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Sustainable Materials Management

What is the environmental impact of a material across its life cycle? Sustainable Materials Management examines the environmental impacts of materials from resource extraction for design and production to end-of-life management including reuse, recycling, and solid waste disposal.

We also evaluate what actions you can take to reduce a material’s impacts — from waste diversion and resource recovery, to product stewardship and sustainable purchasing. All of these actions contribute to achieving the District’s sustainable materials management goals.

About Waste & Resource Recovery

Donation and Reuse - DOEE is committed to a waste management hierarchy that prioritizes source reduction and reuse over other forms of waste diversion. To achieve this, DOEE launched Reuse DC - the District's hub for learning where to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items. Search the online directory, explore how to exchange items with your neighbors, learn about the importance of food recovery, and more! Visit Reuse DC to learn more.

Getting new value out of otherwise wasted resources improves human and environmental health, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and creates jobs.

- ReuseDC Informational Brochure

DOEE programs addressing repair, reuse & recovery:

Waste Diversion & Resource Recovery

Through the Sustainable DC Plan, the District has committed to sending zero waste to landfills and incinerators and reducing waste generated by 15% by 2032. A major pillar of this plan involves diverting 80% of waste citywide. Visit Zero Waste DC for the most recent Solid Waste Diversion Report. DOEE contributes to achieving these goals by developing programs, strategies, and incentives to advance source reduction, reuse, recycling and composting citywide.

Zero Waste Events

Events are a great way to bring together community members for a common cause or celebration, but they can also generate a lot of waste. To help solve that problem, the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and Department of Public Works came together to develop the Zero Waste Event Guide! The guide is short and easy-to-use. It includes tips for before, during, and after the event. Take a look through the guide as you plan your next event and you’ll be helping the District reach its goal of diverting 80% of waste from landfill or incineration (including waste-to-energy) by 2032.

Product Stewardship

The District is making it easier for people to reuse, recycle, or properly dispose of paint, electronics, and batteries by passing laws that require producers to develop systems to pay for and manage the end-of-life of their products. Here are the details on product stewardship programs in the District:

Batteries: Call2Recycle, the District’s battery stewardship organization launched the nation’s first Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) all battery recycling program on November 1, 2023.

As of August 1, 2023, D.C. Official Code § 8-771.09 bans the disposal of single-use and rechargeable household batteries in the trash. These items must be properly recycled.

You can also recycle batteries at the Department of Public Works’ Household Hazardous Waste events.

Paint: PaintCare, Inc., a nonprofit organization representing paint manufacturers, has implemented a Paint Stewardship Program Plan in the District. District residents and businesses have many options to properly manage leftover paint and to ensure the value is recovered. Learn more about paint recycling.

  • PaintCare establishes used paint collections through retail drop-off locations, one-day paint drop-off events, and large volume pick-up services for anyone with more than 100 gallons of paint. Please visit PaintCare’s District of Columbiawebpage or call (855) 724-6809 to find the nearest paint drop-off location to you or to schedule a pick-up.
  • As of November 1, 2016, all paint retailers are required to add the PaintCare Fee to the purchase price of paint sold in the District. More information on the fee can be found on PaintCare’s webpage.
  • Producers and retailers may only sell architectural paint in the District that is registered with PaintCare. View PaintCare’s lists of registered manufacturers and brands.

Electronics: District residents, small businesses, and small non-profits can now recycle covered electronic equipment (CEE) at eCYCLE DC events for free. Manufacturers of certain electronics that are sold in the District must provide opportunities for people in the District to recycle electronic waste generated in the city.

  • Residents - Learn how to recycle your electronics.
  • Manufacturers - Learn about manufacturer registration and collection requirements.
  • Retailers - Learn about the responsibility of retailers.
  • Resources - Find important documents related to eCYCLE DC.

Looking to discard electronics that are in usable condition or can be repaired? DOEE recommends seeking donation or repair options before recycling. To find a local donation or repair shop, visit ReuseDC at and search the online directory. ReuseDC is the District's hub for learning where to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items. 

Find out how to properly dispose of electronics not included in the eCYCLE program with the “What Goes Where” tool on the Zero Waste DC website. Read more >>

Sustainable Purchasing

The District’s sustainable purchasing program helps agencies buy goods and services that have a reduced impact on the environment while maintaining an affordable cost. Through its sustainable purchasing program, the District is decreasing the purchase and use of toxic chemicals and buying more products that contain recycled content, conserve water and energy, and can be safely refurbished, recycled, or composted at the end of the product’s useful life. Learn more about the sustainable product specifications and implementation of sustainable purchasing.

Green Food Purchasing Program

Passed in 2021, the Green Food Purchasing Amendment Act requires all District agencies that procure food and beverages to adopt a methodology to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with purchased food and beverages by 25% by 2030. Food production accounts for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, and animal-source foods generate two-thirds of all food-related emissions. The District is a signatory of WRI's Cool Food Pledge, which helps cities, restaurants, hospitals, universities, and other institutions reduce their food-related emissions. To reduce the District's food-related GHG footprint, DOEE partnered with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to conduct a baseline assessment of agencies' food-related emissions and develop food procurement best practices. Read the results in the first Green Food Report.   Learn more >>

Learn More about Sustainable Materials Management