avatar image for Julie Cook
Julie Cook Kitchener May 13, 2024 13:11 pm
Hi all,
If you’d like to know more about the most successful zero waste initiatives around the globe, check out world-renowned scientist and activist Paul Connett’s book.  He starts off by exposing the greenwashing in current waste-to-energy projects and compares them to resource recovery and recycling. He demonstrates that waste-to-energy projects involve lower job creation rates, they produce toxic ash that still requires landfill disposal, and there are significant upfront cost associated with the incinerators. He then presents several case studies from communities around the world that are taking the lead on zero waste. For example, San Francisco’s compost is sent to a facility that supplies the regions’ vineyards and farmers, while its recyclables are processed in a material recovery plant that employees 1000 workers. Apparently, San Francisco’s former Mayor Gavin Newsom is quoted as saying that the facility created ten times as many jobs as would have been created by sending the materials to landfill. There are also examples provided from the Global South where poor families depend on waste collection for their survival. Connett recommends that these nations incorporate such activities into their waste management plans while providing workers with safer working conditions as well as better health care and education for their children. 
Another section of the book includes essays by leaders in the zero-waste movement, including the founders of Berkeley’s Urban Ore company, Daniel Knapp and Mary Lou Van Deventer. Urban Ore is a mission-driven for-profit that salvages waste and resells it in a massive warehouse and storefront.

image.png 194 KB

Connett also outlines ten steps toward a zero-waste community, including source separation of waste, door-to-door collection systems, economic incentives, better industrial design, interim landfills, and more. The end of the book contains his notes, references, links, a timeline of the zero-waste movement, and more information on many of the leading organizations involved in the zero-waste field.
To learn more about the book or to purchase it, click here