As the season of steaming garbage piles sets in, New York’s Center for Architecture is urging designers to implement a more circular approach to waste, from Fast Company
As more than 25,000 architects convene in New York City this week for the annual AIA Conference and Expo—the largest architecture convention in the U.S., hosted by a different region each year—the city’s local AIA New York chapter (AIANY) and its Center for Architecture has chosen to place a somewhat unconventional design topic right under their noses: trash.
New York City carts away 13,000 tons of it each day from homes and public buildings, making waste management a billion-dollar industry each year. More than 80% of that trash ends up in the landfill, well over a third of which is compostable organic waste. With its current exhibition, Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City (through Sept. 1), AIANY hopes to light a fire under architects by calling out those dismal diversion rates as a design problem—one to be dealt with, most crucially, at the individual building scale, where architects hold the most agency to bring about direct, critical improvements before waste even makes it to the street and to the sorting facilities.