The first Zero Waste Design Guidelines were developed in 2017 to help New York City architects, developers and policy makers address the crucial role that the design of our buildings and city play in achieving circular material loops. The impact of applying the Guidelines goes beyond reducing waste, to improvement of public space, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and trucks on city streets, and more sustainable, just and resilient cities.

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The Center for Zero Waste Design was created in April 2019 to share knowledge on Zero Waste Design, adapt the strategies within the Guidelines to the context of other cities, expand the database of case studies, and develop research and policy tools for designing cities and buildings for zero waste. The Center consults with design teams, community organizations and municipalities to integrate best practices for zero waste into programming and design of buildings and the public realm. 

Clare is an architect and systems thinker with experience designing buildings to Passive House, LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge and AIA COTE Top Ten standards. She has over 20 years of architectural experience, most recently at Kiss + Cathcart, Architects where she helped develop their philosophy of “productive” architecture. Clare led the development of the Zero Waste Design Guidelines through a multidisciplinary and collaborative process.

As a certified biomimicry professional, she finds inspiration from natural systems that she applies to the built environment. Clare has also founded a consultancy – ThinkWoven – to develop strategies to weave urban systems into ecosystems. Clare is Co-chair of the AIANY’s Committee on the Environment; on the board of BiomimicryNYC and Sustainability Coordinator for her local food cooperative.


Juliette Spertus trained as an architect and is a consultant on waste systems. She organized the 2010 exhibit Fast Trash: Roosevelt Island’s Pneumatic Tubes and the Future of Cities, which investigates the planned community’s system of trash collection. She is also co-founder of ClosedLoops—a planning firm developed with planning and policy researcher Benjamin Miller—to develop innovative waste and freight infrastructure projects. ClosedLoops co-authored New York City’s Zero Waste Design Guidelines with architect and project lead, Clare Miflin of ThinkWoven, and Christina Grace of Foodprint Group.


Benjamin Miller is the senior research associate for Freight Programs at the University Transportation Research Center, Region II. A former director of policy planning for the New York City Department of Sanitation (where he was project manager and principal author of the City’s first Solid Waste Management Plan), he is the author of Fat of the Land: Garbage in New York, the Last 200 Years and numerous reports and articles on environmental policy issues.


Christina Grace is a leader in sustainable food systems planning and zero waste. She is CEO of Foodprint Group, a services business that helps food, hospitality and corporate office teams design for zero waste through better purchasing, recycling infrastructure and integrated training. She is co-author of the NYC Zero Waste Design Guidelines, and an advocate for sustainable food and waste policies. She has 15+ years experience as a food systems planner working from farm to compost. She is a trained cook based in Brooklyn where she’s raising two kids and a startup.