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Sustainable Materials Management

Sustainable materials management takes a holistic view of environmental impacts across the full life cycle of materials, as well as actions that can be taken to reduce those impacts. It includes resource extraction and use of recovered materials, the design and production of materials, their use, and end-of-life management, including solid waste disposal and recovery.

Sustainable purchasing, product stewardship, resource recovery, and solid waste management all contribute to achieving the District’s sustainable materials management goals.

Sustainable Purchasing

The District’s sustainable purchasing program assists agencies in procuring products and services that are high-performing, affordable and have a lesser negative impact on the environment than conventional ones. Through its sustainable purchasing program, the District is reducing the purchase and use of toxic chemicals and increasing its procurement of 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 purchasing program and sustainable product specifications.

Product Stewardship

The District’s product stewardship programs require manufacturers to pay for and develop systems to reuse, recycle, or properly dispose of certain products in a manner that is safe for people and the environment. More information on the District’s product stewardship programs is below:

Batteries

Development of the District’s battery stewardship program is underway. Convenient and accessible locations for residents to drop off their batteries for recycling will become available when the program launches. Stay tuned for updates on this program. In the meantime, you can recycle batteries at the Benning Road Transfer Station or find a location that accepts rechargeable batteries for recycling.

Electronics
The electronics stewardship program provides many convenient options for District residents and small businesses to recycle covered electronic equipment (TVs, computers, and related items).

Paint
The paint stewardship program was established to ensure residents have convenient locations to dispose of paint correctly, and to ensure the value in leftover paint is recovered.

Waste Diversion & Resource Recovery

The District is developing a plan to achieve 80% waste diversion citywide. To reach this goal, the District will utilize a variety of waste diversion strategies, including: reuse, source reduction, recycling, composting, and conversion of compostable solid waste to biofuel. 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. DOEE contributes to achieving these goals by developing programs, strategies, and incentives to advance recycling and composting citywide. In addition to conserving natural resources, developing and implementing cost effective strategies to recover value in wasted resources improves human and environmental health, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and creates jobs.

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.

Learn More about Sustainable Materials Management