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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

The City and County of San Francisco believes achieving zero waste is possible, and their website  includes excellent ordinances enacted over the last several years.

The City of San Diego is diverting a large portion of its solid waste away from landfills using its Zero Waste Initiative. 

Boulder, Colorado's ambitious Zero Waste program is a resource management strategy modeled on nature’s waste-free and self-sustaining systems.

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


The Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives (GAIA) is a global network working towards a just and waste-free world without incineration. 

The Zero Waste International Alliance is the internationally recognized online source for Zero Waste standards, policies and best practices for communities and businesses.


The Institute for Local Self Reliance promotes local power over corporate power and has resources to help communities achieve Zero Waste. 

The Energy Justice Network has outstanding resources on several environmental issues including one of their latest reports - a roadmap for zero waste for Montgomery County in Maryland.


[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.

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