Zero Waste Challenge

All of us make decisions every day that impact how much garbage we send to the landfill and waste-to-energy facility. The Zero Waste Challenge is about figuring out how to greatly reduce that garbage.

The challenge for Metro Vancouver, which manages the region's waste, is to increase awareness that reducing and reusing waste are a priority to managing waste sustainably. This requires advocating policies and regulations to reduce waste, opening discussions on the approach to consumer goods to include more durable, repairable and recyclable goods, and encouraging citizens to act. What does it mean to reduce, reuse and recycle more (the 3 Rs)?

  • Work with other governments, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and businesses to advocate increased reduce and reuse initiatvies (the first 2 Rs)
  • Provide tools such as an online recycling database, promote best practices for business, strengthen the market for recyclable materials (the third R)

The challenge is for each of us is to:

  • Reduce our waste (for example, choosing products that last, products made from recycled material)
  • Reconsider what we throw away (for example, ensuring small appliances are recycled, inedible food is composted)
  • Start a Zero Waste Community Challenge
  • Become a Zero Waste School
  • Reduce garbage at work

The challenge for our society is to move away from producing and favouring disposable products, and instead design for a waste-free future.

Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste Conference

National Zero Waste Council

Many governments support a Zero Waste concept. Some examples:

Nanaimo Regional District - "Zero Waste inspires us to revisit our goals, and apply the knowledge that we have learned to the problems that still persist. Once somebody has accepted the possibility of zero waste, all waste looks different."

Zero Waste Scotland - "Resouces not waste. Zero Waste is about changing the way we manage resources. It means using natural resources in the most effective way, as many times as possible, while minimising the impact on the environment."

Zero Waste New Zealand - "The goal of Zero Waste is to minimise and ulitimately eliminate waste.

  • maximises recycling
  • minimises residual waste
  • reduces consumption
  • ensures that products are made to be reused, repaired, recycled or composted."
San Francisco and Zero Waste - "Zero waste includes getting full use out of what you have, and preserving resources by recycling and composting what you toss. It is a movement to minmize the negative environmental impacts associated with single-use, disposable products."