News Analysis

Designing the Culture of a Zero Waste City

Design plays a key role in helping cities overcome the logistical and social barriers to eliminating waste.

An increasing number of U.S. cities have adopted zero waste goals, including San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Austin, Texas.  In New York City, the Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) 0x30 campaign is designed to eliminate landfilled waste by 2030. According to DSNY, New Yorkers generate a total 18,500 tons of waste every day and the city sends 3,000,000 tons of residential waste to landfills each year.

Reaching zero waste, in New York City and other cities, will require infrastructure that facilitates the reduction, diversion, and management of waste. But what’s also needed is a shift in cultural mindset that reinforces waste reduction practices like recycling and composting. The design and building industry can address both of these elements to help fuel the trend toward zero waste cities.

Published July 25, 2017