Waste and the built environment

Our economy is built on the transformation of raw materials into products and services. Until recently the waste produced as part of this process or at the end of this product’s life was seen as an unavoidable part of this process. However, global economic growth is putting rising pressure on depleting resources, leading to a re-examination of how we consume resources and generate waste (and deal with that waste).

In May 2010 RICS commissioned us to produce a ‘think-piece’ on the future of sustainable waste management to provoke discussion and encourage questions about the future of cities in a ‘zero waste economy’. The overall aim of this research was to explore trends and
issues on waste and to tease out possible implications for both the urban form in general as well as the processes involved in the planning, development, and occupation of thebuilt environment. Yesterday the Guardian published this article on our work.

From our analysis, it is clear that for the effective management of sustainable cities, waste disposal and how it is facilitated is crucial. A collaborative approach between the private sector, local authorities, planners and developers will need to be taken to ensure cities and buildings of the future are sustainable and will meet the needs of generations to come.

You can read the full report here. We have done more work on scenarios and trends of sustainable lifestyles and waste which can be perused here on resource efficiency and food down the supply chain and here on understanding future waste arisings and composition.

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