This prerequisite is very easy to meet. You only need to provide one space to store recycling. You are not even required to have a specific square footage, although the LEED Reference Guide does provide recommended square footage based on building size (see table below). To size this space properly, also consider the building’s needs and recommendations from your recycling hauler.
Providing recycling bins for occupants in places like offices and kitchens is a good idea, but is not required for this credit. Nor do you have to actually implement a recycling plan. You simply have to provide the area for centralized recycling collection.
When documenting this credit on LEED Online, you’ll simply write a narrative that details the size and accessibility of the recycling storage area, the expected volume of recycling and the frequency of pick-ups. Demonstrate that the area is located and sized properly.
You’ll also need to check a few boxes confirming that you’ve provided recycling space for corrugated cardboard, metal, plastic, glass and paper, and upload a plan showing the location of the recycling storage area.
In LEED v2, LEED for Schools projects were required to include a space for landscape debris in addition to recycling storage. This requirement has been dropped for the current version, LEED 2009.
Yes. The final collection point for the recycling can be outside your project boundary. With your documentation, show the location of the collection point, describe the process of how the recycling gets to that point including how access is provided for the required parties, and how you determined that it is large enough. You would still need receptacles inside the building at places like workstations and kitchen areas.
If the collection point serves multiple buildings, then LEEDuser recommends discussing in your narrative how you have determined that the space is sufficient to serve all the buildings.
Yes. As reinforced by LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #1803 made on 07/02/2007, "space must be provided in the building in anticipation of recycling resources becoming available in the future."
No. It's a good idea to do so, but it is not one of the required waste types.
Yes. The recommended figures are just that—recommendations. However, you should plan on being able to explain how the space is sufficient. The most common way to do this through a short narrative detailing the volume of recycling and trash per cycle based on how often it will be picked up or moved to a central storage location, such as larger dumpsters.
No, you don't need to. With an adequate description and reference to the municipal policy, the project should not need additional space dedicated because the collection system is adequate and suited to the project needs.
LEEDuser recommends providing a brief narrative that demonstrates you have estimated the volume following something like a Solid Waste Assessment. Resources such as those found at the California Integrated Waste Management Board can be useful. See case studies and approaches in the Establishing A Waste Reduction Program at Work participant's manual and in the waste disposal rates for Public Admin.
Plan to include an area for recycling storage. The architect needs to allocate this space and include it on project drawings. (See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample floorplan.)
You don’t have to devote a specific square footage to recycling, but the LEED Reference Guide provides the following recommended areas based on building size. (See table.) However, you will have to provide a narrative describing how the area's dimensions were determined, and following the LEED recommendations provides a good basis for this.
The most common obstacle with this prerequisite is finding space to allocate for recycling storage. A basement, parking garage, or loading dock is ideal.
Collection should be offered in areas that are convenient for occupants throughout the building, but this is not required for prerequisite compliance.
Many large scale and multi-building projects design a centralized collection area near a loading dock or in a common basement or parking garage.
This prerequisite usually is low- or no-added cost and is often standard practice.
Actually implementing a recycling program is not required, but if you don’t have one, you’re not realizing the environmental benefits of this prerequisite. (See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample recycling plan.)
Identify local hauling services and determine which is best for the building and occupants, and what types of materials the hauler will handle.
Single-stream (or commingled) recycling is usually easiest from the occupants' perspective, but it is not available everywhere.
Determine the required square footage of the storage space based on the LEED Reference Guide recommendations (see above), and estimated volume of waste generation and frequency of hauler pick-ups.
Generally, single-stream recycling will require less space for the storage of recycling because you will only need to provide one bin as opposed to five bins for sorted recycling. Also, if pickups are more frequent, you’ll need less space. Check with your hauler for recommendations.
If recycling haulers in your area don’t recycle all of the required materials, design a collection area that can accommodate all items. You’ll meet the prerequisite this way, and be prepared for more comprehensive recycling if and when the service becomes locally available.
Although recycling is required by law in some cities, this does not exempt your project from providing the appropriate documentation for LEED.
Avoid problems by early planning to allow sufficient space for recycling storage areas.
It’s ideal to specify the inclusion of small recycling bins at every trash receptacle location, and larger bins to collect and store building-wide recycling. However, this prerequisite only calls for the centralized collection area. Small recycling bins scattered throughout the building are not strictly necessary for compliance.
Locate the recycling storage facility in an area that is easily accessed by building occupants, maintenance personnel, and recycling haulers. Many projects choose to include a collection area on each floor of the building, and have the maintenance staff bring all recycling to a main storage area.
Locate multiple, small collection areas throughout the building. For example, locate a paper recycling bin near fax and copy machines or by workstations, and glass, plastic, and paper recycling bins in kitchen areas.
You can choose to locate the recycling storage area away from the building or outside the LEED site boundary. You will need to provide a detailed narrative describing how recyclables from the building will be taken to this main storage area.
Consider including cardboard balers and other waste management tools that will help to reduce the volume of recycling.
Projects have the chance to earn IDc1: Innovation in Design either through a comprehensive recycling plan including electronics and other hard to recycle items, and showing an actual reduction in waste; or through a comprehensive composting program (either onsite or hauled away) that shows reduction in waste.
Consider stacking the recycling bins if floor area is limited.
Verify that the recycling storage area is included on project drawings.
Write a narrative that describes the recycling storage area, accessibility, frequency of pickup, and volume of the space. You will also need to describe how the area’s dimensions were determined. See the Documentation Toolkit for a sample narrative.
