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NABERS Waste measures how well a building manages waste generation, recycling and resource recovery, and supply chain management. The Waste Rating of Office Buildings compares this performance to our industry benchmark, providing a rating out of six stars. A rated building can confidently report its verified waste and recycling performance.

The rating is driven by an online platform which tracks data month to month, converting it into useful management insights. This online platform can be used by any building type, and with 51 waste streams it has the flexibility to deliver relevant insights.

About the Waste Rating

A NABERS Waste Rating is an independent benchmark of the recycling and resource recovery performance of an office building, expressed on a star rating scale. The Waste Rating assesses buildings on how well they separate and divert waste generated in the building into streams that can be re-used and recycled, and whether those materials are likely to go to a facility that will recover the materials.

The NABERS Waste Rating method was built on the work of the Better Buildings Partnership’s Operational Waste Guidelines. The method ensures good quality, reliable data is used to calculate the recycling rate. It has been tested with most of the leading property portfolios in Australia.

To obtain a rating, you need to upload 12 months of your operational waste data to the Waste Manager Platform, collect some data about your building through waste audits, and engage a NABERS Accredited Assessor to complete the rating process. One of our accredited assessors can help you with this process.

Rating types

NABERS offers two benchmark options for the rating:

  1. Base building - Measures only those wastes contracted by the building owner. This rating provides insights into the management of the building, irrespective of which tenants are in the building.
  2. Whole building - Measures any waste that leaves from the building, where it can be reliably measured. This rating suits a building with highly engaged tenants who are working with building management.

Waste types

To create a fair comparison between buildings the Waste Rating system recognises core and optional waste types. Core waste types are all of the most common waste types generated by commercial office buildings. Where these waste streams are collected by a building then this data is required to complete a rating. Optional waste types are all other waste types which might be generated by an office building. The full list of waste types is available at the end of this page.

Waste audits and data quality

The recycling rate calculation is affected by two audits:

  1. A contamination audit. This audit determines the weight of materials in a waste stream that have not been placed in the correct bin and would be placed in landfill at the next stage of the waste management process. 
  2. A site density audit. This audit is used to convert the number of bins collected from a site into an estimated weight, in cases where weight data has not been provided.

The platform applies a data uncertainty factor to the rating calculation to determine the final star value. This factor acts as a confidence interval on the sources of data used for the rating, to ensure a robust rating.

A building may achieve a better rating if its manager commissions audits by a NABERS Accredited Assessor, following the method set out in the NABERS Waste for Offices Rules.

Material Recovery Score

NABERS rewards good environmental outcomes in the built environment. The Waste Rating doesn’t just reward good material separation on-site, it also considers the environmental impact of material use relating to:

  • the resource inputs at each stage of the production chain which are then lost if the material is placed into landfill
  • pollution arising from disposal methods.

To address this impact a Material Recovery Score is applied to each rating.

The Material Recovery Score is a measure of the quality of the end-of-life outcome of every waste stream that leaves a commercial building. The score adjusts the rating to reflect the recovery outcomes of materials leaving the building.

Find the Material Recovery Score user guide here for more information.

Is my building eligible for a rating?

Currently, the Waste Rating method is only available for commercial office buildings. The online platform is available for most commercial buildings. There is a discounted rate available for properties that are currently not able to be rated.

About the Waste Manager Platform

We have developed an online platform to make it simpler to understand your waste data. The platform provides visibility of the waste streams leaving your building and your recycling rate. These insights should lead to improvements and may improve your recycling performance.

The platform can be used to monitor:

  • Frequency of waste collections
  • Volumes or weights collected
  • Types of waste streams
  • Costs

Watch the video below to learn more about the platform. 

How do I use the platform and get a rating?

You will need:

  1. A login to the platform.
  2. Information on the building, including information on your waste management contract, and the number and types of bins on the premises.
  3. Someone to regularly upload the data spreadsheet. This could be you, your waste contractor, or a data management company.
  4. Contract an Accredited NABERS Waste assessor to rate your building, and create the rating on the Ratings page of the platform.

Complete the NABERS Waste setup information form and email it to nabers [at] environment.nsw.gov.au (subject: NABERS%20Waste%20setup) (the NABERS team).

The Waste Data and Measurement Standard

The Data and Measurement Standard guide is primarily for use by third party reporting systems that would like to align to the NABERS Waste data and measurement standard.  This Data and Measurement Standard establishes a robust and comparable method for commercial buildings to analyse and report on their waste performance. It underpins the NABERS Waste method.  It addresses several key concerns of the commercial building sector:

  • It is difficult to obtain regular, accurate and granular data from waste contractors, instead monthly reports of picks up would be provided with estimates of waste volume.
  • There is inconsistent waste reporting between waste contractors, so performance across a portfolio cannot be determined, or requires complicated spreadsheets.
  • It is near impossible to track facilities waste is taken to, thus supply chain risk cannot be assessed

The NABERS Waste method has been used across sectors in office buildings, shopping centres and industrial buildings. It aligns to the Better Buildings Partnership's Operational Waste Guidelines. It is rapidly being adopted as an industry standard.  

This standard:

  • provides a format and vocabulary for waste data for the property sector, facilitating meaningful reporting and comparison.
  • allows building owners and managers to compare performance across portfolios by ensuring waste reporting is standardised.
  • provides guidance to providers of waste data on the industry standard for waste reporting for commercial buildings.
  • enables third party reporting systems to:
    • produce data for clients to use in a NABERS Waste rating.
    • build other reporting tools or
    • generate a “NABERS Standard report” from integrated sustainability reporting tools.

The data standard allows for variability in data quality and sets out how the quality of the provided data is to be assessed.  This informs which performance standards should be written into contracts or procedures for optimal waste management.

The standard was developed through seven years of experience of major property portfolios in Australia seeking to understand their waste data and use it to drive improvements.

Download the NABERS Waste Data and Measurement Standard Guide here.

More info?

Learn more about the Waste tool in our NABERS Waste fact sheet.

If you are a waste management company, then refer to our Waste Contractor Resources page to help you understand the process and give you the templates and resources you need to get started.

We have also created a Waste Platform User Support Kit. The kit contains all user support documents for the platform. This includes the current version of the data upload template for the platform.

Rating information