What is Zero Waste?
What is Zero Waste?
“Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.”
We accept the peer reviewed definition from the Zero Waste International Alliance:
“The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
Why does Zero Waste matter?
Our current destructive linear economy is dependent on endless growth, but you cannot have endless growth on a finite planet.
“Zero Waste redesigns our systems and resource use – from product design to disposal.
- prevent resource depletion
- conserve energy
- mitigate climate change
- reduce water usage
- prevent toxins creation
- stop ecosystem destruction.
We then capture our discards and use them, instead of virgin natural resources, to make new products, creating far less pollution and feeding the local economy. In practice, it is a total commitment to the following:
The issue of waste is one of the most visible platforms from which to address the root causes of many of the world’s social and environmental challenges.”
– Eco-Cycle Community Road Map
The Zero Waste Hierarchy
The hierarchy describes a progression of policies and strategies to support the Zero Waste system. It is arranged from highest and best to lowest use of materials. The hierarchy is designed to be applicable to all audiences, from policy-makers to industry and the individual.
It aims to:
- provide more depth to the internationally recognized 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle);
- encourage policy, activity and investment at the top of the hierarchy;
- provide a guide for those who wish to develop systems or products that move us closer to Zero Waste.
A resource opportunity
Zero Waste is one of the good news stories of our time. Instead of a waste problem, we have a resource opportunity. Every day we get closer to or further from a waste-free future. We can choose to use our limited resources sustainably and reduce our climate impact. We can build resilient communities and invest in the circular economy. Or, we can continue to throw away our “waste” and with it our opportunities for positive change.
“If you’re not for Zero Waste, how much waste are you for?”
What is the Circular Economy?