CM: SMMP Credit – Source Reduction Policy

The Big Picture

SMMP CreditSource Reduction Policy

(4 Points, Non-Reciprocal)

 

Credit Summary

The goal of this credit is to reduce waste generation and minimize the amount of waste that enters the landfill. Local governments and industries are expected to develop and adopt policies and/or programs to promote product and material waste prevention and reuse. 

 

Impact Summary

Source reduction can improve sustainability, public perception, and the financial bottom line for local governments and industries. Source reduction policy also decreases energy uses and greenhouse gas emissions through analysis of and adjustments to an organization’s waste stream handling.

 

Submittal Summary

In order to meet the requirements of the standard, applicants must develop and adopt policies and programs that promote product and material reuse. Programs can be in-house, such as composting and recycling bins in offices, or they can be external, such as partnerships with reuse organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

In order to receive certification, applicants should be prepared to upload a description and copy of their Source Reduction Policy. This policy should allow them to facilitate most or all of the programs included in the How to Meet the Requirements section.

The HPD and EPD standards are helpful resources in determining which products to purchase to meet credit requirements.

 

Case Studies and Benefits

There is precedent for the benefits of waste source reduction. Cities and industries across the country have paved the way for waste reduction. Construction and demolition recycling ordinances in Austin, Texas have been successful in reducing project waste while minimizing cost increases. Composting programs and resource exchanges engage individuals in reducing waste generation.

Additional resources, such as referenced standards and relevant definitions are available. 

 

Intent and Requirements

Intent

To reduce waste generation and disposal through programs that encourage waste prevention and reuse.

Local Government Requirements

Develop and adopt a policy to promote product and material waste prevention and reuse. The policy should allow or facilitate most of the following or equivalent programs:

  • Partnerships with Food Rescue Groups
  • Partnerships with local reuse organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and Goodwill.
  • Purchase products that have either a Healthy Product Declaration (HPD), or an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).
  • Adopt a C&D recycling ordinance that includes and incentivizes deconstruction.
  • Support for and development of material exchanges
  • Promote backyard composting with subsidized bins, education, training and other support.
  • Partnership with companies that handle hard-to-recycle items
  • Programs to eliminate or reduce usage of products, e.g.
    • Bans on the use of single-use plastic bags and other single-use plastics
    • Filtered water bottle refilling stations in public places
    • Procurement programs that emphasize and reward source reduction
      • Strengthen extended producer responsibility
      • Replace throw-away system with alternative delivery systems including reusable/refillable
  • Promote citizen or industry repair programs and infrastructure through “tool libraries,” “repair cafes,” corporate events (e.g. Patagonia repair bus), etc.
    • Funding for source reduction programs
    • Promote the use of reusable containers and selling in bulk
      • Examples:
      • Distribute reusable plastic bags
      • Provide incentives for companies to use reusable containers
    • Training and education programs about source reduction
    • Support for and development of material exchanges
      • Including neighborhood reuse and repair centers
    • Developing “On demand” programs for consumer items in service establishments, such as straws in restaurants
    • Offer and promote no-cost regular business waste assessment/audit with recommendations for “right-sizing”.

Industry Requirements

Develop, adopt and document company programs to promote product and material reuse. The programs should allow or facilitate most of the following or equivalent approaches:

  • Partnerships with Food Rescue Groups
  • Partnerships with local reuse organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and Goodwill.
  • Purchase products that have either a Healthy Product Declaration (HPD), or an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).
  • Promote citizen or industry repair programs and infrastructure through “tool libraries,” “repair cafes,” corporate events (e.g. Patagonia repair bus), etc.
  • Adopt a C&D recycling ordinance that includes and incentivizes deconstruction.
  • Support for and development of material exchanges
  • Promote backyard composting with subsidized bins, education, training and other support.
  • Partnership with companies that handle hard-to-recycle items.
  • Programs to eliminate or reduce usage of products, e.g.
    • Bans on the use of single-use plastic bags and other single-use plastics
    • Filtered water bottle refilling stations in public places
    • Procurement programs that emphasize and reward source reduction
      • Strengthen extended producer responsibility
      • Replace throw-away system with alternative delivery systems including reusable/refillable
    • Funding for source reduction programs
    • Promote the use of reusable containers and selling in bulk
      • Examples:
        • Distribute reusable plastic bags
        • Provide incentives for companies to use reusable containers
    • Training and education programs about source reduction.
    • Support for and development of material exchanges.
      • Including neighborhood reuse and repair centers
    • Developing “On demand” programs for consumer items in service establishments, such as straws in restaurants.
    • Offer and promote no-cost regular business waste assessment/audit with recommendations for “right-sizing”.

Potential Strategies

  • Develop a comprehensive consumer outreach program to notify residents about

the source reduction programs being supported and promoted by the Local

Government.

  • Include deconstruction requirements as part of the permitting and final approval process to add teeth to the policies. 

