Zero Waste: a target for the future of the planet

Zero Waste: a target for the future of the planetZero Waste is the name of an industrial, economic and social strategy which originated in the United States at the end of the twentieth century. This way of thinking, manufacturing and living is based on the Rs: reducing consumption, reusing resources and recycling products at the end of their life cycle.

Despite having been initially regarded as an environmental utopian ideal, the Zero Waste policy has been adopted in recent years by leading international manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Xerox and Nike. For example, Xerox estimates that it has saved in the region of $ 47 million between 1990 and 1999, thanks to reduction, reuse and recycling. In the year 2000, Epson’s production plant in Portland reduced waste by 90%, while Canadian chain The Beer Store recovers 98% of its beer bottles and recycles 97% of its plastic packaging.

The Zero Waste strategy has also been applied successfully by major cities. The first metropolis to adopt it was Canberra, the capital of Australia, which in 1996 declared a target of zero waste production by 2010. Although this target has not yet been reached, the city currently sorts and recycles 74% of its waste. San Francisco and Buenos Aires are already following this example, while various other cities and regions around the world are getting ready to do so. They include Scotland, which has launched a major campaign inviting all citizens to pursue a zero-waste lifestyle.