Recover usable resources from waste at the highest value.
The approaches described in this section improve can improve business cases for infrastructure projects by reducing operating costs or in some cases generating revenue from infrastructure projects, while reducing waste and enabling new community benefits.
Remember the guiding principles of the regenerative infrastructure approach. Almost all waste has the potential to create value, whether recycled into a new material, processed to extract nutrients, or converted to a source of energy. Waste can be recycled (e.g. metal cans back into cans), down-cycled (e.g. glass used as road base) or up-cycled (e.g. kitchen waste digested to biomethane).
The value gained from each of these processes should be analyzed to determine which is most appropriate, and should expand beyond monetary value. There may be other needs of the community that should factor in to how resources are used.
Prevent, then reduce, reuse and recycle waste. Then recover waste resources for the benefit of the community that produced them, as close as possible to the source to avoid unnecessary transportation costs and emissions.
Options for harnessing value from waste increase when system boundaries can be viewed more broadly. Boundaries include those between natural and human-made systems, private and public assets, and internal organizational divisions. Understanding how one system integrates with others is key to a regenerative infrastructure approach.
The business case of a potential infrastructure project can become more favourable when the potential to generate revenue is analysed in addition to the capital and operating cost of the project. The entire lifecycle of the infrastructure project should be analysed in terms of economic, environmental, and social impact.
Remember these Guiding Principles:
» Follow the pollution prevention hierarchy
» View every waste as a potential resource
» Use each resource more than once
» Use each resource for its highest value
» Integrate system boundaries
» Consider the entire system lifecycle