Zero Waste

logo - toward zero wasteThe 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.

Information in Zero Waste:

Choose to Reuse
Use reusable bags every time you shop instead of plastic ones.

bagrehabHere's why:
  • Each year billions of bags end up in our streets as litter.
  • Production requires vast amounts of oil.
  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, but instead break down into small toxic particles polluting our soil and waterways.
  • Recent studies have shown that plastic outnumbers plankton 6:1 in the ocean.

Stop Junk Mail
Five simple steps to reduce unwanted mail or solicitations:

  • Reduce Credit Card Offers – start by opt-in or out of receiving credit offers. Contact the three major credit bureaus at 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) for more information. When you call, you will need to provide your home telephone number, name, and Social Security number. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out of receiving pre-screened offers of credit.
  • Keep Personal Information Private – request personal information not to be shared when signing up on mailing lists, making donations, or when shopping at stores or online.
  • Unsubscribe – contact companies directly to unsubscribe (e.g. unwanted catalogues, phone books, charities).
  • Reuse – share catalogs with roommates, family members, neighbors and friends. You can also use shredded paper as composting material!
  • Register for Mail Preference Service – visit the Direct Marketing Association,, to register for the Mail Preference Service and have your name removed from general mailing lists.
Other helpful websites:

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.