July 31, 2015
A Thought Leader Series Piece
By John Trujillo
Note: John Trujillo is the director of Public Works at the City of Phoenix and heads the City's Reimagine Phoenix initiative. In January 2014, the Phoenix City Council approved funding for $2 million to initiate the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network, which is managed and operated by the Sustainability Solutions Services, a program within the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives at ASU.
The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by almost another billion by 2025 – reaching 9.6 billion by 2050. A report by McKinsey & Company states that three billion people from developing countries will rise into the middle class by 2030. This population growth will create an unprecedented demand for our planet’s already limited resources, thereby increasing commodity prices and the cost of future manufacturing and reducing our natural resources.
Currently, we work in a linear economy society that extracts resources to make products for consumers to use. The vast majority of these products are then disposed of in landfills where we manage and maintain environmental controls for decades. The City of Phoenix wants to change that concept by creating a circular economy in which we divert waste from landfills and keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them while in use and then recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end.