The goal of the diversion strategies C&D waste credits in LEED is to return valuable materials back to the production cycle, thereby reducing the amount of virgin materials used to make new products during the manufacturing stage, as well as reducing the amount of waste that is hauled to and disposed of in landfills and incinerators. To achieve these credit project teams typically use a combination of collecting site-separated materials and commingled-materials at the project site. Commingled waste is then sent to recycling facilities for further separation into items with market value. This Pilot Credit focuses on the reported recycling rates for commingled recycling facilities.
Most commingled (or "mixed") waste processing facilities that process C&D materials self-report their recycling rate based on facility specific accounting procedures, local or state operational permit requirements, the type of sorting methods at the facility (i.e. a visual sort vs. a mechanized sorting line), and other factors. Because of the varied reporting methodologies used throughout the C&D industry, recycling rates of commingled waste streams are not reported consistently from facility-to-facility, and the accuracy of reporting varies widely. Furthermore, most federal, state and local authorities that oversee the permitting of recycling facilities do not require recycling rate reporting, nor do they require independent verification of recycling rates. As a result, the actual recycling performance from LEED projects that send a significant amount of waste through a mixed-processing facility may be significantly inaccurate or inflated.
This Pilot Credit seeks to incentivize project teams to improve the consistency and accuracy of recycling reporting. Furthermore, the Credit incentivizes C&D facilities to obtain and disclose publicly their third party verification of real recycling rates, which will lead to market transformation and greater recycling overall.
We welcome and value the opinions of our green building community. We are collecting feedback on LEED v4 during the 5th open commenting period. At this time, each USGBC site user may comment on the open credits.