"Waste is a resource in disguise. It represents a failure of our processes and products and a loss of money. We recommend that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated from our thinking and the word resource be substituted."- Zero Waste Alliance
What is Zero Waste?
Zero Waste is the visionary idea that we will all, someone, one day, produce, consume and retire our goods with nothing going to a landfill - that all byproducts will be used in a healthy way, and that we will design (we as manufacturers, retailers and citizens) waste out of the system. Newsweek says Zero Waste is the #1 thing you can do for the planet.
Okay, we admit, these numbers ASTOUNDED us! We've gone from 2.6 pounds of garbage per person per day in 1960 to 4.6 pounds in 2006! Yikes! The good news is that we've also begun recycling - that's now 1.12 pounds per person per day (out of the total) - and even that's made a big impact. In 2006, 82 billion pouds of garbage, or 32.5%, was recycled. That's the equivalent of saving more than 10 billion gallons of gasoline, or taking 39.4 million passenger cars off the road. Every ton of paper that's recycled saves the equivalent of 185 gallons of gasoline. Let's have more of this!
But, there's so far to go. We're dropping 31 billion pounds of food waste into the garbage (my grandmother would roll over at this!). In a landfill, food waste can't decompose; it produces nothing but methane (almost none of this is reclaimed), a potent greenhouse gas. Same with the 15 billion pounds of unrecycled yard waste. And of course, the plastics problem: that which never goes away. Only 6.9% of the 30 billion pounds of plastics are recycled - the rest go to landfills.
What's most household waste comprised of?
Read the EPA's full report.
What can I do to help?
Start now- composting, recycling and most importantly, influencing the market with your dollar! 31.7% of the waste stream is made up of containers and packaging - shop for less waste packaging.