In a complete overhaul of the city’s waste management system, Auckland’s Waste to Resources project has put the city on track to achieve zero waste by 2040.

The Challenge

In 2013, 9.3% of Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions came from waste, with 1.2 million metrics tons sent to landfill in 2011. At the same time, around 65% of curbside collected waste could be recovered, re-used, or recycled. The Auckland Waste to Resources project mitigates these issues and puts the city on track to achieve zero waste status by 2040.

 

The Solution

In efforts to achieve zero waste by 2040, Auckland initiated the Waste to Resources project in 2012, diverting materials from the waste stream and improving resource efficiency throughout the city. As one of the biggest changes in waste management in the Southern Hemisphere, seven regional services were folded into one improved city-wide waste management system. The city aims to have new services rolled out progressively by 2020, such as a network of community-led resource recovery centers, a third bin collection for food waste, and a new inorganic waste service that diverts useful material to community organizations. Waste reduction is being encouraged through right-sizing of refuse bins and pay-as-you-throw pricing, while an innovative community-based approach is using creativity to engage residents in driving locally inspired and owned solutions. This active citizen engagement plays a critical part in helping the Waste to Resources project contribute to the city’s overall goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2040.

 

Environmental Benefits - Domestic curbside waste has dropped from 160 kg per person in 2010 to 152 kg per person in 2015, before city-wide service changes had even been rolled out.

Social Benefits - The 20 community recycling centers opened under the project are expected to provide at least 85 new jobs, with one-quarter of current positions filled by those who were among the long-term unemployed.

Economic Benefits - Under the Waste to Resources project, community groups are repurposing materials into saleable goods, creating a new source of revenue for the city.

Health Benefits - In its efforts to promote waste reduction and diversion, the project encourages healthy eating and community gardening, with one Maori community planting 80,000 sweet potato plants as part of the project.

 

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.