Zero-waste cities

Global cities consume and discard an incredible amount of materials, contributing to climate change and destroying environments. This four-part series explores strategies for creating a circular economy, remediating old landfills, eliminating plastic pollution, and dealing with waste in a more equitable way

June 2023

The circular economy

By 2050, global cities could produce 3.88 billion tonnes of waste every single year — unless we do something about it. Can the circular economy save us from drowning in our own wastefulness?
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The modern world has left a legacy of polluted land and wasted materials, but the science of remediation is developing rapidly, and helping to unlock hidden value. Could yesterday’s trash be tomorrow’s treasure?
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Humankind’s most useful invention has become its biggest problem, and one that just won’t go away. What can we do about plastic?
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Waste has always had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities, but social and environmental goals don’t always align neatly. How can we clean up past mistakes, and create a fairer future?
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Also available as a PDF: Download the whole series





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