Sustainable Missoula: Making the case for Zero Waste by 2050

By Bradley Layton, a licensed professional engineer, entrepreneur and affiliated faculty member at the University of Montana.
Originally published in Missoula Current, July 27, 2018.

The Treasure State has a long history of bringing its rare and precious buried materials from the Earth’s bowels to its skin to share with global industries. Our timber industry has also blessed the world with raw materials for homes, furniture, paper goods and fuel.

Once these precious metals such as gold, copper, lead, zinc and silver become machines and infrastructure, our woody biomass has been converted into napkins, and our coal, oil and gas have become plastics, lubricants and fuels, where do they go?

As we are well aware, the combusted carbon fuels find their way to the air and ocean, along with an alarming amount of plastic. But what of your used tree-sourced tissue? Your gold-mined cellphone? Your oil-originated grocery bag?

As Montana’s economy continues to grow and our technologies continue to evolve, so do the number of challenges surrounding the fate of our waste. But today, as Missoula poises for a thoughtful dive into a citywide plan to reduce what goes into our local landfill by 90 percent by 2050, opportunities abound. Missoula has the brains, the will and the commitment to make great progress during the next 32 years to meet the goal…..Read the entire article at

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