Zero Waste is more than just an empty trash can.

Discover the environmental, economic and social benefits.

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste redesigns our systems and resource use — from product design to disposal — to prevent resource consumption, conserve energy, mitigate climate change, reduce water usage, prevent the creation of toxins, and stop ecosystem destruction.

Zero Waste then captures our discards and uses them, instead of natural resources, to make new products, creating far less pollution and feeding the local economy.

OUR CURRENT PRODUCTION SYSTEM GOES ONE WAY -- from the earth to the dump.

A ZERO WASTE SYSTEM IS CYCLICAL, AS IN NATURE, WHERE THERE IS NO WASTE. The result is a thriving Zero Waste community.

The Big Picture: Why Zero Waste Matters

Zero Waste is a local solution to some of our most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges.

Protecting Natural Resources

We are 7+ billion people living on one planet. Our supplies of fresh water, fossil fuels, metals and other resources are limited. Zero Waste helps us live within our planet’s means by using resources more efficiently, so we have the raw materials to sustain future generations of humans and other species.

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Climate Resilience

The way we produce, consume and dispose of our products and our food accounts for 42% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Zero Waste planning is one of the fastest, easiest, most cost-effective ways a community can reduce their climate impact.

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Green Jobs, Strong Local Economies

Zero Waste creates ten times more jobs per ton than landfills and incinerators—quality jobs for low-skilled and mid-level workers. It strengthens the local economy by keeping dollars and materials circulating through the region, instead of burying them in a landfill.

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Healthy people, Healthy planet

Every single one of us—even polar bears—carries toxic chemicals in our bodies, toxins emitted from dirty manufacturing plants and polluting landfills and incinerators. Zero Waste redesigns products and manufacturing processes to be as non-toxic as possible so that all populations, human and otherwise, are healthier.

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Healthy Soils, Healthy Food

Our soils are depleted of healthy nutrients due to many factors — from pesticides to construction. Composting food scraps and yard debris replenishes our soil with much-needed nutrients. Healthy soils grow healthier food, require fewer pesticides, conserve water and slow climate change by storing carbon.

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Social justice

As we run out of the resources that support us — like oil, minerals and even fresh water — wars will be raged. In fact, we’re already fighting over scarce supplies. Zero Waste designs products using fewer resources, so that this and future generations can live peacefully.

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Get Started

Learn how to get going on Zero Waste.

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