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Criterion Details

OM-04 Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

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Create and pursue a formal recycling and reuse plan for agency operated facilities and maintenance activities.

Sustainability Linkage

Triple Bottom Line

Reducing, reusing, and recycling materials supports the environmental and economic principles of the triple bottom line by reducing the consumption of raw materials, reducing landfill waste, and encouraging cost savings.

Background & Scoring Requirements


For the purposes of this criterion, the key terms are defined as follows:

  • “Office waste material” includes, but is not limited to, paper products (e.g., packaging materials, copier paper, paper products, cardboard, and pallets), glass, trash, or compostables (including recyclable materials generated from office facilities). 
  • “Operations and Maintenance Waste Material” is waste from roadway maintenance and operations activities. Depending on the organization and how goals are set and implemented, this may include office waste materials generated as part of operations and maintenance activities. Construction and maintenance waste includes, but is not limited to, pavement waste from pothole/roadways repairs, metals (e.g., guiderails, pipes, luminaires, signs, aluminum, and various other metals), excess topsoil or removed vegetation, hazardous materials and liquids, or wood.
  • “Recycle” is defined as recovering a portion of a used product or material from the waste stream for reprocessing and/or repurposing.
  • “Reduce” refers to the process of intentionally implementing actions that reduce the amount of materials that are needed to perform a function or activity. For example, many companies have campaigns to reduce the amount of printing and/or increase double-sided printing to reduce their paper consumption.
  • “Reuse” is defined as a continued use or repurposing of existing materials without reprocessing. Materials do not need to be reused or repurposed within the same project limits.

The Construction & Demolition Recycling Association’s Find a C & D Recycler website1 provides links to a variety of localities that offer construction and demolition waste recycling services. 

Scoring Requirements

The scoring requirements below may be included in the Comprehensive Internal Sustainability Plan discussed in OM-01. If so, additional credit may be taken here for the specific elements of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

Requirement OM-04.1

2 or 4 points. Set Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse Goals

Set goals for operation and maintenance waste material reduction, reuse and recycling. These goals do not need to be included in a formal Reduce, Recycle and Reuse (3R) plan; they could be part of a Comprehensive Internal Sustainability Plan (see OM-01) or Environmental Management Plan.

One of the following scores applies:

  • 0 points. No goals are set.
  • 2 points. Goals are set for either office waste materials or operations and maintenance waste materials.
  • 4 points. Goals are set for both office waste materials and operations and maintenance waste materials.

Requirement OM-04.2

2 or 4 points. Develop a Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Plan

Develop a documented plan (could be multiple documents) that outlines how the 3R goals set in Requirement OM-04.1 will be accomplished. The plan should describe the agency’s proposed 3R measures at agency-owned and operated facilities, including rest areas, maintenance & operations facilities, and other agency operated administration facilities. The documented plan could be part of a Comprehensive Internal Sustainability Plan (see OM-01) or Environmental Management Plan.

Some potential 3R measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Management organization and roles and responsibilities related to management of waste streams. 
  • Keeping accurate records and retaining all waste handling invoices and receipts.
  • Locating recycling receptacles in all facilities and offices to encourage waste reduction of basic materials and small items.
  • Clearly labeling receptacles and recycling locations. Large color photos of what is recyclable and what is not are often very helpful, especially, for multi-lingual work environments.
  • Providing waste receptacles that are smaller than the recycling receptacles to provide a visual or behavioral cue indicating that the trash is supposed to be limited and there are ample recycling alternatives.
  • Providing training to workers to educate them on 3R and the specifics of the efforts being made to reduce waste.
  • Creating an incentive or recognition plan for workers to engage actively in recycling efforts of personal trash that rewards positive and successful behavior.
  • Hiring an experienced waste transport company to manage site waste and monitor waste streams for unacceptable materials.
  • Providing handling and storage areas for construction and operations materials to be recycled and reused to provide a visual and behavioral cue indicating that trash is supposed to be limited and there are ample recycling alternatives.
  • Identifying local facilities that accept recyclables or salvaged materials. This is important in designating types of waste to separate and in making arrangements for drop-off or delivery of materials.
  • Proper handling of waste to minimize negative environmental impacts. This could include management of waste including engine oil, asphalt, concrete, and other industrial waste to avoid soil and water contamination.  

One of the following scores applies:

  • 0 points. No plan is developed, or the plan is not linked to the goals set in Requirement OM-04.1.
  • 2 points. A plan is developed for either office waste materials or operations and maintenance waste materials.
  • 4 points. A plan is developed for both office waste materials and operations and maintenance waste materials.

