Before we get too far into this year’s zero waste project, we need to figure out first what zero waste means.
I am a big fan of definitions and boundaries.
Zero Waste: The goal of developing products and services, managing their use and deployment, and creating recycling systems and markets in order to eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials and conserve and recover all resources. Implementing zero waste eliminates all discharges to land, water, or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health. Many cities and states already have set zero-waste goals. For example, San Francisco and other cities have set a goal to create zero waste by 2020.
Popularity: Bottom 10% of words
Definition of zero–waste: generating little or no waste <a zero-waste event> <zero-waste manufacturing> <zero waste strategies> <The manufacturer took pride in its plant being a zero-waste facility. All byproducts and waste from the manufacturing process were being reused and recycled. — Aaron Huff, Commercial Carrier Journal, 1 Dec. 2013>
So basically what we’ve learned here is that A) Dictionaries are boring, and 2) Zero waste is basically about “generating little or no waste” and eliminating “the volume and toxicity of waste and materials to conserve and recover all resources.”
Will I really be able to get to zero? I kind of doubt it.
Not to rain on my own parade before we even get started, but true zero waste isn’t possible; there will always be some waste. This is where my frustration comes into play (and it probably doesn’t help that I’m a pessimist) – what’s the point of all of this if it’s impossible? If I’m just one person shouting out into the void?*
Well … because every little bit helps. Because somebody has to do it. Because I want to see if I can do it. I want to see how close I can get.
I can’t focus on everything – because I’m only one person – but I can focus on some things. I can eliminate as much packaging as possible in my household. I can conserve energy and water. I can reuse and recycle, and not bring stuff into the house in the first place. I can make environmentally friendlier products at home. I can compost. I can buy used.
Which means the project starts in earnest NOW. Um, or Wednesday. 😉
P.S. Thank you all for the warm welcome! I so appreciate the time you took to comment on Friday, and you’ve given me some great ideas for things to tackle. Keep ’em coming!
* “The Fault in our Stars.” Anyone?