According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated 258 million tons of waste in 2014, triple what was produced in the 1960s. Communities are under increasing pressure to become more sustainable but often must deal with competing needs and goals. But a city cannot be sustainable if it generates more waste than it can assimilate, say researchers Ning Ai, PhD, and Nancey Green Leigh, PhD, FAICP, authors of Planning for Sustainable Material and Waste Management, a new PAS report from the American Planning Association.
Ai and Leigh advise planners to look beyond waste disposal to examine the entire lifecycle of waste materials and products, and to focus on material-centered systems and closed-loop programs to help communities understand how economic, environmental, and social implications are interconnected.
Drawing from various studies and practices across the United States and beyond, they present six key strategies for creating a sustainable material and waste management program.
APA members have free access to Planning for Sustainable Material and Waste Management and the entire digital Planning Advisory Service (PAS) report library.
For more information, read the news release.