Etsy Sets Global Zero Waste Goal

Photo: Pixabay

Online handmade items marketplace Etsy has announced plans to secure ‘zero waste’ status across its global operations, following news it has achieved Living Building Challenge sustainability certification for its new headquarters in New York City.

The tech company claims its new Brooklyn HQ is now the largest building in the world with rigorous LBC ‘Petal’ certification, which assesses the building’s impact on the environment, local communities, human health, and staff happiness.

As such, all materials used in the installation and fit-out of the building, including handmade tables and phones, were carefully vetted for toxic or harmful materials, with 60 per cent of the materials sourced from within 500km of the site.

In addition, all wood materials were either salvaged and reused, or sourced from responsibly managed forests under Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, according to Etsy, which diverted more than 90 per cent of waste from landfill during construction of the building.

The roof is also fitted with 12kw of solar panels to help power the office, which Etsy estimates will also save around 80,000kWh of energy each year by using LED lighting and placing workspaces near windows to make the most of natural light.

In day-to-day use of the office, the company claims to have taken steps to ensure air quality is better inside than outside the building, and systems have been developed to ensure all waste, compost and recycling created on site is weighed and accounted for.

The moves form part of the company’s new goal of achieving ‘zero waste’ to landfill across its 10 global offices by 2020.

Etsy explained this meant it would divert “at least 90 per cent” of the waste it generates from landfill “as well as attempt to reduce our total consumption and waste creation overall”.

Announcing the target last week, Etsy said it would be creating internal programs to encourage employees to recycle, compost and divert as much waste from landfill as possible, while also further promoting waste reduction behaviour among its website users.

In order to track its progress towards its green goals, Etsy has also developed its own software – ‘DIVERTsy’ – to measure a building’s multiple waste streams, with plans to start trialling the system with other organisations in order to assist them in reducing their waste.

Devon Leahy, Etsy’s director of sustainability and social innovation, said reducing waste and consumption was good for the company’s business. “We believe that our efforts to minimise our environmental impact can have a favourable impact on our operating costs in the long term, so this commitment is both good for the planet and for our bottom line,” she said.