Electronic waste (e-waste) is categorized as any electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its useful life – if it plugs into a wall or has batteries, it will one day be e-waste. E-waste is the quickest-growing source of waste and when not disposed of properly can have serious health impacts for example when chemicals leach from landfills into groundwater systems.
California’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act, along with various federal and local statutes makes it illegal to discard your “end of life” electronic equipment. This program is run by CalRecycle (formerly the California Integrated Waste Management Board) to encourage the three “Rs” of good environmental stewardship: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. By having a solid waste management plan in place for your e-waste, as a property manager you can avoid the legal penalties imposed for dumping these electronics as well as eliminate the cost of storing or disposing of these end of life devices. Additionally you’ll know that your
e-waste isn’t ending up in landfill and that you’re doing your part to help the planet.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a worldwide green building rating system that provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving buildings. Electronic waste itself is considered a subset of solid waste which is one of the metrics that is measured to determine how environmentally sustainable a property or building is operating.
As well as saving resources and generating less waste, LEED buildings attract tenants, cost less to operate and boost employee productivity and retention. Adding e-waste to the services provided by your property and obtaining LEED certification can increase the value proposition of your building, allowing property managers to add premiums to their price structure.
A more detailed list of benefits includes:
The LEED rating system is based on earning credits which have an associated number of points. A minimum number of points must be earned for LEED certification. It is possible to get credits for recycling activities, such as solid waste management.
There are four different levels of LEED Certification, each requiring an increasing number of points;
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It is possible to get 2 points from proper management of ongoing solid waste. To do so, the building must hit the performance measures for both durable goods and ongoing consumables waste. This involves maintaining a waste reduction and recycling program that reuses, recycles, or composts the following:
It is also possible to get 1 extra point for exemplary performance by achieving a higher performance score. This would require a 75% of ongoing consumables performance and a 100% durable goods performance.
Ongoing Consumable: a product that has a low-cost unit and is regularly used and replaced in the course of business. Examples include paper, toner cartridges, binders, batteries and desk accessories.
Durable goods: products with a useful life of approximately two or more years before being infrequently replaced. Examples include furniture, office equipment, appliances, external power adaptors, televisions and audiovisual equipment.
This performance has to be measured in a period of between 3 and 24 months. Note that all performance periods for certification must end within the same 30-day interval and that the application must be sent within 60 days of the final performance period. Following the first certification, projects must recertify within five years. The project is eligible for recertification as often as every 12 months. The performance period is then running from last certification until recertification. As solid waste management is ongoing the project should always track their performance after being certified.