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Common Sense Solutions - Starting Now

Zero Waste Systems

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Waste = Bad Design

Zero Waste is a new way of looking at our waste stream. Instead of seeing used materials as garbage in need of disposal, the "garbage" is seen as full of valuable resources. A pile of "trash" represents jobs, financial opportunity, and raw material for new products.

Aiming for Zero Waste means you are attempting to reduce the amount of items you discard all the way down to: nothing!

There are businesses operating all over the world with this goal right now. Sadly, the US lags behind the rest of the world but there are some promising initiatives, like San Fransisco's ban on plastic bags.

Zero Waste is not simply a commitment to recycling and composting. There is an inherent design philosophy that dictates products are manufactured using materials with the intent of reuse.

One aspect of this is that manufacturers would take responsibility for the end of life phases of their products. So your cell phone and laptop would go back to the factory for refurbishing or de-manufacturing to make new products.

Eco-Cycle, producers of this video, is one of the largest non-profit recyclers in the USA and they are pioneers in resource conservation. Eco-Cycle’s mission is to identify, explore and demonstrate the emerging frontiers of sustainable resource management and raise awareness about the principles of Zero Waste.

In the words of their Executive Director Eric Lombardi: "A lot of people think that trash is inevitable, that it's one of the necessary evils in life. But that's not true. Waste is actually the product of bad design. And bad design can be changed."

--Bibi Farber

This video was produced by Eco-Cycle. For more information, see