CM: PCR Credit-Clean and Efficient Material Recovery and Organics Processing Facilities 

The Big Picture

PCR Credit: Clean and Efficient Material Recovery and Organics Processing Facilities 

(1-2 Points, Reciprocal)

Credit Summary

This credit aims to reduce the environmental footprint of material recovery facilities and organic processing operations. 

Impact Summary

The implementation of these changes will not only reduce the environmental footprint of the facilities but the cost of running them as well. 

Submittal Summary

To meet this requirement, Local Governments and Industry Leaders must provide documentation proving that the MRF and Organic Processing operations meet either tier 1 or tier 2 conditions.  

Case Study and Benefits

As seen below, the Journal of Cleaner Production clearly outlines the need for regulating PCR of material waste. Although many people believe that it will come along easily once the haulers are put into place, yet it takes much more work to ensure that we are still reaching the original goal we have set for ourselves. 

Intent and Requirements

Intent

To minimize the environmental footprint of material recovery and organics processing facilities.

Local Government and Industry Requirements

Tier 1: (1 point)

  • Meet the renewable energy or carbon offset requirements of WGP Credit 6: Sustainable Capital and Utility Procurement
  • Facility(ies) is/are Energy Star Certified or implement(s) energy conservation best practices that result in a 25 percent savings in energy consumption (over a LEED compliant baseline).
  • Facility(ies) address(es) ambient and indoor air quality through proper dust control practices.
  • Facility(ies) provide(s) employees with daylight/natural light and access to views/nature.
  • 40 percent of at least one facility (by value, excluding equipment) is constructed from recycled or repurposed materials. This excludes processing equipment.
  • Facility(ies) minimize(s) water use and/or utilize(s) reclaimed water

Tier 2: (+1 point)

Facility(ies) is/are certified under a recognized standard such as LEED, Envision Infrastructure Rating System, etc.

Potential Strategies:

  • Utilize solar energy.
  • The facility uses electric, natural gas or alternative fueled vehicles.
  • The facility implements energy-reduction processes (motion-activated lighting, efficient equipment, etc.) and practices.
  • Utilize LEED compliant baseline and energy saving calculation procedure in the SWEEP + Certification Manual.

Why We Care

According to data from the U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, as of 2019, the broader waste industry was responsible for 110.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. The waste sector ranks as one of the highest reporting contributors of GHGs. And although Municipal landfills comprised roughly 82.5% of reported waste sector emissions, material recovery facilities (MRFs) and organic processing facilities are still significant contributors of GHGs that make up the emissions from the entire waste management sector. 

Emissions associated with the operations of MRFs and organic processing facilities can and should be reduced wherever possible. One of the major GHG contributing factors within MRF operations is transportation of materials to and from the facilities, which is why this credit emphasizes and rewards the procurement of energy efficient or alternative fueled mobile equipment and collection vehicles. Energy efficient and alternative fuel used for mobile equipment and collection vehicles include electric battery power and compressed natural gas. This credit also rewards policies that reduce idle time of collection vehicles at the facility to reduce emissions. 

Source: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.0c00364

How to Meet the Requirements

To meet this requirement, Local Governments and Industry leaders must provide documentation indicating which tier they fall under regarding their carbon footprint when dealing with material recovery and organics processing facilities.  

Required Documentation

Case Studies & In-Depth Information

In a study done by Journal of Cleaner Production, it was found that although waste reduction is a great way to mitigate climate change, it can come with a price that is actually counterproductive to the original goal. This study focused on the transportation of waste within the Gulf of Bothnia. It proves that although waste reduction is a great way to combat climate change, it still has the ability to actually increase the emissions of GHGs due to the transportation of this waste as well as the actual recovery portion of this process. Many pieces of heavy machinery are used to break down these materials. This is why regulating the transportation and post collection recovery aspect of this process is essential in reaching our goals. 

Referenced Standards

Definitions

Energy Star Certification

Energy Star Definition: ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. 

Wikipedia Definition: Energy Star (trademarked ENERGY STAR) is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy efficiency. The program provides information on the energy consumption of products and devices using different standardized methods.

Envision Infrastructure Rating System

ASCE Definition: The Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system is a comprehensive framework of 60 criteria that encompass the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts that should be assessed to determine how a project has incorporated sustainability.

LEED 

EPA Definition: A series of rating systems aimed at increasing the environmental and health performance of buildings, sites and structures and of neighborhoods. LEED® covers the design, construction, and operation of all types of buildings.

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