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Analyzing Scenarios to Achieve Zero Waste and Carbon Reductions

The City of San José, California is developing a Zero Waste Element (ZWE) to enhance its existing Climate Smart San José plan. The ZWE will account for the City’s net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the solid waste sector, assess and reevaluate the prioritization of the City’s zero waste strategies, and address related critical issues regarding recycling markets, changing waste regulations, domestic reuse potential, local infrastructure related to solid waste, and landfill capacity.

This paper and presentation will discuss the approach used by the City of San José and its consultants to analyze the existing solid waste stream (one that is already ahead of the curve when it comes to material recovery and waste reduction) and identify a path towards a true zero-waste city. In order to quantify GHG emissions from the City’s baseline management waste scenario, material flow models were created for each of the waste and recovery streams. These models numerically represent the flow of material from collection to final destination, including every stop in between. When paired with the City’s existing visual material flow graphics and data from previous characterization studies, the flow models both paint a clear picture of the progress San José has made in regard to Zero Waste goals and identify areas to implement strategies to maintain forward momentum in the waste-reduction realm.

Alternative management scenarios were analyzed and compared for their GHG reduction benefits in order for the City to meet both Zero Waste and GHG emission reduction goals. This comparative analysis assesses which management approach addresses both goals most efficiently.

View the Powerpoint Presentation (.pptx) HERE


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