Zero Waste Canada (ZWC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes solid waste solutions that eliminate the use of landfills and waste-to-energy plants. ZWC works with all levels of government for responsible resource management and policies, legislation and initiatives that eliminate waste and support continuous reuse of resources. ZWC provides resource management demonstration projects and education, and is a reliable go-to resource that collaboratively promotes social, environmental and economic well-being.
When waste can’t be eliminated Zero Waste Canada adheres to the Zero Waste International Alliance’s Principle of Highest and Best Use. That is: “We continuously evaluate our markets and direct our discarded products and packaging to recover the highest value according to the following hierarchy: reuse of the product for its original purpose; reuse of the product for an alternate purpose; reuse of its parts; reuse of the materials; sustainable recycling of inorganic materials in closed loop systems; sustainable recycling of inorganic materials in single-use applications; composting of organic materials to sustain soils and avoid use of chemical fertilizers; and composting or mulching of organic materials to reduce erosion and litter and retain moisture.”
We are inspired by the progress that has been made with diversion efforts around the globe but demand higher level upstream solutions that avoid and prevent the creation of waste in the first place. Resource recovery is good but avoidance of waste is best and is our ultimate goal.
It is important to note that incineration or waste-to-energy projects do not comply with our zero waste standards. Such projects are ineffective, inefficient and dangerous methods to deal with our waste. Incineration destroys the highest value, the function of objects and leaves nothing but unusable sludge and ash. Incineration is a short-sighted approach to waste whereas zero waste offers a sustainable method by which we can ensure the highest quality of environmental, planetary, animal and human health.
We believe that zero waste is a visionary and perpetual goal that requires creative and unconventional solutions that fundamentally challenge the status quo and ‘business as usual.’
In declaring our goal of absolute elimination of waste we join the zero waste community in asking “If you’re not for zero waste, how much waste are you for?