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Waste Reduction Network

forklift lifting waste to put on a pile of trash

Annually, the U.S. generates 2.7 billion tons of industrial solid waste and more than 290 million tons of municipal solid waste. Organizations across all sectors are implementing innovative solutions and best practices to realize their ambitious waste reduction goals. More efficient use of materials and increased reuse can reduce the energy required for waste transport and treatment, leading to savings on operating costs, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions, including those associated with waste stream transportation and disposal. To support waste reduction efforts, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings, Better Plants Waste Reduction Network brings industry-leading organizations together to demonstrate successful waste management solutions. This network complements the strides already made by Better Buildings and Better Plants partners, who have established waste reduction goals and diverted more than 1.8 million tons of waste from landfills.

Explore takeaways from the Waste Reduction Pilot

Explore Market Solutions Resources

2023 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, 900+ Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have saved more than 3.1 quadrillion Btu, saving more than $18.5 billion and 189 million metric tons of CO2.

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.

Other Resources

Calculator

Waste Stream Energy Content Calculator 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 Sheet

Taxonomy of Waste Fact Sheet

This resource shows the various ways to categorize waste, including solid (hazardous and non-hazardous) and non-solid waste types. 

Waste Reduction Outreach & Engagement Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

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.

Key Takeaways from the Waste Reduction Pilot Fact Sheet

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.

Waste Reduction Network Waste Glossary Fact Sheet

This document contains relevant industry definitions to support partners in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Waste Reduction Network.

Webinar

Early Best Practices from the Waste Reduction Pilot Webinar

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.

Better Buildings, Better Plants - Waste Reduction Pilot – 2020 Third Quarterly Call Webinar Webinar

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.

Better Buildings, Better Plants - Waste Reduction Pilot – 2020 Second Quarterly Call Webinar Webinar

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.

Better Buildings, Better Plants - Waste Reduction Pilot – 2020 First Quarterly Call Webinar Webinar

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.

Better Buildings, Better Plants - Waste Reduction Pilot – 2020 Fourth Quarterly Call Webinar Webinar

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.

Waste Reduction Pilot – 2021 First Quarterly Call Webinar Webinar

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.

Waste Reduction: Lessons Learned and What Comes Next Webinar

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.

Greatest Hits from the DOE Waste Reduction Pilot Webinar

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.

Get a Handle on your Waste Data before it gets a Handle on You! Webinar

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.

Coming Full Circle: An Introduction to Circular Economy Principles Webinar

The Waste Reduction Network’s quarterly webinar, “Coming Full Circle: An Introduction to Circular Economy Principles," teaches attendees about circularity and the challenges and approaches to implementing circularity principles in buildings or plants

Waste Reduction Network Quarterly Webinar Webinar

Watch this Waste Reduction Network's Quarterly Webinar where outcomes and success stories were discussed from the completed Manufacturing Waste Reduction Virtual In-Plant (VINPLT) Training.

Remanufacturing and Beneficial Reuse in Industry for Circular Economy Webinar

This webinar reviews these two key strategies and their adoption in different industrial sectors along with highlighting the key barriers faced by manufacturers in implementing these methodologies and possible solutions to them.

  • 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.

    Waste Reduction Network's Tip of the Month: The Waste Reduction Network publishes a tip of the month on a bi-monthly basis that highlights best practices in the industry, and the latest innovations and emerging trends to facilitate successful approaches to waste reduction. View past tips below. To sign up for the Waste Reduction Network's emails, click here.

    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.