Moving Toward Zero Waste is about recovering resources, not burning or burying them. It often means saving money, and always means preserving our lands, waters, and air, as well as human health. By fully using resources, we avoid toxic waste and discharges.
Reduce & Refuse
When it comes to zero waste, one of the most effective things you can do to reduce waste is to simply refuse it. Often this comes down to refusing single-use and finding solutions before creating the problem. That is why Reduce is the first “R” included in the paradigm shift needed to move toward zero waste.
Redesign may be the most pivotal “R” in moving toward zero waste. Dozens of organizations have cut costs and increased revenues after looking with fresh eyes to redesign “waste as usual.” The most dramatic successes come with a shift in thinking to seeing waste as a measure of inefficiency. This shift allows waste reduction opportunities to be measured and managed, improving the bottom line as well as social and environmental performance.
Reuse & Repair
One of the most obvious ways to keep stuff out of the landfill is to keep using it. Fortunately there are lots of ways to do that, and more are being invented all the time. Whether it’s putting a perfectly good sofa out on the street with a sign that says “Free” or making your own 3-D printer filament from milk jugs in your garage, Missoula is a great place to close the loop.
Recycling is the last line of defense before sending something to the landfill. Recycling helps reduce the number of raw resources needed to make new products by extracting valuable resources from an existing product.
Unfortunately, the resources that don’t have reuse, repair, or recycling options in Missoula must be sent to the landfill. This is where solutions are needed. As with glass, Missoula’s food scraps remain an opportunity in search of solutions, a ripe target for savvy entrepreneurs.