Communities Push for Zero Waste

Communities are pushing for a zero waste policy, a long-term goal many feel is in reach.

| August/September 2005

In March, the city council in Berkeley, Calif., passed a resolution establishing a goal of zero waste — among the first in the country. The resolution calls for a 75 percent reduction in city waste by 2010, and zero waste by 2020.

Now the city’s Zero Waste Commission is looking for ways to further enable recycling and put a stop to discarding residential food waste, construction and demolition debris, says Tom Farrell, manager of recycling and solid waste for Berkeley. California already has a 50 percent waste-reduction goal in place, and Alameda County strives toward a goal of 75 percent.

“We were already on a track and we were already moving, so now the track just got longer,” says Farrell, who anticipates that the changes could increase the budget by 10 percent to 15 percent.

Berkeley is not alone in such efforts. Seattle adopted its own zero-waste goal in 1998, and San Francisco and Carrboro, N.C., have passed similar legislation. Australia’s capital, Canberra, has a zero-waste goal for 2010, and New Zealand was the first country to implement a national strategy for achieving zero waste. Many nongovernmental initiatives, in places as diverse as Namibia, Colombia, Scotland and Sweden, also promote zero-waste policies.

“Zero waste is adopted as a philosophy and direction,” Farrell says. “There are programs available that are already being done elsewhere, so we’re not going to have to invent an entirely new program.”

Zero waste is based on the idea that “as in nature, a fully sustainable human culture will have no waste,” according to the Zero Waste International Alliance. It calls not only for recycling, reducing, reusing and repairing, but also for changes such as cleaner production, packaging and “voluntary simplicity.”

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard