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Zero Waste City

  1. Steffen Lehmann

Published Online: 19 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471238961.zerolehm.a01

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

How to Cite

Lehmann, S. 2012. Zero Waste City. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1–23.

Author Information

  1. University of South Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 OCT 2012


This article explores the notion of the Zero Waste City, which takes the concept of sustainable cities further to optimize all urban material flows toward 100% resource recovery and reuse of building components and materials. The construction sector uses a huge amount of raw materials and has high inefficiencies, eg, material and energy inefficiencies. Implementing material efficiency in the construction sector requires a change in how materials are approached throughout the supply chain. What is required is transformative change at a systemic level toward sustainable consumption, shifting people from being merely consumers to responsible citizens. Therefore, this article argues that influencing values and behavior is an important, but often neglected, part of a low carbon urban future. This includes starting a transition phase of reduced, decoupled consumption, eg, using products and buildings for longer, producing more durable products that take advantage of prefabrication, modularity, adaptability, and durability. Cities need to be reengineered with material flows in mind to become more sustainable and resilient.


  • Zero waste city;
  • sustainable urban development;
  • material flow;
  • resource recovery;
  • transition strategies;
  • consumption;
  • waste avoidance