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How Can We Provoke "Peak Waste"?

Because city residents generate four times as much trash as rural residents, the rapid growth of the world's cities is leading to the rapid growth of the world's garbage. A new study examines future trash troubles and potential solutions.
November 8, 2013, 10am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Global waste has bulged 10-fold in the last century," notes Ben Schiller. "And by 2025, it's set to double from where it is today, according to a study in the journal Nature. The chief reason: newly rich cities of the developing world."

"'As a country becomes richer, the composition of its waste changes. With more money comes more packaging, imports, electronic waste, and broken toys and appliances,' says the article by Daniel Hoornweg, Perinaz Bhada-Tata and Chris Kennedy. In turn, that leads to environmental problems, like toxic leakages from landfills, and plastic clogging oceans and rivers."

How can we slow, and eventually stop, the growth of the world's waste? "They recommend the rest of the world take a cue from San Francisco's book (it has a zero-waste policy), and introduce disposal fees that put a price on waste generation," explains Schiller. "'Increased education, equality, and targeted economic development' could cut population growth, limiting waste naturally, they add."

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Published on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 in Fast Company Co.Exist
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