Definition of Zero Waste

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 human health.

-Zero Waste International Alliance

Everything is healthy food for something else.


Zero waste often gets framed in terms of “diversion rate”, or how much material can we send somewhere besides landfill. The danger of this is that it hides the much more beneficial strategies like reusing, using less, using gentler, using longer, or—most importantly—not using at all.

No amount of diversion is going to solve the waste crisis. We need to stop producing waste (even if it’s compost, recycling, etc.) because most of the negative impact we’re hoping to avoid happens in production, not waste management.