What is Zero Waste
“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.”
2018, Zero Waste International Alliance, www.zwia.org
This internationally accepted, peer-reviewed definition is important as others try to define it merely as no waste to landfill. Zero Waste is about reducing the throughput of materials to live more lightly on the land.
Why Zero Waste
- Waste is a symptom of our overconsumption and wasteful use of resources.
- Other symptoms include climate change, habitat loss and degradation, pollution (air, water, land), soil nutrient loss, species overexploitation and extinctions, ocean acidification, human health risks, ecosystem collapse, inequity and injustices.
- Zero Waste saves resources and habitat, provides jobs and reduces toxic chemicals and pollution including greenhouse gases. Zero Waste can also save money, space and time.
- Want to better understand the link between consumption and environmental justice -see this atlas
- The Zero Waste philosophy fits well with the Doughnut Economics model of ensuring enough resources for people to thrive but not so much that we harm the planet. See this video for a description of a city level plan.