Materials and Waste Guidelines

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M.2 Environmentally Preferable Materials

To require and encourage the use of materials and products that have specific properties intended to improve life cycle performance.

Required Performance Criteria

  1. Use recycled, salvaged or reused materials
    Use a combination of recycled and salvaged or reused materials such that either:
  • At least 5% of the total (by weight or value) of materials used in the project are reused or salvaged.


  • At least 10% of the total (weight or value) of the materials used in the project are recycled content. Pro-rate cost or weight by each material’s recycled content amount. Materials that contain a minimum weighted average of 20% post-consumer recycled content material, OR, a minimum weighted average of 50% pre-consumer (post-industrial) recycled content material are eligible.

    Only half the cost or weight of pre-consumer (post-industrial) recycled content may be counted (i.e. - multiply pro-rated values for pre-consumer recycled weight or volume by 0.5 when calculating their contribution to the completion of this guideline).

It is possible to achieve compliance by partial completion of the above requirements if the following condtion is met:

100%( (% salvaged or reuse material)/(5%) + (% recycled content material)/(10%) ) ≥ 100%

  1. Use renewable, bio-based materials
    Use renewable, bio-based raw materials for 5% of the total (weight or value) of all products used in the project. Qualifying materials must be either: (a) residues from the processing of renewable, bio-based materials; OR (b) grown or harvested under a recognized sustainable management system. Programs that do not require third-party certification may be included. At a minimum, the management system must be subject to audit by the authority responsible for the system.
  • For solid wood products, OSB, plywood and other engineered wood products, materials certified under one of the following systems can be fully counted by weight or value.
    • Forest Stewardship Council
    • Sustainable Forestry Initiative
    • Canadian Standards Association Sustainable Forestry Management
    • Property and Environment Research Center
  • For bio-based content materials other than those listed above such as particleboard, cementitious panels or other material not rated by the above organizations, pro-rate the percentage contributing to satisfaction of this guideline by the bio-based content listed by the manufacturer. Particleboard without manufacturer provided wood content percentages may be considered 75% bio-based content.
  1. Use materials with appropriate durability
    Use materials with appropriate durability for service life. In many cases, State buildings are intended to have a 50-100 year service life for the structure and envelope.

Recommended Performance Criteria

  1. Use local materials
    Use materials manufactured regionally within a radius of 250 miles of project site to specified qualifications, or are manufactured within the State of Minnesota and contain products from state-sponsored, approved, or acknowledged recycling programs.
  2. Use reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable materials
    Use materials that are reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable at the end of their use in the project. Composite materials or products should consider how their component parts can be separated for intended end of life reuse, recycling, or biodegradability.

Related MSBG Documents

Supplemental Resources

  • The MPCA web page on Building Products and Materials is an excellent resource for information on recycled-content products, including the OEA Recycled Products Directory, other directories, and informative fact sheets (including the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide.) The page also provides links to standards and product lists from ASTM, EPA (Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines), Forest Stewardship Council for certified wood, Green Seal, and Scientific Certification Systems. Links to ATHENA, BEES 3.0, BuildingGreen (EBN), the OIKOS directory and more.

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