Managing the World Resources: International and Local New Rules

earth-day-globe

Now is the time to adopt locally and globally a zero waste approach to resource management. The foundation of this approach is documented by www.Zwia.org  and is based on global and business principles. We should insist on:

-No burn (incineration), no bury (landfill) projects and policies
-Local democracy for community decisions on discard rules for products and practices
-Product redesign for recycling or composting for community health and safety

Zero waste practices creates benefits for our community. Local level programs can provide jobs and resources for future populations. We can no longer tolerate pollution as an acceptable practice. Cost analysis should show the true cost of products and packaging using a “cradle to cradle” process (product, use, and back to product), not a “cradle to grave” process (product, use, landfill/incinerator). Burning or burying discards should never be a design option.

Scarcity of the world’s resources was a topic addressed at the World Resource Forum. Similarly, the European Union has discussed current targets including recovering all metal, burning no trees, and culture change. Why are we arguing about waste vs. resource management? Waste management plans regulate discard management without concern for resources and waste and pollution emissions’ through landfill and incineration. At the International Sustainability Conference, it was suggested that Zero Waste was the goal.

Let’s advocate a zero waste approach to planning, prevention, and recovery. These should include:

-Discarding composition sorts into the 12 “master resource categories” to show markets and value and identify current market and facility voids (no local markets)
-Focus up-steam (before use at the purchasing level) on prevention (new rules in purchasing and new programs for preventing discards, reduce and reuse), using highest and best use as priorities (feeding people, then animals and then the soil)
-Redesign recovery programs to collect and process discards into marketable resources
-Ban special discards designed for landfill and incineration
-Develop policies, programs and needed facilities to attain a Zero Waste goal

All data would be gathered around the 12 market categories. Stakeholder meetings (reusers, recyclers, composters, environmental activists would be held by commodity (reuse, paper, metal, glass, plastic, compostable organics, wood etc.) to deal with supply and demand issues, spotlighting Zero Waste champions (Zero Waste cities and businesses) as case studies.

Goal: Zero Waste by 2040 by locally and globally.

Strategy:

-Culture change (move from consumption to sustainable lifestyles)
-Closed circle economy (cradle to cradle, recycling and composting as end uses)
-Decoupling (making the economic system local and sustainable)

The City Council of San Diego has directed City staff to create a plan that reaches the goal of zero waste by 2040. San Diego is making progress towards creating a more cooperative and environmentally-friendly future. Let’s all go this way in 2016.

Richard Anthony
ZWIA, ZWUSA, CRRA, USZWBC, ZWSD
Board Member