The Zero Waste Design Guidelines address the crucial role that design plays in achieving NYC’s ambitious goal, outlined in OneNYC, to send zero waste to landfills by 2030. The Guidelines were developed through a collaborative process starting in November 2016. More than 100 collaborators—including architects, planners, developers, city officials, waste haulers, recycling experts and building managers —engaged in multidisciplinary workshops at New York’s Center for Architecture. The guidelines team visited more than 40 buildings and held discussions with porters and supers to fully understand waste collection issues across building types.

As a resource to help designers, building operators, and planners, the Guidelines will encourage the collaboration needed to dramatically reduce waste and work toward greater adoption of circular material flows. Treating waste as a resource rather than trash depends on our ability to easily separate and manage our waste. Applying design to improve the city’s current system of material flows will improve sidewalks and buildings as it lessens the environmental and human impacts of the current system in the city and beyond.

The Zero Waste Design Guidelines are made possible with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and were developed in collaboration with the AIA New YorkCommittee on the Environment; Kiss + Cathcart, ArchitectsClosedLoops; and the Foodprint Group.

Download the guidelines at

Zero Waste Design Guidelines Exhibition
June 14 – September 1, 2018
The Center for Architecture will host an exhibition curated by journalist Andrew Blum that will look beyond the guidelines and explore the challenges and opportunities latent during a particular segment of the lifecycle of trash: the brief period between when we release it from our hands and it rolls away on the back of a truck. The exhibition, on view from June 14 to September 1, 2018, will be accompanied by a full-day symposium, evening panels, and k-12 educational programming for local students.
  • Position Statements

  • June 13, 2017
    Testimony Before the NYC Council Committee on Housing and Buildings

    Testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings on Intro 1307-A, a bill to amend the City Charter in relation to the minimum qualifications for Department of Building inspectors.

    January 31, 2017
    Testimony Before the NYC Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

    On 1.31.17, AIANY testified before the NYC Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management in favor of Intro 201, a bill to require recycling of discarded carpet from commercial buildings.

    January 05, 2017
    AIA New York Position Statement: Sustainability and the Environment

    In 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions totaled 6,870 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, a per capita total of 17 metric tons for each resident of the United States.

    January 05, 2017
    AIA New York Position Statement: Housing

    Section 8, created by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1978, provides rental subsidiaries to approximately 4.8 million low-income households nationwide.

    June 22, 2016
    Testimony Before the New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings on a Series of Energy-related Bills

    AIANY testified before the City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings with Urban Green Council. The hearing addressed: Int. No. 1160, Int. No. 1163, Int. No. 1165, and Int. No. 1169, which would update NYC’s Energy Code.

    December 14, 2015
    Testimony Before the City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency and Committee on Environment Protection on OneNYC

    AIANY submitted testimony at the oversight hearing on the resiliency and sustainability sections of the OneNYC plan.

    April 09, 2014
    Council Members, Advocates and Business Leaders Call on Mayor To Make Sustainability & Resiliency High Priorities in Next 100 Days

    A broad coalition of City Council members, business leaders and advocates from transportation, environmental and health organizations called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to make sustainability and climate resiliency high priorities for the next 100 days of his administration and beyond.


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