Best practice strategies to reduce the waste produced daily in buildings include:

Planning for waste as a material flow:

If the building is not planned so that it is easy for the staff to manage materials, waste will not stay separated until it is collected. Design considerations include:

  • Calculating the likely volume of all waste streams the facility will generate. This can be done through use of the waste calculator tool.
  • Designing adequate storage space for all waste streams, and considering shared storage space in multi-tenant buildings.
  • Consideration of staff procedures – routes taken and containers used.

Separating waste for diversion:

Making it easy and convenient to dispose of all daily waste streams helps occupants separate materials.Design considerations include:

  • Clear visual cues and signage, consistent throughout building.
  • Opportunities for feedback to encourage behavior change.

Reducing material usage:

Could design measures allow reduction of material usage? Design considerations include:

  • Shared services or libraries so occupants can borrow items rather than own them. 
  • Providing dishwashers in dining spaces to allow the use of reusable dishware.
  • Reducing food waste generation through design of food service spaces
  • Incorporating financial incentives to reduce waste.

Reducing the volume of waste set out for collection:

Large volumes of waste are difficult to handle and impact public space. Food waste is 90% water, and its volume can be reduced greatly by pretreatment, which also reduces odors. Design considerations include:

  • Providing balers and compactors to reduce the volume of cardboard and other materials.
  • Organic waste pretreatment equipment.

See the Zero Waste Design Guidelines Best Practice Strategies for Building Design for more details