Requirement OM-04.3

2 or 4 points. Measure Progress and Monitor Performance

Track the agency waste streams and report the amount of waste produced and the amount of material reused and recycled.

One of the following scores applies:

  • 0 points. Progress is not measured, or it is measured and not compared to performance goals set in Requirement OM-04.1.
  • 2 points. Waste streams are tracked for either office waste materials or operations and maintenance waste materials.
  • 4 points. Waste streams are tracked for both office waste materials and operations and maintenance waste materials.

Requirement OM-04.4

3 points. Demonstrate Sustainable Outcomes

To earn credit for this scoring requirement, the agency must have a 3R Plan as described in Requirement OM-04.2. Track the progress toward these goals with the performance measurement system for at least one year. Monitor the percentages of materials that are reduced or go to waste, reuse, or recycling and show that progress has been made toward the stated goals.


Above-Referenced Resources

The following resources are referenced in this criterion and consolidated here:

  1. Construction & Demolition Recycling Association, Find a C & D Recycler,

Additional Resources

The following resources provide information on this criterion topic in addition to the sources directly referenced:

  1. EPA, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle website,
  2. EPA, Resources for Businesses, States, and Local Governments,
  3. Green Highways Partnership, Home page of website,
  4. Industrial Resources Council, Home page of website,

Case Studies & Criterion Examples

DelDOT - Using INVEST to Measure Sustainability for the DelDOT Pavement and Rehabilitation Program: DelDOT used the INVEST Operations and Maintenance (OM) module to score its Pavement and Rehabilitation Program and other OM activities. By using INVEST, DelDOT was able to measure the sustainability achievement of its Pavement and Rehabilitation Program and identify areas for improvement across many aspects of project delivery.

Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon - Engaging INVEST for a Light Rail Project: TriMet engaged INVEST 1.0 to evaluate the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail (PMLR) transit project. Given the absence of a singular, exhaustive set of metrics or indicators for the transit industry, the INVEST 1.0 tool for evaluating highway projects offered a worthwhile opportunity to use a federally-tested set of metrics to understand, improve on, and communicate about transportation infrastructure. PMLR is a 7.3-mile light rail corridor providing access for residents of Portland and Clackamas County. The INVEST 1.0 tool provides a comprehensive framework for TriMet to assess the effectiveness of its sustainability strategies and their integration into the PMLR project.

MDT - Focusing on Efficiency and Cost Savings: The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) evaluated the agency’s operations and maintenance practices using two criteria from the INVEST Operations and Maintenance (OM) Module: OM-2 Electrical Energy Efficiency and Use and OM-3 Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Use. MDT focused on these sustainability areas because they are efficiency practices that can result in direct cost savings. MDT scored 5 out of 15 for OM-2 and 11 out of 15 for OM-3. MDT also conducted a benefit-cost analysis related to OM-4 Recycle and Reuse, evaluating a potential pilot for incorporating recycling at MDT rest areas in MDT District 1. As a result of the INVEST evaluation, MDT developed recommendations including to maintain MDT’s excellent sustainability for light vehicle purchase and monitoring, to consider implementing improvements to MDT’s processes for documenting continuous progress toward sustainability, to consider enhancing MDT planning to support continued energy efficiency progress, and to consider conducting a complete MDT Operations and Maintenance scoring.

Arizona DOT - Using INVEST to Benefit Planning, Programming, and Maintenance in Arizona: Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has been a front-runner in utilizing and embedding INVEST throughout the full lifecycle of its transportation services, including administration, project planning, design, construction, and systems operations and maintenance. INVEST has also been a keystone in the development of the agency’s Sustainable Transportation Program. This case study focuses on ADOT’s use of the Operations and Maintenance (OM) module.

Western Federal Lands - Using INVEST to Enhance Sustainable Operations and Maintenance at Denali: The Western Federal Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) and the National Park Service (NPS) used INVEST to evaluate the operations and maintenance policies and procedures at Denali National Park and Preserve (DNP), specifically on Denali Park Road. The park achieved the platinum level for the INVEST evaluation, and identified many sustainable operations and maintenance practices that it plans to continue moving forward. WFLHD also identified several INVEST criteria that were not relevant to the park because its context and mission are different from that of a traditional transportation agency.

Scoring Sources

The program is considered to have met this criterion if the requirements above can be reasonably substantiated through the existence of one of the following documentation sources (or equal where not available):

  1. Recycling and Reuse Plan with description of strategies to be used to reduce waste.
  2. Recycling and Reuse goals.
  3. Agency waste stream report and goal tracking for at least the first year.