An upcoming exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York will explore waste management strategies that can help the city "achieve its goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030," according to a press release by the center. Curated by journalist Andrew Blum and designed by New York City–based design firm Wkshps, "Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City" opens June 16 and will run through Sept. 1.
The exhibition will aim to explore the questions "How [do] we manage waste in our buildings and neighborhoods?" and "How design can reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills?" In the press release, Blum said, “every single person in New York City touches the waste system every day—more than our schools, our transit system, or even our sidewalks. A close examination of the role of design in how we manage our waste—not only in landfills, but in the places we live and work—is long overdue.”
Nearly 24,000 tons of waste leave New York City every day, according to the release. New Yorkers see and experience this reality on the streets due to garbage trucks, on the sidewalks that are overfilled with trash, and in the polluted air that they breathe. The waste gets transported to landfills in distant states, polluting their soil and air as well. On top of that, "it costs [New York] over a billion dollars every year," noted the same release. "To combat this seemingly intractable problem, in 2014, New York City announced a Zero Waste plan to reduce the amount of discards sent to landfills by 90 percent by 2030."
"Desigining Waste" seeks design strategies targeting the brief time period between when garbage is disposed and when it gets loaded on a truck. "This is when waste is closest to us," noted the press release. "When it is sorted and stored in apartments, trash rooms, basement corridors, loading bays, and sidewalks. And this is where architects, designers, and building professionals have agency to transform the waste system." Created based on Zero Waste Design Guidelines—a collaboration between Center for Architecture and the AIA New York Committee on the Environment; Brooklyn, N.Y.–based firms Kiss + Cathcart, Architects and Foodprint Group; and New York City infrastructure planning and development firm ClosedLoops—the show will highlight often overlooked spaces within buildings where waste is disposed and managed.
An interactive "waste calculator" will provide visitors with a chance to estimate type and dimensions of a space needed for waste management according to a building's type and size. Additionally, infographics will feature typologies of waste management and its best practices. Visitors should also expect to find balers, bins, and tilt trucks on display.
In conjunction with the exhibition, AIA New York will launch its 2018 Zero Waste Challenge, during which the chapter will closely monitor its waste streams and reduce waste generation.