Zero Waste is the goal Zero Waste is the goal

If you are not for Zero Waste, how much waste are you for?


Gary LissFounder, National Recycling Coalition

Zero Waste GraphicThe concept of Zero Waste is an end goal but with a caveat. The goal is to truly reduce total waste generation to zero, but the reality is average organization (Business, school, home, or city) attempting "Zero Waste" achieve approximately 90% diversion. The process entails the analysis of your total waste generation, then redesigning your business process to design the waste out. If you know that at the end you have large portions of X, then go upstream and change your process to eliminate all the residual of X. Design for obsolescence.

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How to be a Smart Consumer

Zero waste is a fresh approach to waste management and the use of resources. It goes beyond the “end-of-the-line” treatment of waste and promotes not only the three “R’s” (reduce, reuse, recycle), but also focuses on a “whole system” approach to the use of resources. A large component of Zero Waste involves realizing that the creation of waste is often not necessary. There are many things that we can do as consumers to prevent waste.

  •     Save paper, time and postage by paying your bills online.
  •     As the price of paper, cards and postage increases, consider emailing e-cards.
  •     When printing documents, print on both sides of the paper.
  •     Email documents and information instead of printing and mailing them.
  •     Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
  •     Buy products that have long life spans – avoid disposable items.
  •     Buy products that have minimal packaging.
  •     Buy products in their concentrated form.
  •     Buy only what you need. Consuming less, you dispose of less waste.
  •     Consider buying in bulk for those necessary purchases. You will save money and reduce packaging
  •     Buy products that are made from recycled materials.
  •     Lessen your environmental footprint when moving by:
    • Give away or sell non-essential items. Donate to libraries and charities. Hold a garage sale or give things away at places like FreeCycle.
    • Collect cardboard boxes and packing material before your move instead of buying new.
    • Eliminate junk mail at your new address by filing a temporary change of address form instead of a permanent one. Eliminate junk mail instead of recycling it.

Sustainability Office
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Lower Colton Hall
Monterey, CA 93940
Voice: (831) 235-5415

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Mallory Pankretz, Admin. Asst
Ted J. Terrasas, REHS Sustainability Coordinator

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