A holistic framework for transforming urban cities into ‘zero waste cities’
Authors: Zaman, Atiq U.; Steffen, Lehmann
Our consumption-driven society produces an enormous volume of waste every day. Over-crowded cities do not have a good quality of urban life. Together with the numerous problems that exist in these cities, they have resources that are plundered unsustainably and an ever-increasing generation of waste. This immensely high volume of waste is leading to overflowing landfills, the destruction of natural habitat and loss of biodiversity. Continuous depletion of finite natural resources by urban populations is leading to uncertainty about the food and water supply, energy costs, housing affordability and industrial productivity.
This paper outlines the concept of ‘zero waste’ and translates the zero waste idea into the city scale. Zero waste is a holistic approach, which means designing and managing products and processes systematically to avoid and eliminate the waste of materials and resources. Eventually, it conserves and recovers all resources from waste streams. Hence, in a zero waste city (ZWC), unnecessary or avoidable waste is not produced and the end-of-life product is used as a resource, a holistic zero waste city framework is proposed in this paper based on six key design principles to transform current cities into zero waste cities.
In addition the paper presents an assessment tool called zero waste index (ZWI) to evaluate the zero waste city performances. Zero waste index would assist to measure the efficiency of waste management systems in different cities in regards to waste avoidance, resource recovery and restoration of natural resources. Hence, zero waste index would be a helpful tool to improve current waste management systems towards a zero waste management systems.