MOST PEOPLE ARE FAMILIAR with the idea that we need to “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to protect our environment. Over the last few decades, waste management programs have made good progress in diverting solid waste from landfills through recycling and composting. But success has been lacking in reducing the amount of waste that is created in the first place, and in re-using materials (like bottles and packaging) before recycling.

This study aims to address the core problem: a culture of consumption and an economic system that is wasteful and that contributes to climate change. It looks at the possibilities for reducing both solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining a high quality of life from the products and services we use.