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[greenyes] FYI... "What is ZW?" from the Zero Waste Action Team in Canada

Greetings all,

Call me slow, but I just found the <>
website (zero waste action team), which was started in the 1990's (!!)
by "Bell Canada, Thunder Bay Telephone, Thunder Bay Hydro, Port Arthur
General, St Joseph's, McKellar and Hogarth Westmount Hospitals and the
Intercity Shopping Centre. Today, there are more than 30
representatives of the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sector,
community organizations, the City of Thunder Bay, City Council and the
Ministry of the Environment. "

Here is what they say is Zero Waste.
What Is "Zero Waste?
The goal of "Zero Waste" is to eliminate 100% of the waste presently
being generated. It is a process that unites environmental, community
and economic sustainability, promotes local employment and improves a
community's health and quality of life. This is achieved through
resource protection, conservation and recovery, materials efficiencies,
minimizing pollution, recycling and the elimination of waste.
Zero Waste moves responsibility for the waste stream to the product
designers, manufacturers, advertisers and consumers. It focuses on
renewable resources and paying up front for the environmental and social
costs. These costs occur all along the waste stream, not just when
products are disposed of in landfill.
Emphasis is placed on the repair, resale and reuse of durable products
designed for recyclability when they outlive their usefulness. There
are several declared "Zero Waste" or "Sustainable Cities" in Canada,
United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Here are a few
Canadian examples:
EarthCare Sudbury is an integrated, comprehensive local action plan that
was developed by working groups representing all sectors of the
community with the goal of environmental and economic sustainability.
There are now over 90 community partners, and the Canadian Federation of
Municipalities recognizes EarthCare Sudbury as a model for other
communities. The October 2003 Local Action Plan is found under "Public
Works" at the Greater City of Sudbury website.
Edmonton, Alberta has achieved 65% diverson of its residential waste,
more than any other city in Canada. It has established a
state-of-the-art facility that focuses on recycling, composting and the
limited use of landfill. Provincial requirements that result in the use
of refillable containers, rather than hard to recycle plastics, have
greatly increased waste diversion.
Halifax, Nova Scotia has achieved 60% waste diversion largely due to a
"green bin" program that collects compostable household materials and
transfers them to an "age and cure" centre. Organic waste is banned from
Guelph, Ontario uses an innovative two-stream, wet-dry recycling program
begun in 1995. It has achieved 58% waste diversion, and has set its
sights higher.
In British Columbia, The Town of Smithers and the Regional District of
Kootenay, Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo, British Columbia have adopted the
concept of 'Zero Waste" as policy.
Zero Waste makes economic sense. Businesses are discovering that it pays
to design products for reycylability and durability that result in a
savings of resources and less waste. However, when an industry achieves
50% waste reduction by switching from easily reusable and recyclable
glass and paper to difficult to recycle plastics, the true benefits to
the environment are minimal.
There are a variety of "real" solutions to achieve Zero Waste and many
businesses are diverting 80-90% and saving money in the process. Several
businesses are recognized as "Zero Heros" such as the Beer Store (for
using refillable containers), Mountain Gear Co-Op, Xerox, IBM and
To view more examples of "Zero Waste" initiatives in Canada including a
mention of the Zero Waste Action Team see environmental award winner
Michael Jessen's "List of Zero Waste Initiatives in Canada" at
To find out more about "Zero Waste Cities" go to
Information about "green energy" and local air quality issues may be
found on Pollution Probe and Ontario Clean Air Alliance websites and on
Ontario Power Generation's website under "Green Power".

Eric Lombardi
Executive Director
Eco-Cycle, Inc
Boulder, CO

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