Our North America office has seen huge growth in the eighteen months since it opened its doors, delivering high-level, influential projects across the US and Canada – and expanding by 200%, with further recruitment planned to accommodate the growing portfolio of work.

North American municipalities and businesses are beginning to prioritize zero-waste as a means of tacking climate change and addressing environmental injustice. We have been working across a broad range of areas and geographies to support them though this process; a recent example includes the City of Raleigh, who commissioned us to produce a design manual that outlines waste protocols and waste infrastructure recommendations in the pursuit of zero-waste.

The most recent contribution to our North America portfolio is a report, Better Together, which found that implementing a deposit return system (DRS) in the Canadian province of Ontario could raise the recycling rate by 9%, as well as generating savings of $12 million (CAD). The team has also carried out economic assessments of deposit return systems for other regions across North America, including New York State. The reports quantified the economic value of regional DRS by estimating the employment, wage and gross value add (GVA) of each program to their respective regions.

Our North America team is spearheading concepts of extending producer responsibility, both for packaging and paper products and beverages, helping to drive the circular economy both in packaging design and collection systems.  We have also been working closely with non-profits working to reduce plastic waste in New York and New Jersey, facilitating knowledge transfer and developing online tools that help local government develop legislation to ban single use plastics, targeting plastic bags, straws, balloons, and polystyrene in particular.

In addition to concerns around plastics and packaging, we have also been actively working with municipalities to improve their waste management operations. In a unique project, we analysed the trends associated with illegal dumping of waste in Sacramento, CA, identifying the root causes of the problem and supplying the regional Solid Waste Authority with a range of solutions to tackle the problem in the county.

Sarah Edwards, the CEO of our North America operations, said:

“The last eighteen months has been incredibly exciting for us: our experience of waste management has allowed us to challenge some of the norms through robust economic and environmental assessment, as well as challenging ideas on how services should be delivered.

“The US is one of the most influential economies in the world, and we are lucky to be working with progressive clients that recognise their role in putting in place policies and systems that will encourage other jurisdictions to follow, whether they be other municipalities, states or nations. Forward-thinking businesses and administrations are looking to up their game, and we are here to support them in developing a forward-thinking outlook that demonstrates true leadership.”

Picture courtesy of JJBers, Flickr, CC By 2.0.