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Waste Management Practices in New York City, Hong Kong and Beijing

Cohen, Steven Alan; Martinez, Hayley; Schroder, Alix

Solid waste management is a challenge for large urban areas around the world. Removing garbage from residential, institutional and commercial locations in cities is a major logistical and operational task. Waste management is usually a function of local government, and is often a city’s largest budget item. Solid waste generation rates are rising fast, particularly in cities experiencing increasing population rates and higher economic activity, putting pressure on municipal governments to deal with rising costs and environmental impacts.

This case study examines waste management practices in three cities: New York City, Hong Kong and Beijing. We begin by assessing New York City to provide an overview of waste management practices in a large, complex U.S. city. We then focus on Hong Kong, and finally on Beijing, to provide detail on the waste management practices of two major Chinese cities and learn how they are dealing with the growing volume of waste generated by these large cities. In each of the three cases we describe the history of waste management in that locale, the status of waste management today, and discuss the challenges faced in each location. Finally, we compare the practices in these cities, and detail the technical, managerial and political issues that define the waste management system in each place.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth Institute
Published Here
December 10, 2019