- The city of Washington, DC has released a draft of its updated sustainability plan, Sustainable DC 2.0, containing several waste-centric goals. The plan furthers the waste goals from the last Sustainable DC plan, and aims to realize real-world benefits for individuals, neighborhoods and the city as a whole.
- The three goals are:
- Goal 1: Reduce the volume of waste generated per capita in the District. Target 1: By 2032, reduce per capita waste generation by 15%.
- Goal 2: Facilitate local reuse and recovery of materials to capture their economic and social value. Target 2: By 2032, reuse 20% of all waste produced in the District.
- Goal 3: Achieve "zero waste" citywide. Target 3: By 2032, achieve 80% waste diversion citywide.
- The public has until September 30 to comment on the draft.
The new main goals are nearly the same as those in the previous plan, with the major change being a swap of the old goal to "increase the citywide recycling rate" for "achieve zero waste citywide." The targets have undergone more change than the main goals. Perhaps the most significant is that the previous version, which said "by 2032, send zero solid waste to landfills per year," has been altered in version 2.0 to leave the "zero waste" target date ambiguous. The new version does aim to achieve 80% waste diversion by 2032.
The numerous sub-goals have undergone more drastic changes. Some of the previous ones already have been achieved, such as instating a polystyrene foam container ban. A new sub-goal is to expand the foam ban to additional points-of-sale — such as big box stores and supermarkets — and to increase the fee on disposable bags, which was implemented in 2010.
Other notable sub-goals that have carried over include studying the potential for "an equitably priced collection billing structure" (i.e. pay-as-you-throw), working with other jurisdictions for a regional approach to plastic waste, a 50% reuse or recycling target for C&D material, and multiple steps to help develop "a locally based, circular economy."
Washington, DC has been proactive in trying to boost recycling rates and reduce waste in a variety of ways. Last fall, the city added a number of items to the curbside recycling program, including pizza boxes and paper and plastic food service items. This summer the city expanded its "Designed to Recycle" initiative, in which some recycling trucks are wrapped with brightly colored art, to bring attention to recycling and reduce waste.
Last year, DC Department of Public Works Director Christopher Shorter discussed with Waste Dive elements of the city's progress toward "zero waste," including expanding the city's organics program, which is another element of the Sustainable DC 2.0 plan. That could eventually include curbside service and construction of a new local processing facility. Although the plan includes steps to make recycling and waste diversion more economical, Shorter reiterated that the city would continue to "zero waste" regardless of economics because of the city's desire to boost sustainability and "be as green and as healthy as possible."