Why We Care

Waste reduction can be accomplished at both the government and industry levels. While previous models saw waste as a necessary cost of operation, new models focused on waste prevention and reuse. Source reduction has numerous benefits. It saves money by decreasing disposal costs and offsetting costs for new inputs. It enhances sustainability by improving waste, water, and energy efficiency, conserving resources, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable practices can also improve public perception of a local government or industry. 

The process of source reduction requires analysis of an organization’s waste stream. The resulting knowledge gives waste producers a better understanding of the amount and types of waste they produce. This creates opportunities to reduce hauling costs and renegotiate waste and recycling service contracts to better meet the individual organizations needs. By tracking waste generation and, later, source reduction, organizations are also better able to quantify and standardize data on their waste generation. This data can then be reported and used to participate in programs such as SWEEP.EPA

 

How to Meet the Requirements

This table represents a brief overview of strategies for meeting this credit and their applicability to industries and/or local governments. For more detailed information on each strategy, see below the table.

Strategy Local Government Industry
Partner with Food Rescue Groups.
Partner with local reuse organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and Goodwill.
Purchase products that have either a Healthy Product Declaration (HPD), or an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).
Adopt a C&D recycling ordinance that includes and incentivizes deconstruction.
Support and develop materials exchanges.
Promote backyard composting with subsidized bins, education, training and other support.
Partner with companies that handle hard-to-recycle items.
Implement programs to eliminate or reduce usage of products, e.g.
Promote citizen or industry repair programs and infrastructure through “tool libraries,” “repair cafes,” corporate events (e.g. Patagonia repair bus), etc.

 

Case Studies & In-Depth Information

Local Government

Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance: Austin, TX

In working toward its zero waste goal, the city of Austin enforces a Construction and Demolition Recycling Ordinance which “requires construction and demolition projects to divert construction waste from the landfill.” The ordinance applies to all building permits for more than 5,000 square feet of new, added, or remodeled floor area, and requires that at least 50 percent of construction project debris be diverted from the landfill or that no more than 2.5 pounds of material per square foot of floor area be disposed of in the landfill. Contractors show compliance with the ordinance by submitting a construction recycling report upon building inspection.

Construction and demolition are responsible for nearly 20 percent of landfill-bound materials in the Austin area. This ordinance will not impact the price of affordable housing projects, which already have to meet these recycling standards. Other projects are expected to see a total cost increase of 0.1 to 0.2 percent.

Compost Bins: Los Angeles, CA

The city of Los Angeles offers online intro to composting webinars to all residents who wish to learn about the benefits and process of composting. These webinars are part of the Clean LA initiative and are meant to improve the quality of environment and access to food for LA residents. After completion of the webinar, participants are given the opportunity to pay a small fee for a government subsidized compost bin for their own home. 

In 2019, composting workshops reached over 2000 participants and over 600 compost bins and 500 worm compost bins were distributed. 

 

Industry

Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation

ResourceXchange, operated by the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation is a free, online materials listing service designed to link businesses with surplus waste materials to other businesses that have use for these materials. The listings are based on a geographic area and there are no fees for participation in the service.

 

Referenced Standards

Healthy Product Declaration: https://www.hpd-collaborative.org/

“The HPD Open Standard is a standard specification – composed of a format and instructions – for the accurate, reliable and consistent reporting of product contents and associated health information, for products used in the built environment.”

Environmental Product Declaration: https://www.environdec.com/

“Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) present transparent, verified and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. The International EPD® System is a global programme for environmental declarations based on ISO 14025 and EN 15804.”

 

Definitions

C&D Recycling Ordinance 

McLanahan Definition: C&D recycling is the practice of salvaging, recycling and reusing materials and debris generated during construction, renovation and demolition of roads, bridges and buildings. 

Deconstruction 

Discard Studies Definition: Building deconstruction refers to the careful taking apart of a building to salvage its reusable materials and components. These are either stored on site for short-term integration in a new design, or removed to a salvage yard for use at a later date. 

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) 

EPD Definition: an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. As a voluntary declaration of the life-cycle environmental impact, having an EPD for a product does not imply that the declared product is environmentally superior to alternatives. 

Extended Producer Responsibility 

OECD Definition: a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. Assigning such responsibility could in principle provide incentives to prevent wastes at the source, promote product design for the environment and support the achievement of public recycling and materials management goals

Hard-to-Recycle Items 

PRC Definition: Hard to Recycle is any item that you cannot easily recycle in your curbside collection program, such as tires, Freon-containing appliances, fluorescent tubes, etc.  These items, in some cases, cannot be placed in landfills, as they can leach harmful chemicals when not recycled properly. While these materials may not be acceptable in your curbside recycling collection, there are options available for collection at many special collection events and drop off locations.

Healthy Product Declaration (HPD) 

Ice Stone Definition: a reporting tool that standardizes the disclosures of all ingredients associated with making a product. This allows specifiers to make informed decisions on product purchasing, as it pertains to sustainability. 

Source Reduction 

MDE Definition: the elimination of waste before it is created. It involves the design, manufacture, purchase or use of materials and products to reduce the amo​unt or toxicity of what is thrown away. 

 

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