What is Zero Waste?

The Zero Waste Symbol | Zero Waste Basics | Zero Waste Briefing Kit

Hmmm... Just what is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is a philosophy and a design principle for the 21st Century. It includes 'recycling' but goes beyond recycling by taking a 'whole system' approach to the vast flow of resources and waste through human society.

Zero Waste maximizes recycling, minimizes waste, reduces consumption and ensures that products are made to be reused, repaired or recycled back into nature or the marketplace.


Zero Waste:

  • redesigns the current, one-way industrial system into a circular system modeled on Nature's successful strategies
  • challenges badly designed business systems that "use too many resources to make too few people more productive"
  • addresses, through job creation and civic participation, increasing wastage of human resources and erosion of democracy
  • helps communities achieve a local economy that operates efficiently, sustains good jobs, and provides a measure of self-sufficiency.
  • aims to eliminate rather than manage waste

Zero Waste makes recycling a powerful entry point into a critique of excessive consumption, waste, corporate irresponsibility, and the fundamental causes of environmental destruction.

"Zero Waste poses a fundamental challenge to 'business as usual.' It has the potential to motivate people to change their life styles, demand new products, and insist that corporations and governments behave in new ways. This is a very exciting development."
-- Peter Montague, editor of Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly

"Zero Waste is the mother of environmental no-brainers."
-- Jeffrey Hollender, CEO of Seventh Generation

Read more about Zero Waste Basics

Watch two short Zero Waste Videos

What is GRRN's Zero Waste Campaign?
GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) is a North American network of waste reduction activists and professionals dedicated to achieving a sustainable economy based on the principle of Zero Waste. GRRN's Zero Waste Campaign advocates for corporate responsibility for waste, government policies for resource conservation, and sustainable jobs from discards.

Read more about GRRN's Zero Waste Campaign

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