Upload documents to LEED Online. This may include a project drawing showing the location of recycling areas if it is not clear on the images that are uploaded as part of the overall LEED submittal. See the Documentation Toolkit for an example.
If you decide to implement a recycling plan, ensure that regular recycling pickup is included as part of the janitorial contract.
Ensure that recycling bins have been installed.
Get the most value out of your recycling program by offering employee environmental awareness training and discussing ways to reduce trash and recycling.
If pursuing EBOM certification, consider pursuing the following credits:
Train maintenance personnel on proper recycling methods, such as what materials need to be separated or commingled, and in what bins.
In schools, find out if there is an environmental club that could help collect recycling or track recycling weights.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovations
To facilitate the reduction of waste generated by building occupants that is hauled to and disposed of in landfills.
Provide an easily-accessible dedicated area for the collection and storage materials for recycling for the entire building. Materials must include at a minimum paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics and metals.
Designate an area for recyclable collection and storage that is appropriately sized and located in a convenient area. Identify local waste handlers and buyers for glass, plastic, metals, office paper, newspaper, cardboard and organic wastes. Instruct occupants on recycling procedures. Consider employing cardboard balers, aluminum can crushers, recycling chutes and other waste management strategies to further enhance the recycling program.
The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) offers information about waste reduction, recycling and solid waste characterization, as well as generation rates for offices, schools, and residences.
Earth 911 offers information and education programs on recycling as well as links to local recyclers.
The Go Green Initiative is a comprehensive environmental action plan that promotes conservation and environmental education in schools. The website contains a variety of resources for developing environmental stewardship programs and curriculum about recycling, waste, and other environmental topics.
You will be required to upload to LEED Online a project floorplan, like the approved sample shown here, showing recycling storage and collection areas.
You are not required to follow through with a recycling program to earn this prerequisite, so it is not necessary to document one for LEED as shown in this sample recycling plan. However, implementing a recycling program is only logical, once you have done the work of allocating space for it.
To document this credit, you'll be required to write a narrative like this sample describing the recycling storage area, accessibility, frequency of pickup, and volume of the space. You will also need to describe how the area’s dimensions were determined.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each Schools-2009 MR credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.
Version 4 forms (newest):
Version 3 forms:
These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
Documentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.
In the seattle area, many recyclers comingle plastic, paper, and metals, but they do not allow glass in comingledA process of recycling materials that allows consumers to dispose of various materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) in one container that is separate from waste. The recyclable materials are not sorted until they are collected and brought to a sorting facility., since the materials are sorted by hand, and it could endanger the employees. They do not pick up glass. What should the building owner do with the glass if they set up separate storage for it?
Molly, LEED doesn't require you to collect glass for recycling—just to allocate space for it.
I am an on-call LEED consultant for the local public school system. They do not allow glass on any school campus - school policy. In every LEED submittal prior to v2009, GBCI has accepted that since the school does not allow glass on campus, they do not need to provide an area to recycle it. That said, my latest review team is insisting on it. So to meet the pre-req, the school has to change its policy? Seriously? Any ideas on how to convince my review team to use some logic here? Or do we provide recycling for something that will never exist?
My understanding is that you need to build in the capacity to recycle glass (along with the others). This doesn't mean you have to allow glass at the school, just that you need to have the means/capacity of storage/plan to recycle it. Since you probably won't be able to prove that there will never be glass on campus, I would suggest including storage space for it and hopefully the company you use for your other recyclables accept glass.
Guidelines refer to a "dedicated recycling collection and storage area that is easily accessible whithin the building". I would imagine that most haulers would prefer to have this area located outside the building instead. Would that be acceptable?
Guidelines say "for projects with larger site areas. it may be possible to create a central collection area that is outside the building". That is not the case in our project; the site is large enough to hold the playing fields, but not much more. Any thoughts?
Donna, with your first question—I think the intent is to make sure that recycling can be collected within the building—not just that there is a place for the hauler to pick it up.
With your second question, I'm not sure what you're asking. What would you propose to do to earn the prerequisite?
The thought was to have bins for recycling adjacet to the trash dumpster in the exterior, easy for the haulers to pick. Collection inside the building would be on a room basis, since each will be provided with separate bins for recyclables. There would not be a dedicated room inside the building just for sorting. Does that sound acceptable?
Donna - I would say you are on the right track. The online documentation requires: a plan drawing with a call-out showing where recyclables are collected (in your project, this may be per room); and a site plan indicating the location of recyclables storage that is easily accessible for a hauler. In the narrative, you could explain that the hauler accepts comingledA process of recycling materials that allows consumers to dispose of various materials (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal) in one container that is separate from waste. The recyclable materials are not sorted until they are collected and brought to a sorting facility. recyclables, so there is no need for a sorting area.
Our project is on a community college campus that has a dedicated recycling area for the campus that is not within our LEED project area. Is it acceptable to reference this area in the narrative and provide small bins in and around the project building that would be collected by campus maintenance staff and stored in the campus recycling area?
Yes, I would say so, if you think the space provided is truly adequate and accessible.
By the way, we have a tipsheet on documenting MRp1 on the site..
Could the dedicated recyclable area be located in the same area as the main garbage bins, if the bins are properly labeled and the space is sufficient for both? Or would we need a clear separation between both areas (such as a wall or a completely separate room)?
It's fine to put both garbage and recycling in the same area, given the provisions you describe.
Sustainable Project Manager
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