Top 5 things you should know about waste at USGBC

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19 May 15 | Author Leighann Morris | Intelligent Building Today talks LEED Dynamic plaques.

The USGBC want you to know that they care about being responsible with their waste. So much so, that Ana Leilani Ka’ahanui has published five things you should know about. Know about regarding waste at the organisation.

We compost. Recycling is the law in DC. However we like to push ourselves by going above and beyond. Our food waste, as well as the paper towels in the restrooms. All collected twice a week by our vendor, Compost Cab. Our janitorial crew gathers the compostable materials throughout the day. Then transfers them to two 64-gallon wheeled containers at the loading dock.

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Here’s a tip: don’t forget to scrape the food off your dishes into compost. This will not only save water from less rinsing. For it will also prevent the dishwashers from getting clogged up and put out of service.

Waste diversion directly affects our LEED Dynamic Plaque score. The LEED Dynamic Plaque measures up to date building performance. Waste is one group that scores our space based on waste generated and waste diverted. Our current waste score is high, and this helps us keep up our LEED Platinum certification. When our team walks by the plaque in the lobby, it’s a friendly reminder that we can help improve the score by composting that paper towel or taking a minute to scrape that plate from lunch.

Quarterly waste audits provide valuable metrics. Daily waste tracking performed by our janitorial team provides valuable metrics and may be cross-referenced with data provided in our quarterly audits. The waste audit contractor sorts through the materials in all the collected bags of landfill trash, compost, paper and recycled glass/metal/plastic.

The audits give us valuable data on our waste diversion and find key areas that we may need to work on.

Tracking these metrics helps us manage and keep up the high sustainability standards we set for ourselves. Our most recent reported diversion rate was 74%.

There is always room for improvement. Even with a 74% diversion rate, we know we can do better. Here are a few areas we focused on improving:

Encouraging visitors to divert properly with new bins and updated labeling in our meeting rooms

Reminding staff to compost and dispose of coffee cups appropriately
Improving diversity paper board/cardboard, plastic containers and compost

Know the rules where you are. Policies may be different where you live vs. where you work. However, how we dispose of our because daily waste matters to compost!

At USGBC we encourage staff to study the signs in the kitchen that explain what should tossed where. For example, a neighborhood may not recycle plastic clamshells, but at USGBC we do, along with all rinsed plastics marked 1-7. It also important for us to help make guests aware of our protocol by directing them to the proper receptacles.

This just in: on May 1 the office waste rules changed for bottle caps. We’ve just been informed by our waste hauler that we can now recycle both plastic and metal bottle caps if they are still on the bottle. No need to remove them!

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