Communities worldwide are committing to zero waste goals. First was Canberra, Australia in 1996. New Zealand pledged in 2008 to eliminate landfills after 72% of its towns set zero waste goals. The European Parliament followed suit in 2012, anticipating that “By 2020 waste is managed as a resource. Waste generated per capita is in absolute decline.” These communities are creating business opportunities, changing infrastructure, raising public awareness and participation, and building local climate resilience.

San Francisco
Adopted a Zero Waste Strategy in 2002 with a goal of 90% diversion.
2006: Mandatory construction and demolition debris recovery program.
2007-2008: Grocery ban on plastic bags.
2009-2010: Household composting/recycling program with fines and incentives.
2012-2013: Retail and restaurant ban on plastic bags.
2014: Plastic water bottle ban.
NEXT: Product packaging and disposable diapers.

Seattle
Adopted a Zero Waste Strategy with the goal of 70% diversion by 2025.
2008: Styrofoam ban. Expanded recycling and composting.
2009: Expanded organic waste pick-up service.
2010: Required fast food restaurants to supply recycling bins.
2010: Created “Do not mail registry.”
2012: Plastic bag ban. 2015: Implemented fines for compostables in trash.
NEXT: Plastic bag ban and construction/demo waste recycling requirements.

Other US communities include:
Middletown, Connecticut (pop: 47,000) Kaua’i County, Hawaii (pop: 66,000) Boulder, Colorado (pop: 100,000) Fort Collins, Colorado (pop: 150,000) Minneapolis, Minnesota (pop: 390,000)

Missoula??
The City of Missoula’s Climate Action Plan aims for a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. A complementary community based project is Climate Smart Missoula, which aims to coordinate community-wide climate strategies. One part of this effort is Zero Waste Missoula, a coalition aiming to move Missoula toward zero waste. Mayor Engen even proclaimed April 2015 is Moving Missoula Toward Zero Waste month!