The goal of Zero Waste strategies is to achieve a closed-loop materials system. Waste is a sign of inefficiency. The Zero Waste Alliance’s use of the term Zero Waste includes “Zero Solid Waste”, “Zero Hazardous Waste”, “Zero Toxics” and “Zero Emissions”.
Zero waste suggests that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated. Instead, waste should be thought of simply as a “potential resource.” Benefits of zero waste strategies include reduced costs, increased profits, and reduced environmental impacts. Zero Waste may require redesigning both products and processes to weed out inefficiencies in the use of materials, energy and human resources.
Zero Waste strategies consider the entire life-cycle of products, processes and systems. Wastes can be prevented through designs based on full life-cycle thinking.
Potential Zero Waste programs:
- Community programs with a focus on zero solid waste to landfills and zero wasted energy can result in new jobs not only in the recovery process, but also in the use of recovered waste products as raw materials to produce new products.
- Business programs with a focus on increasing efficiency by eliminating solid and hazardous waste, process wastes, wastes in production operations and energy use.
- Educational programs when applied to all school activities and classroom teaching can save money while providing important education to help the younger generation be prepared to contend with coming changes.
- Home programs can be developed that include energy savings, changes in purchasing habits, reduction in the toxicity of cleaning agents, and the use of more appropriate fertilizers and pesticides.