The Move Towards Zero Waste

Corporations and cities across the globe are signing on to a new wave in environmental stewardship: zero waste. Cities such as Oakland and Seattle have pledged to improve their policies to encourage recycling and a reduction of waste.

"Zero waste may seem more of a Platonic ideal than a realistic objective. But a growing number of communities and businesses worldwide are adopting its principles, drawn to both its environmental and economic advantages. Corporations such as Wal-Mart, Nike, Toyota, and Ford have all set zero-waste targets for their operations, and so have the cities of Oakland, San Francisco, and Seattle, among others. Outside the United States, New Zealand and regions of Australia and Canada have committed themselves to the zero-waste challenge, and Great Britain is touting the 2012 Olympics in London as the first 'zero-waste games.'"

"With its faint ring of the incredible, zero waste is in some ways still more of a buzz phrase, a branding concept for a big idea, than a reality."

"'The whole concept of zero waste may be unattainable -- it may be a mythical goal,' says John Warner, director of the Center for Green Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. 'That doesn't mean it's not worth working toward the goal.'"

Full Story: A world without waste


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Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.