Many companies and municipalities are working to reduce waste, with the ultimate goal of achieving zero waste. Managers find they can reduce operational cost, mitigate risks related to commodity pricing fluctuations or penalties, and better comply with requirements around the world and across municipalities in the United States to minimize waste to landfill. The intent of a waste diversion program is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills; stated another way, the intent is to increase the amount materials that are diverted from landfill. UL can validate a company’s efforts and provide credibility to those efforts with the industry’s first standard – UL 2799 – designed to measure and validate zero waste and waste diversion claims.
The UL waste diversion validation program focuses on monitoring and measuring material flows that are not part of an organization’s final product. UL offers four landfill waste diversion claim validations to recognize companies that handle waste in environmentally responsible and innovative ways—from energy production via incineration to reuse, recycling and composting:
Materials that are not diverted are considered disposed and go to the landfill or incineration without energy recovery.
UL requires at least 90% diversion through methods other than waste to energy to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill (Silver, Gold, Platinum) designations. Thermal Processing with Energy Recovery = Waste to Energy (WTE)
- ABC Industries has achieved Zero Waste To Landfill Gold, 98% diversion, with 3% Thermal Processing with Energy Recovery
- XYZ Industries has achieved a landfill diversion rate of 85%
Each claim validation is clearly defined, carefully reviewed and thoroughly vetted so that businesses and their customers can understand the environmental significance of such a major achievement.
Entities that achieve compliance with UL’s Zero Waste Procedure are featured by name in UL’s SPOT database and are also entitled to use the UL environmental claim validation badge in their promotional and marketing materials, providing extra credibility in the marketplace as well as a competitive edge.
The validation process generally follows a four step process. UL assigns a Project Manager who is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the project and serving as the primary point of contact for the project. UL generally completes projects using the following steps.
Ongoing Validation Maintenance:
Ongoing validations must be renewed annually. In a situation where the technology and performance have not changed, annual reviews will be limited. Full end-to-end audits are required every third year to maintain the UL validation.
Eligibility for Validation:
Validation is available to “entities” — facilities or campuses with a specific address and clearly defined boundaries, or mobile vessels or businesses (such as cruise ships, delivery trucks, cleaning services, landscaping services, etc.) with or without a fixed, base address. An entity may also incorporate a time-based element (e.g., specific start and stop dates) such as conventions, concerts, sporting events, or building construction or demolition projects.
The current procedure for validating waste diversion claims requires the submission of specific information that fully documents the movement of waste at the facility. At a minimum, required information includes details of products produced at the facility, manufacturing processes used, waste diversion methods, documentation of waste handling procedures (especially for reuse and reduce activities), records of waste pick-ups for the preceding 12 months, and landfill and incinerator documentation.
Diversion and Disposal Routes:
As illustrated in the graphic below, diversion pathways within a facility or “onsite” include activities such as: eliminating the use of certain materials, reducing the use of certain materials; and reusing materials.
Outside of the facility, diversion paths include: sending materials for recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, and biofuel. Thermal technology such as waste to energy is also accepted (up to 10%) as a diversion pathway.
UL also offers supporting services to help companies implement and promote their waste reduction claims. We can conduct readiness assessments; develop programs to optimize processes for waste reduction, reuse and recycling; and validate claims for recyclability, recycled content and take-back programs for waste or reclaimed materials.