Last edited 04 Mar 2019

BREEAM Operational waste


[edit] Aim and benefits

The aim of this issue is to encourage the recycling of operational waste through the provision of dedicated storage facilities and space.

Well-designed buildings provide convenient and well integrated waste storage areas in suitable locations, ensuring that building occupants have the facilities to enable them to sort waste at source whenever possible.

[edit] When to consider

BREEAM awards credits where sufficient storage areas are provided within or adjacent to a building so that recyclable waste streams can then be collected by the local waste authority.

In order to do this correctly, the client should provide details of the volume and type of waste likely to be generated so that spatial requirements can be considered by the design team. Convenience and H&S issues should also be considered.

BREEAM provides default guidance for dedicated space requirements for situations where it is not possible to demonstrate the required size based on known waste streams.

  1. At least 2m² per 1000m² of net floor area for buildings < 5000m²
  2. A minimum of 10m² for buildings ≥ 5000m²
  3. An additional 2m² per 1000m² of net floor area where catering is provided (with an additional minimum of 10m² for buildings ≥ 5000m²).

Where organic waste is to be composted on site, suitable vessels must be provided. Where organic waste will be collected and delivered to an alternative composting facility stored, adequate storage space is required. In both cases a water outlet must be provided adjacent to or within the facility for cleaning and hygiene purposes.

[edit] Step by step guidance

Determine whether the proposed dedicated space complies with the BREEAM requirements based on information provided by the design team.

Confirm that the facilities for recyclable materials are in addition to areas and facilities provided for general waste.

Confirm that internal facilities are sized to ensure ease of access for vehicles collecting recyclable materials.

[edit] Questions to ask while seeking compliance

The assessor needs to be satisfied that the sizes and facilities meet the criteria based on the building type, occupancy and the likely waste volumes generated as a result of these.

Typically ‘accessible’ is defined as being within 20m of a building entrance.


Where a building’s recyclable waste is sorted off-site, BREEAM requirements relating to segregation of recyclable waste need not be met. In such cases, the assessor seek evidence of the following:

That a waste management plan is in place which provides adequate storage for the frequency of collection

That the space could reasonably be converted to comply with all BREEAM waste storage requirements if required

That an on-going co-mingled waste recycling contract is in place

The typical recycling rates from the waste management company

Remember that BREEAM assesses the sustainability of the building itself rather than the management practices of the current occupier.

[edit] Tools and resources

Operational waste - Top 10 easy win issue

[edit] Tips and best practice

In situations where direct vehicular access to the recyclable waste store is limited by logistics or if size is a problem, for example inner city locations, some flexibility to the application of the criteria is allowed.

Equally if the BREEAM space requirements aren’t met, the client and design team can provide a valid justification and propose alternative solutions. Compliance can be achieved provided that it is clearly demonstrated and evidenced that there is adequate justification for the type of facilities & size of waste storage provided.

Typically ‘accessible’ is defined as being within 20m of a building entrance. In some circumstances site restrictions or tenancy arrangements could mean it is not possible for the facilities to be within 20m of a building entrance. If, in the opinion of the BREEAM assessor it is not feasible for the facilities to be within 20m of a building entrance, their judgement can be used to determine if the facility is deemed to be ‘accessible’ to the building occupants and for vehicle collection.

Ensure that the client is aware that facilities are clearly labelled, to assist with segregation, storage and collection of the recyclable waste streams.

[edit] Typical evidence

Drawings to demonstrate the location of the operational waste facility (and water outlet where applicable)

Client confirmation of type and volume of waste streams

Evidence of an off-site waste management plan and contract (where applicable)

Photographic evidence (post construction)

[edit] Applicable Schemes

The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.

BRE Global does not endorse any of the content posted and use of the content will not guarantee the meeting of certification criteria.

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