What does zero waste mean? The definition adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) is: “The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
Zero waste encompasses recycling and reusing resources, but more broadly focuses on restructuring production and distribution systems to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and to conserve resources.
Why consider zero waste when we’re satisfied with our current consumption and trash disposal practices? In addition to consuming more of earth’s resources than are regenerated our trash is poisoning us and the other lifeforms that share our planet. Plastic is being found in the flesh of fish and sea creatures including fish that we eat. There is plastic in the ocean and on our beaches. A particularly evocative image was in a National Geographic article from May 2018. Imagine 15 grocery bags filled with plastic trash piled up on every single yard of shoreline in the world. That’s how much land-based plastic trash ended up in the world’s oceans in just one year. This year scientists found microplastics in the air that we breathe. The pervasiveness of plastic pollution points out how important it is to reduce the amount of plastic we use and dispose of.
To learn more about interesting day-to-day ways to reduce waste and conserve resources join our November 10 book discussion of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg. It will be a brown bag event from 12 to 1 p.m. Kathryn Kellogg is a blogger who has reduced her household waste for two years to one 16-ounce mason jar.
-Ella Ingraham, for the Green Team
We hope to help our community become stewards of creation.