The ‘Zero Waste’ approach has been adopted as a guiding principle in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s Solid Waste Management Plan. Zero Waste is defined as a ‘whole systems’ approach that considers the flow of products and materials from the first stages of product and process design, through resource extraction, manufacturing, consumption and disposal.
With the product ‘whole systems’ perspective, waste is seen as more than just garbage – it is seen as a potentially valuable resource. Additionally, potential waste generators are not only those disposing of the product, but also those involved at any point in the entire life cycle of the product.
Given this broader perspective, the Zero Waste approach aims to minimize the consumption of materials at the beginning of the product ‘life cycle,’ in order to reduce the environmental impact of the product at the later stages
A simple example are carrots that you buy at a local farmers market. If the carrots were grown organically and transported by bicycle, the producer has already reduced the environmental impact of the product by reducing harmful fuel emissions and pesticides. If you take the carrots home in a cloth bag and compost the carrot tops, you can produce a nutrient-rich soil that you can use in your garden to produce your own carrots.
Key Zero Waste concepts include:
- Designing products and processes to minimize pollution and enhance durability and recyclability;
- Creating jobs and economic opportunities from the management of discards;
- Producer responsibility for the life cycle costs and impacts of their products; and
- Building and enhancing the infrastructure for reuse, recycling and composting.
What is the SLRD doing to move towards Zero Waste? Check out our Zero Waste Blog for the latest updates, as well as: