Installation of pneumatic inlets shared between buildings in new development in Kivistö, Finland. Incorporate best practice strategies in new developments.  

Increase the Use of the Guidelines by Designers

City Agencies to Include ZWDG in New Developments

City agencies have standards for development of new buildings. Incorporating ZWDG could include:

  • Requiring that consultants use ZWDG in new developments
  • Developing subpackages in collaboration with agencies, such as “ZWDG for affordable housing” or working with SCA to develop design guidelines for schools within their Green Schools Guide
  • Working with Enterprise to include further credits for waste management in their Green Communities Criteria for affordable housing and with the New York City Housing and Preservation department to include in its overlay of these criteria

City Agencies to Look at Retrofitting Existing Public Buildings

NYCHA and DOE are working with DSNY to improve waste management in their existing buildings. Applying design strategies from the guidelines to public buildings could complement other strategies being considered. This could include:

  • Working with the DOE to analyze the different types of schools and typologies of waste management, developing best practices for each in collaboration with teaching and custodial staff
  • Teaming up with NYCHA and other agencies in a similar manner

Incentives for Developers to Include Waste Reduction Measures

Incentives for developers to include measures that help the city are common in other agencies. For example, DEP awards grants for innovative stormwater management practices. DSNY could give out similar grants for equipment that helps achieve zero waste goals.

  • Incentive grants for technical pilots such as anaerobic digestion systems
  • Incentive grants for neighborhood-scale consolidation strategies, such as pneumatics which improve quality of public spaces and reducing vehicle hours traveled

Education for Architects and Developers

  • Hold Lunch and Learn presentations in the offices of individual architects, urban planners and developers (with AIA and GBCI continuing education credits given)
  • Run training sessions run through AIA or Urban Green (analogous to energy code trainings)

Technical Assistance Grants

NYSERDA gives technical assistance grants to design teams for assistance in energy reduction methods. The money goes to an approved technical assistance provider. Similar grants, at a smaller scale could be given for waste management. Once a developer or owner has set up one successful system it would be easy for them to implement throughout their portfolio.

  • Technical assistance grant to help design waste management system in a new building and troubleshoot for building staff during first year of operation

Design Competitions

Engaging and inspiring the design community through design competitions will create more design solutions and more visibility and dialogue around the issues. As was done in the Reinvent Payphones NYC design competition, the public can become engaged by voting for the best solution and commenting on designs. Such competitions could include:

  • Creating a shared collection container for a public street
  • Devising an intuitive and affordable recycling station that could become the standard for small NYC food businesses such as quick service restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops

Increase the Use of the Guidelines by Building Management, Resident Groups and Private Businesses

Ambassador Program for Existing Buildings

  • A citywide program for private residential buildings could allow property managers and residents to work together towards waste reduction and diversion goals. See Toronto 3Rs case study.

Further Challenges Like the MOS Zero Waste Challenge for Commercial Businesses

  • Competitions like the Mayor’s Towering Challenge in Toronto to “motivate building Property Managers, Superintendents, Owners, Boards, 3Rs Ambassadors and residents to improve waste diversion in apartments, condominiums and cooperatives.”

Building Management Technical Assistance, Training, Education and Incentives

  • Work with cooperatives, management companies and unions on technical assistance, education and training programs, possibly with incentives.
  • Set up a help line for building staff, like the one for LL84 benchmarking.
  • Create a mentorship program for building superintendents to share knowledge and support colleagues in neighboring buildings.

Increase the Use of the Guidelines in Urban Spaces and by Community Groups

Community-Based Neighborhood Projects

Many strategies for collection include neighborhood-scale solutions.

  • Work with local groups, from block associations to neighbor-hood associations and community boards can help get local input and apply best practices to the specific conditions.
  • Hold neighborhood-based contests, such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Greenest Block in the borough, could be started for the block trying hardest to get to zero waste
  • Extend the concept of DSNY’s Adopt-a-Basket program—for litter bin waste—to shared drop-offs, which a local business or BID could sponsor.

Microhauler collection of organic waste by BKRot

Pilot Opportunities

  • Community waste hubs with microhauler distribution could be created for drop-off of all streams, or less frequent streams like e-waste and textiles in parks or other public property (see Punt Verd case study.)
  • BIDs could expand their neighborhood improvement role by piloting consolidated collection points or hubs for waste and recycling. This would decrease truck traffic and reclaim sidewalk space currently given over to litter bins and bags of waste from private businesses and street vendors.
  • EDC is interested in embodying concepts from the circular economy in their urban innovation labs. Working with EDC on a pilot building could incorporate the best practice strategies and data collection to create and showcase a zero waste building.
  • Schools are looking for better ways to store and stage waste for collection. DSNY, DOE and DOT could collaborate to test submerged containers as a way to improve conditions.
  • The multi-stakeholder process ClosedLoops has initiated, to consolidate waste at a district scale with pneumatic collection hubs under the High Line, could be developed in phases as a pilot. (See High Line Corridor case study.)
  • A new housing project with collection of all daily waste streams at the ground floor (see Clichy-Batignolles case study) would allow testing of a simple solution to co-locate collection of all streams, including organics. It would also provide a opportunity to research the relationship between convenience, contamination and co-location with an affordable low maintenance solution. (A code waiver would be required.)

Consolidated collection points for waste streams

Bags from street litter bin stacked at curb

Application to Other Cities

Developing Within a Resilient City Framework

  • Working with a group such as 100RC or C40 would allow findings to be applied to other cities. The strategies from the Zero Waste Design Guidelines could be tied into a larger circular economy framework and include evaluation of the associated resilience benefits.

Community waste hub, see Punt Verd case study

Impact Bioenergy micro anaerobic digester pilot, Seattle


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