Zero waste is a series of principles embracing the use and reuse of all products. As a philosophy, zero waste mimics cycles in nature. Nature wastes nothing.
At Zero Waste Australia, we believe zero waste to be:
“a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.
Zero waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”
Waste sent to landfills and incinerators is minimal.
Zero Waste generates business from others outputs, creating new process inputs from by-products of household, commercial and industrial processes.
Our primary example of this is food waste – the scraps remaining from breakfast, lunch or dinner, the leftovers from uneaten mid-week meals or the broccoli languishing at the bottom of the fridge. Standard waste management approaches would see this material placed in the general waste bin and removed to landfill. Zero waste approaches see this material composted at home or, using City to Soil and Groundswell processes, composted at a central facility and applied to agricultural land. This can apply equally to everything from wastewater and energy through to packaging materials.
Zero waste provides the sustainable alternative to traditional waste management approaches.
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