Zero Waste

The concept of zero waste begins with product design and continues through manufacturing, delivery, use and disposal, focusing on ways that minimizing environmental impacts and conserving natural resources. The goal of zero waste is to encourage industry to take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products, and reward achievers through purchasing and market development incentives.


This concept brings together several facets of How Green Is My Town? Please see our page on Green Purchasing Policies, and our page on the responsibility of local business owners to participate in the recycling of products they sell.  

Trucks sorting recycled goods

Eco-Cycle, in Boulder, Co, was established forty years ago by residents who were passionate about conserving natural resources. 

Scarsdale, NY, provides information for its residents regarding the recycling of food waste. Check out their Food Scrap Recycling Guide

SF Environment in San Francisco, CA has an outstanding program to eliminate solid waste, sending nothing to landfill, incineration or high temperature technologies.


North Castle, NY is also aiming to reduce waste to zero. They prefer to think of waste as a potential resource with inherent value rather than as a “problem.”


The GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) is a national network of waste reduction activists and recycling professionals, establishing standards for zero waste goals and policies. GRRN offers custom onsite training for municipalities and organizations as well as workshops and presentations at events. 

Zero Waste World is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations and individuals in over 100 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration.


[1] Zaman, A. U. (2015) A comprehensive review of the development of zero waste management: Lessons learned and guidelines. Journal of Cleaner Production, 91, 12-25.

[2] Song, Q., Li, J., & Zeng, X. (2015). Minimizing the increasing solid waste through zero waste. Journal of Cleaner Production, 104, 199-210.

[3] Binnemans, K., et al. (2015) Towards zero-waste valorisation, rare-earth-containing industrial processes residues: A critical review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 99, 17-38.

[4] Bergmiller, G. G., PhD, & McCright, P. R., PhD. (2009). Parallel Models for Lean and Green Operations (Rep.). Boulder, CO: Zero Waste Operations Research and Consulting, 1-6.