Are the guidelines for existing buildings as well as new buildings?
Yes, the guidelines are applicable to existing buildings too. The extent the best practice strategies can be implemented will depend on the characteristics of the existing building, but many of the strategies will be applicable.

Are the guidelines for New York City buildings only?
While the guidelines were developed for NYC, many of the strategies will be applicable to other cities worldwide.

Do the guidelines address the piles of trash bags on NYC sidewalks?
Yes, for the city to get to zero waste we need to consider how waste is managed in our buildings and on our streets. These things are interconnected and the guidelines consider the changes that need to be made at city, neighborhood and building scales in order to reach zero waste.

Are there any other guidelines like this for other cities?
We couldn’t find comprehensive design guidelines for designing buildings and cities to help reduce and divert waste. There are guidelines for designing waste storage, for example the Recycling and Refuse Storage Requirements of the  Borough of Islington in London, UK, or the Stop Waste Space Guidelines for Recycling, Organics and Refuse Services for Alameda County, California.

What is the waste calculator based on?
We were inspired by the simple calculator on the Metro Vancouver website, which lets an apartment building owner see how many bins for refuse and recycling they’ll need for their building. Architects need to know what they are designing for, and most rules of thumb just give a volume for total waste generated. The calculator allows a development team to see how the volume of recycling waste streams will change if they increase capture rates for different waste streams, if they use volume reduction equipment and if they institute waste reduction initiatives. It is new and untested though, so we welcome all feedback from users!

Are there going to be any requirements for architects and developers to apply these guidelines to their buildings?
Currently the guidelines are voluntary, but we are looking for further funding to capitalize on the momentum built during the guideline development process. We’d like to work with city agencies and private stakeholders as detailed in the Policy, Research and Implementation Recommendations chapter.