This pandemic will change the world and the way we live

Some say that this pandemic will change the world and the way we live.  After a few weeks of no industry and traffic, people can see the blue sky and the fish in the water.  

Ryan McMullan, Zero Waste expert, often states that “at first you recycle some, and then you recycle some more, and then you recycle less”

In the 50 years since the first Earth Day in 1970, we  realize the best solution is to recycle less and reduce and reuse more.  Today as we are cloistered in our homes, we can see that the advantage as consumers is to reduce and reuse before we recycle and compost.  

The Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) promotes Zero Waste as emulating nature, designing for the environment and absolutely no polluting discards to the air, water and land. 

Zero Waste is the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.

Source separation is a basic principle in the Zero Waste Approach.  A simple sort of products and materials that can be made into recyclable, compostable and reuse fractions.  This type of sort creates work in collection and processing and produces feedstock for traditional and new industries (e.g., paper and compost).

A companion to sorting is to redesign products for recycling or composting as an end use after reuse and repair. Currently many single use products which end up in our rivers and oceans are not designed for recycling or composting.  The recycling system needs a guaranteed feed stock to close the loop.  A closed circle economy has industry using the secondary (recycled) product as its first choice in manufacturing.

In a closed circle economy, compostable organics need to be separately collected and composted for soil amendment.  Landfills turn out to be a major source of human produced methane and, in California, the legislature requires most organics to be diverted from landfill.  The opportunity to reduce chemical fertilizers and the advantage that compost has in water retention makes this closed loop system a self-reliant means of providing steady supply of local food for the community.

Environmental justice is our standard in initiating the systems we need to replenish the planet and preserve biological life.

ZWIA is connected to the worldwide community through our website (zwia.org) and we talk on Zoom every third Friday at 11AM Pacific time.  There are Zero Waste organizers from around the world on this call.  

Our goal...

Our goal for ZWIA is to network Zero Waste advocates in an international community that can act on product and packaging policies and discarded material management through sharing and mentoring. Our power, as consumers, is that if we don’t buy the products, manufacturers must change or suffer the loss of customers. Our power as advocates and professionals is that we can show what is possible.

As we always say if you are not for Zero Waste, how much waste are you for?

Take care and be safe.