As the world around us evolves due to changing economies, governments, natural resources, and the environment, municipalities may face strains on assets and resources. Cities and towns are proactively building strategies to limit the impact of acute shock and chronic stress that threaten them or weaken their foundation on a day-to-day or cyclical basis. Sudden, sharp events like disease outbreaks, national and international political and economic disruptions, terrorist accounts, and extreme weather and natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods are hard to deal with without proper pre-planning and disaster recovery plans in place. Stresses like inefficient public transportation systems; high unemployment; endemic violence; and power, food, and water shortages or interruptions also pose challenges for municipalities.
We have all been there at some point…stuck in our car behind a garbage truck as it makes frequent stops to collect waste and recycling. We see and smell the dark plumes of exhaust released from these loud, diesel-powered trucks. We might even wonder if there is a more environmentally friendly way to collect garbage.
Each year city leaders take on the task of balancing budgets while keeping a close eye on core city services. If there’s a deficit, one line item that might face reduced support is recycling-related efforts and programs. While they do require budget dollars to maintain, these recycling efforts also promise to save a city money (and environmental impact) in the end.
Recycling costs vary from one city to the next depending upon proximity to landfills, labor cost, real estate prices, and method of recycling. Despite varying financial benefits, there are many positive reasons both economically and environmentally to recycle.
When it comes to recyclable materials - aluminum, glass, plastic, and paper - some recycle more easily than others and their life spans are extraordinarily long. In all cases, recycling of these materials results in energy and natural resource savings.
The world is an ever evolving ecosystem. In some instances, change advances cities and towns, economies, governments, lives, natural resources, and the environment, while occasionally change drains these stakeholders, assets, and resources. Around the globe, municipalities are exploring strategies for developing greater capacities for urban resilience to future impacts – climate change, high unemployment, energy scarcity, political and economic disruption, overtaxed public services & resources, etc.
Resilient Cities are those that aggressively and proactively plan and design strategies that will help them develop the necessary capacity to meet tomorrow’s challenges, including shocks and stresses to their infrastructure systems. Cities are looking at ways to become more self-sufficient and energy efficient. Central to effective urban planning is the ability to facilitate the development of greater capacity for future proofing.