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.

Waste Diversion & Reduction Resources

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

Get Involved

Join the diverse group of organizations that are already working with DOE to set, track, and meet a waste reduction goal. Email us to learn more about how to get involved. 

Market Solutions Research

The resources on this page are part of Better Buildings' Market Solutions efforts, through which DOE coordinates with industry leaders to overcome non-technical barriers to energy efficiency. To explore other Market Solutions resources, click the link below.

Featured Solutions

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

Fact Sheets

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.

Webinars

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