#12 GET SERIOUS ABOUT ZERO WASTE
Rethink how we handle our garbage.

Waste causes great loss of value and resources. Humans are the only species that create waste.

Get serious about zero waste. We need to rethink how we handle our waste in order to utilize untapped resources and minimize their impact on the receiving environment.

We can do this by saying no to plastic, avoid excessive packaging and exploring cradle to cradle opportunities.

Currently we have a growing population faced with limited resources from the environment. We understand that our society and industrial systems must begin to mimic nature and move from being primarily linear to being cyclical. Each material must be used as efficiently as possible and must be chosen so that it may either return safely to a cycle within the environment or remain viable in the industrial cycle.

Zero Waste suggests that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated. Instead, waste should be thought of as a "residual product" or simply a "potential resource" to counter our basic acceptance of waste as a normal course of events. Opportunities such as reduced costs, increased profits, and reduced environmental impacts are found when returning these "residual products" as food to either natural or industrial systems. This may involve redesigning both products and processes in order to eliminate hazardous properties that make them unusable and unmanageable in quantities that overburden both industry and the environment.

A Zero Waste strategy leads us back to look for inefficiencies in the use of materials, energy, and human resources. To achieve a sustainable future, extreme efficiency in the use of all resources will be required in order to meet the needs of all of the earth's inhabitants. A Zero Waste strategy supports all three of the generally accepted goals of sustainability - economic well-being, environmental protection, and social well-being.

Economic well-being is improved by enabling organizations to identify inefficiencies in processes, products and services and thereby to find cost-saving solutions to them.

  • Waste Reduction = Improved efficiency and lower costs.
  • Cost of compliance with regulations is reduced.

Environmental protection is enhanced by returning (ideally to zero) hazardous and solid wastes to nature and by reducing the need for energy generation and hydrocarbon extraction.

  • Reduces demand for resources and energy from nature.
  • Returns wastes to nature.

Social well-being is enhanced through efficiency improvements that allow more resources to be available for all. In addition, more complete use of "wastes" will create jobs in return logistics and reprocessing activities.

  • Waste managers become resource managers.
  • Opportunities in return logistics.
  • New products from recovered materials.

For more information about Zero Waste in the CVRD go to our Zero Waste site. For local ideas on living "Zero Waste" and links to informative web sites click here.