Cities need to update the way they deal with their waste in order to derive its benefits, according to William Patrick Lucey, an aquatic ecologist and special adviser to the British Columbia government.
"Small pockets of sustainability at the neighborhood level are leading the way. They are modeled, not after Rome, but after nature. Mimicking nature, proponents of IRM believe, can prove sustainable, and profitable. "It's time to shift from cost-based infrastructure," Lucey says, "to revenue-based infrastructure."
In a healthy natural ecosystem, every resource gets recycled in perpetuity, through every level of organism in the food chain, from the bottom to the top and back again. A sustainable city would function the same way, and by capitalizing on the byproducts of urban living in a closed-loop system, the infrastructure of such a city would generate revenue rather than expense. It could even turn a profit."