What Is Zero Waste


Zero Waste is MORE than recycling and composting.

Zero Waste is a holistic approach to managing materials in a closed loop system or circular economy, where there is no such thing as waste. Discards are either designed out completely or fed back into the production cycle as raw materials.


Definition of Zero Waste

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.*

In summary, this means:

  • All discarded materials are resources
  • Resources should not be burned or buried
  • Goal is Zero Air, Water and Land Emissions


* This peer-reviewed internationally accepted definition is provided by the Zero Waste International Alliance

Video: What is Zero Waste?


The non-profit organization Eco-Cycle has created an informative video that provides an in-depth look at the concept of Zero Waste.


Zero Waste System 

Zero Waste is about designing products and packaging to minimize waste, creating incentives to encourage clean and sustainable products and enterprises, fostering both producer and consumer responsibility, investing in resource recovery facilities, strengthening local economies, and building community collaboration.

The Zero Waste system includes four central concepts:

  • Change the Rules to support resource recovery
  • Create Producer Responsibility to hold industry accountable for creating less toxic and more efficient products
  • Purchase for Zero Waste to use our buying power as our voice for Zero Waste
  • Create Resource Recovery Infrastructure to build the processing and recovery systems to move us toward Zero Waste


Zero Waste Links

More detailed information about Zero Waste is available at the following organizations: