Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Zero Waste?

So what exactly does Zero Waste mean? Is it possible? These were my questions when I read that Telluride, Colorado has a Zero Waste Action Plan for the Mountain Village of San Miguel county. And looking it over, it seems like a no-brainer that I want my community to think about too!

The Action Plan is laid out in these basic, but extensive areas:

Clean Production: More resource efficient, recoverable, less toxic production

Retail Stores: Consumer education and take-back programs (where products can be returned to the provider to recycle)

Consumer Buying Power: Creating consumer demand and eco-market & manufacturing standards

Producer Responsibility: Manufacturers are part of the solution, taking back their products or supporting recovery infrastructure

Resource Recovery Parks: Community center for total recovery, reuse, recycle, composting, material exchange and recovery

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Redesign and recovery. Create more jobs than resource destruction- Green Market

Changing the Rules: Removing market barriers and inequalities to support sustainable industry.

Shifting Subsidies: Stimulating green practices rather than favoring waste and pollution

Design for the Environment, Not the Dump: All products must be recoverable through reuse, recycling and composting.

That's it. Simple, common sense- right? All of these areas highlight thinking upstream, employing an iterative process, and using Cradle to Cradle design or darn near close. I believe this is the vision of tomorrow- it will become mandatory, necessary and favored, because it advocates for a better EVERYTHING.

However, with any long-term vision, there are hills to climb and some initial obstacles to change.

There are many areas that Telluride is working on to make this Action Plan a reality in fulfilling their vision of Zero Waste. Here are the areas which need serious consideration, which is probably a similar situation for all communities wanting to work towards Zero Waste:

"After review of the local solid waste, reuse and recycling system, there are a number of services that stand out as critical to moving forward with the Zero Waste goal in this region:

Composting - A composting facility is needed to compost all organics, including yard trimmings,

food scraps and food-soiled paper

Resource Recovery Park - More efficient recycling operations are needed to process reusables and recyclables from the region, including recyclables from construction and demolition debris, ideally in a Resource Recovery Park design

Solid Waste System Redesign - Garbage contracts, rate structures and services provided need to be revised to provide incentives to all involved to move to Zero Waste (as detailed above)."


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.