Zero Waste of Resources is an idea that is catching on throughout the country. King County adopted a policy to work toward Zero Waste by 2030, meaning that materials of value, whether for reuse, resale, or recycling, won't be put in the garbage and end up in the landfill.
As a planning tool for solid waste management, the county is interested in keeping paper, wood, scrap metal, glass, plastic and food out of the landfill. When those items don't go in, there is room for real garbage, that is, materials that currently have no other use.
Zero Waste of Resources does not mean zero garbage! There will always be some garbage that needs to be managed, but with an effort to develop the Zero Waste of Resources 2030 policy, these items will be recycled or reused.
Why is Zero Waste important?
Our consumption and disposal practices have a cumulative impact on the health of the planet. In King County over 800,000 tons of garbage is handled each year. Keeping materials with reuse or recycling value out of the landfill allows room for "true" garbage and allows the landfill to function longer. Reaching for a Zero Waste of Resources future is the responsible thing to do in the face of limited natural resources, ever expanding population growth and economic potential with remanufacture
What is a wasted resource?
A wasted resource is something thrown away that could have been used again either in its original form (like a chair, article of clothing, toy or book) or remanufactured into new product (like a newspaper, a cardboard box, a bottle, a fleece blanket or jacket, an aluminum can, plastic lumber, or a soil amendment like compost).
Innovation and technology create new products all the time with products we are done with. Even old CDs and DVDs can be made into such things as building insulation, packaging foam and coat hangers! Remember the old saying "one man's trash is another's treasure."
Examples of Zero Waste Activities
Electronics and Fluorescents
How can you help?
Rethink and reduce your purchases and practices, reuse materials recycle the things that are recyclable.
What Happens to Recyclables?
See What Happens to Your Recyclables in this 10 minute video. Please choose your preferred video format:
Updated: Jul. 12, 2012