What is Zero Waste?
Editor’s note: The Grass Roots Recycling Network was one of the pioneers in the Zero Waste philosophy. This description is adapted from their website.
Zero Waste is a philosophy and a design principle for the 21st Century that seeks to redesign the way resources and materials flow through society. The goal is to promote clean production, prevent pollution, and create communities in which all products are designed to be cycled safely back into the economy or environment.
Zero Waste requires dual responsibility. First, the community has to maximize reuse, repair, recycling and composting and secondly, industry has to redesign the objects the community cannot reuse, repair, recycle or compost. And, of course, both industry and the community need to reduce wasteful practices like over-packaging and over-consumption.
- redesigns the current, one-way industrial system into a circular system modeled on Nature's successful strategies
- challenges badly designed business systems that "use too many resources to make too few people more productive"
- addresses, through job creation and civic participation, increasing wastage of human resources and erosion of democracy
- helps communities achieve a local economy that operates efficiently, sustains good jobs, and provides a measure of self-sufficiency
- aims to eliminate rather than manage waste
As you can see on our website (and beyond!), the concept of zero waste is being adopted by local governments, by businesses and by individuals. It’s an idea that resonates with many of us. A quick internet search on “Zero Waste” shows 609,000 items — and that’s just the pages from Canada.
We’ll continue to examine the concept more closely and see how we might apply it to our lives, our businesses, our communities and to our planet.
(Source: February 2007 WasteWatch)
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