Zero waste management plans

In 2016, the City Council amended the local zoning ordinance to create the LS (Life Sciences), O (Office), and R-MU (Residential Mixed-Use) zoning districts. These zoning districts include green and sustainable building requirements, including a requirement that projects in these districts develop a zero waste management plan. The goal of the zero waste management plan is to meet a waste reduction goal for the construction and occupancy phases of a building. These zero waste management plan requirements help applicants reach the city’s zero waste goal of 90 percent diversion by 2035.

The following benchmarks are designed to achieve zero waste by 2035.
  • 70% diversion AND 5.0 pounds per person per day by 2023
  • 75% diversion AND 4.0 pounds per person per day by 2026
  • 80% diversion AND 3.5 pounds per person per day by 2029
  • 85% diversion AND 2.0 pounds per person per day by 2032
  • 90% diversion AND 0.5 pounds per person per day by 2035

The requirements apply to the following applicants and/or tenants (or occupants) in LS, O and R-MU zoning districts:
  • New nonresidential development projects
  • All tenants in an applicable zero waste nonresidential development project
  • Tenant improvements of 10,000 or more square feet (in a building that does not have an applicable zero waste management plan)
  • New multifamily residential development projects

If you have applied for a building permit as of January 1, 2017, you are required to complete the appropriate occupancy phase zero waste management plan forms and implement the requirements to achieve the zero waste benchmarks outlined above. 

Applications for new construction (residential and nonresidential) are required to comply with zero waste requirements and prepare to meet future benchmarks as developed by the City.

Projects with a complete building permit application submitted before January 1, 2017 are not subject to the requirements. All applicable projects with building permit applications in the zoning districts listed above submitted after January 1, 2017, are subject to these requirements.

New nonresidential development project application


Applicants must complete the zero waste management form for new nonresidential development projects. The zero waste plan may require: 

  1. Solid waste enclosures: Must have three (3) stream enclosures and permanent sorting stations for garbage, recycling, and organics with proper signage.
  2. Zero waste infrastructure: If bathrooms, water fountains, or kitchens/cafeterias are included in proposed project area, must provide infrastructure for refillable water stations, reusable hand towels and dryers, and dishwashers. 
  3. Zero waste commitment and waste assessments: If applicable, inform future tenants of requirement to complete zero waste baseline assessment and meet zero waste benchmarks.

Commercial tenants and tenant improvements of 10,000 square feet or more project application


A zero waste management form for tenants in applicable newly constructed building or in tenant improvements of 10,000 or more square feet must be completed. The zero waste plan may require:

  1. Solid waste enclosures: Must have three (3) stream enclosures and permanent sorting stations for garbage, recycling, and organics with proper signage.
  2. Zero waste infrastructure: If bathrooms, water fountains, or kitchens/cafeterias are included in proposed project area, must provide infrastructure for refillable water stations, reusable hand towels and dryers, and dishwashers. 
  3. Zero waste commitment and waste assessments: Complete zero waste baseline assessment and meet zero waste benchmarks.

Multifamily property zero waste management plans


Applicants must complete a zero waste management form for new multifamily residential building in the R-MU zoning district. The zero waste plan may require:
 
  1. Solid waste enclosures: Must have three (3) stream enclosures and permanent sorting stations for garbage, recycling, and organics with proper signage.
  2. Zero waste infrastructure: Required in the housing units, common areas, and trash chutes
  3. Zero waste commitment and waste assessment: Complete zero waste baseline assessment and meet zero waste benchmarks.