ZERO WASTE EXPLAINED

Get Real-World Solutions To Our Disposable Society

Because every action we take can make an impact.

What is Zero Waste?

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.” – Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA, 2022)

In simpler terms:

Zero waste is a goal and a mindset shift that requires you to think of your discards as resources so you can start reducing the waste you create as an individual and as a community through preventative measures like reducing, reusing, repurposing, and recycling.

It’s about understanding the big picture of your purchasing habits and how the different resource disposal methods affect your community and the planet –and then doing something about it.

Because really,
If you’re not for zero waste, then how much waste are you for?

DID YOU KNOW?
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An average San Diegan throws away eight pounds of trash a day. The U.S. average is four pounds a day.

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Every ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees! And 1 ton is equivalent to a weight of a giraffe or great white shark!

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Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for 3 hours!

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It takes 65% less energy to recycle paper than it does to make it out of virgin material.

DECOMPOSITION RATES IN THE LANDFILL

The materials that make up the resources we use regularly have various decomposing timelines, with many remaining in the environment after being “thrown away.”

Feed the soil, not the landfills!

DECOMPOSITION RATES IN THE LANDFILL

The materials that make up the resources we use regularly have various decomposing timelines, with many remaining in the environment after being “thrown away.”

Feed the soil, not the landfills!

THE ZERO WASTE HIERARCHY

The Zero Waste Hierarchy (ZWH) is designed to reduce the amount of resources going to landfills or incinerators by helping people think about their actions and thought processes, and how they can move towards the ultimate goal of zero waste.

At each progression through the ZWH, you can ask yourself a single question:

  • Do you need it? (Refuse)
  • How much of it do you actually need? (Reduce)
  • Is it still useful after you’re done with it? (Reuse)
  • Can it be composted? (Rot/Compost)
  • Can it be recycled? (Recycle)
  • Can you fix it? (Repair)
  • Can it be made in a different way so it’s reusable, recyclable, or compostable? (Redesign)
  • Can you vote for regulations around it? (Regulate)

ZERO WASTE 101

To achieve a truly circular economy, we must collectively work together to enact zero waste programs that directly contribute to reducing climate change, protecting health, creating green jobs, and promoting local sustainability.

Below you’ll find some ideas to start sustainably managing your resources in your business, community, or school.

What does it mean to be a...

ZERO WASTE IN SAN DIEGO

Below are our go-to resources for all things zero waste in the greater San Diego County area.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & TOOLS

Below are resources and tools to help you learn more and connect with others as you navigate your Zero Waste journey.

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