Freshkills Park Blog

Zero waste strategies are catching on

Waste sorting in Nantucket, a model for zero-waste, has reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill to 8%, compared with 66% in Massachusetts as a whole.  The city has accomplished this through diligent sorting, an expansion of mandated recycling, industrial composting and a community swap shop.

Waste sorting in Nantucket, a model for zero waste, has reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill to 8%, compared with 66% in Massachusetts as a whole. The island has accomplished this through diligent sorting, an expansion of mandated recycling, industrial composting and a community swap shop.

The New York Times surveys the growth of “zero waste” strategies in the US among private companies, institutions and entire municipalities.  “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” are really coming of age: biodegradable utensils, large-scale composting and citywide, warehouse-like free swap shops.  And it’s not just hippies and treehuggers participating anymore.

Though born of idealism, the zero-waste philosophy is now propelled by sobering realities, like the growing difficulty of securing permits for new landfills and an awareness that organic decay in landfills releases methane that helps warm the earth’s atmosphere.

The municipal programs are the most inspiring.  The story notes that Nantucket only sends 8% of its waste to landfills now–its landfill is actually shrinking, thanks to an entity that searches the landfill for materials it can resell like sand and aluminum.  (The slide show about Nantucket is really worth checking out).

While not as comprehensive, it’s still impressive that San Francisco has successfully outlawed landfill-bound disposal of food waste.  Ottawa has also recently joined that cause.

October 26, 2009 - Posted by | FKP | , , ,

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