Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Katelyn Courdingly

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Davidson Honors College

Abstract

Missoula’s waste stream is increasingly becoming a problem. Republic services – the primary landfill for the city – estimates that it will reach maximum capacity in just 62 years if current trends continue (Kidston 2018). This, and other concerns regarding the environmental impacts of a linear extraction-based economy, underscore the importance of Missoula’s efforts to reduce waste by 90% by 2050. Our research indicates several steps that may be taken to significantly reduce Missoula’s contribution to landfills, increase diversion to recycling and composting facilities, and encourage a local transition away from a linear economy.

We propose the following policies that demand minimal infrastructure: 1.) A tax on paper and plastic bags to encourage consumers to consider the real cost of the waste, improve equity, and reduce the amount of trash and paper bags sent to the landfill, 2.) Communication between the city and businesses on practices to reduce waste and facilitate business transition to low-waste alternatives, and 3.) Incentivization of bulk food shopping in grocery stores around Missoula to reduce waste associated with individual packaging. For long term planning, we propose the following solutions that require a change in infrastructure: 4.) Implementation of a bag-based Pay-As-You-Throw trash collection system that charges users based on the number of bags disposed of to incentivize and reward waste reduction, improve equity, and encourage consumers to consider the real cost of waste, 5.) Increase access and develop financial incentives for composting and recycling to encourage landfill diversion.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 17th, 3:00 PM Apr 17th, 4:00 PM

The Quest for Zero Waste

UC South Ballroom

Missoula’s waste stream is increasingly becoming a problem. Republic services – the primary landfill for the city – estimates that it will reach maximum capacity in just 62 years if current trends continue (Kidston 2018). This, and other concerns regarding the environmental impacts of a linear extraction-based economy, underscore the importance of Missoula’s efforts to reduce waste by 90% by 2050. Our research indicates several steps that may be taken to significantly reduce Missoula’s contribution to landfills, increase diversion to recycling and composting facilities, and encourage a local transition away from a linear economy.

We propose the following policies that demand minimal infrastructure: 1.) A tax on paper and plastic bags to encourage consumers to consider the real cost of the waste, improve equity, and reduce the amount of trash and paper bags sent to the landfill, 2.) Communication between the city and businesses on practices to reduce waste and facilitate business transition to low-waste alternatives, and 3.) Incentivization of bulk food shopping in grocery stores around Missoula to reduce waste associated with individual packaging. For long term planning, we propose the following solutions that require a change in infrastructure: 4.) Implementation of a bag-based Pay-As-You-Throw trash collection system that charges users based on the number of bags disposed of to incentivize and reward waste reduction, improve equity, and encourage consumers to consider the real cost of waste, 5.) Increase access and develop financial incentives for composting and recycling to encourage landfill diversion.