What is Zero Waste?
Zero Waste embodies the notion that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated. Instead, waste should be thought of as a “residual product” or simply a “potential resource” in a continuous, integrated, closed-loop system. Opportunities such as reduced costs, increased profits, and reduced environmental impacts are found when returning these “resources” as inputs 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.
Zero Waste strategies consider the entire life cycle of products, processes and systems in the context of a comprehensive systems understanding of our interactions with nature and search for inefficiencies at all stages. With this understanding, wastes can be prevented through designs based on full life cycle thinking. Indeed, we should work to "design" our wastes, if any, so that they have future applications.
A growing number of municipalities are adopting a Zero Waste as a long term goal that drives management decisions. Many municipalities are starting with Zero Waste garbage from the events by reducing the amount of waste brought to the site, avoiding the use of disposable food ware and recovering resources for reuse, recycling, and composting. To read about a few examples of how provincial, national and international organizations are moving towards zero waste, click the link below.
Find out how to move Towards Zero Waste.
Alberta has a long way to go to achieve this vision. Although municipalities across the province have implemented successful local recycling programs, Alberta is the most wasteful province in Canada. This poor result is partially due to Alberta’s outdated recycling regulations, some of which have not been updated since 1997.