The Third Leg of the Sustainable Real Estate Strategy Stool – Reducing Waste and Increasing Diversion

Traditionally, real estate professionals pick the low hanging fruit of energy efficiency and the growing challenges of water conservation. But, more recently, corporate/commercial real estate executives who want to develop and execute a comprehensive sustainability strategy address the third leg of the sustainability stool – waste reduction.

Progressive professionals are asking:

What are the practical ways to reduce waste hauling, disposal and necessary onsite equipment?

How can my organization maximize available recycling rebates?

What are the benefits and challenges of single stream recycling?

The Sustainability Roundtable, Inc. (SR Inc.) has researched answers to these and many of the aspects of this important issue in its recently released a briefing entitled, “Reducing Waste and Increasing Diversion.”

SR Inc.’s briefing provides an overview of waste reduction and recycling strategies, and highlights best practices that reduce the volume of waste entering the waste stream, improve diversion rates, increase operational efficiency, engage employees, lower operating costs, and enhance brand and reputation.

Leading companies implement comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programs across their portfolios of leased and owned facilities to:

  • Reduce the cost of transportation and disposal, fees and fines.
  • Reduced waste sent to landfills reduces GHG emissions.
  • Accrue points toward LEED and BREEAM certification.
  • Stimulate building occupant interest in recycling that drive behavior toward greater sustainability.
  • Galvanize occupants into entrepreneurial roles that improve operations and distinguish leaders.
  • Drive value-adding sustainability initiatives such as composting and sustainable materials purchasing programs.
  • Elevate “green” status and enhance enterprise brand/reputation.

SR Inc.’s briefing features case studies from clients EMC, IBM, NetApp, as well as British Land, PepsiCo, Walmart, Intel, Accor, Triple Five Group, and Lend Lease.

The key strategic recommendations in the briefing encourage leaders to:

  • Institute purchasing programs that prioritize vendors who minimize the material that enter the company’s waste stream and buy only items that can be reused, recycled, or composted.
  • Engage engineers, “Green Teams”, EH&S personnel, consultants and vendors to explore ways to reduce waste.
  • Educate stakeholders and seek employee input to design and evaluate recycling programs that will increase employee compliance.
  • Implement a portfolio-wide recycling and reuse plan for paper, cardboard, plastics, wood, and metals – tailor the program to accommodate the unique waste, if any, of the business.
  • Avoid commingled plastics or contaminated paper products that are not easily recyclable.
  • Sell waste in bulk to generate revenue repurpose waste within company operations.
  • Avoid incineration except for waste-to-energy.
  • Publicize program successes to maximize the value of the initiative.
  • Reintegrate savings into programs and amenities for building occupants, who appreciate seeing their recycling efforts pay off.

To receive a copy SR Inc.’s “Reducing Waste and Increasing Diversion” or to learn more about how SR Inc. can help you and your organization develop and execute a comprehensive sustainability strategy, contact SR Inc.’s Larry Simpson, Executive Vice President of Advisory Services, at larrysimpson@sustainround.com.

(The author is Larry Simpson, Executive Vice President, Advisory Services, Sustainability Roundtable, Inc. Additional posts can be found in SR Inc.’s Forum found at http://www.sustainround.com/aboutst/blog/)

 

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