduction Pilot, Commercial partners participated in an outreach and engagement working group to share challenges and discuss solutions; this fact sheet summarizes some of the key best practices.
The Waste Reduction Pilot, which ran 2019 - 2021, engaged partners with published content, webinars, peer exchange and working group opportunities, and access to proven solutions and national lab experts.

Webinars

This webinar features experts from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the EPA, who live demoed DOE’s Waste Stream Energy Content Calculator and various EPA tools to provide actionable insights for tracking waste data and finding opportunities for improvement.
Watch this webinar for resources and lessons learned from DOE's 2-year Waste Reduction Pilot, which involved over 40 Better Buildings and Better Plants partners.
Watch this 2021 Summit session for a look at the highlights from the first year of DOE's Waste Reduction Pilot, including new solutions and a panel discussion covering waste reduction and diversion topics such as data and measurement, engagement and outreach, and external support and frameworks.
At this 2020 Summit session, Better Buildings, Better Plants waste pilot participants shared best practices for waste management, early results from the pilot, and relevant resources from DOE and beyond. There was also a moderated discussion with commercial and industrial partners to explore the waste and energy nexus and waste management lessons learned.
This webinar for Waste Reduction Pilot partners included presentations from the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Plastics Innovation Challenge and covered the pilot’s waste data reporting form.
This food waste-focused webinar for Waste Reduction Pilot partners included presentations from Samantha Kenny, Program Officer on the Food Waste Team at World Wildlife Fund US, and Lori Driver, Corporate Sustainability Manager at Flowers Foods.
The webinar included a quick pilot update and focused on plastics recycling, featuring presentations from Amy Costello, P.E., Sustainability Manager at pilot partner Armstrong Flooring, and Jack DeBell, Recycling Program Development Director at University of Colorado Boulder.
The webinar included a quick pilot update and focused on electronics waste recycling, featuring presentations from Jim Henry, Global Compliance Manager at Iron Mountain, and Ed Daniels, Project Engineer at the REMADE Institute.
The webinar included a quick pilot update and focused on the business case for waste reduction, featuring presentations from Brie Fulton, Sustainability Program Manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Heidi Frasure, Sustainability Team Leader at Steelcase.

Additional Information

Waste Management Hierarchy: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a hierarchy of 4 key waste management approaches: source reduction and reuse; recycling and composting; energy recovery; and treatment and disposal.

FEATURED ON THE BEAT BLOG:

Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Partners Combine Forces to Tackle Shared Waste Challenges
In a recent peer exchange, Better Buildings partners in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors discussed challenges and solutions related to waste reduction and diversion in the medical field. 

An Efficiency Case in Point: Sprint Improves Waste Diversion
This blog highlights Sprint's waste diversion efforts as well as the company's implementation model on its systematic approach to waste reduction.

Sector Priorities