What is Zero Waste
and The Circular Economy?
The Zero Waste International Alliance defines it as:
“Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production,
consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without
burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or
Our favorite definition is:
"Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use."
For companies, to be able to be certified Zero Waste facilities, 90% of its “waste” has
to be diverted from landfills/incineration.
Zero Waste is viewed more as an ongoing process rather than a goal. The important thing here is being mindful of our impact on our planet.
Zero Waste Chengdu is based in China, the most populated country in the world where the repercussion of
individual actions is easily visible. Reducing the waste that goes to
landfills/incineration, and the ocean, in other words committing to a lower impact zero
waste lifestyle is a must to realize the “Paris Agreement on Climate Change”
The way to do this is simply by following the 5R's:
Refuse: Refuse everything you don't need. This especially applies to "free" things,
single-use plastics, etc.
Reduce: Reduce your belongings in general.
Reuse: Reuse as much as you can.
Recycle: Recycling is the last resort NOT the solution.
What is The Circular Economy?
A circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution, and carbon emissions. The circular economy aims to keep products, equipment, and infrastructure in use for longer, thus improving the productivity of these resources. All "waste" should become "food" for another process: either a by-product or recovered resource for another industrial process or as regenerative resources for nature (e.g., compost). This regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a "take, make & dispose of" model of production.
A "circular economy" is one that can:
Be regenerative by design, retaining as much value as possible from products, parts, and materials
Mitigate the climate impact of continually manufacturing new products
Recoup the $4.5 trillion wasted in the current take-make-waste consumer model