Inspiring Communities to Embrace and Achieve Zero Waste

Earth Day Pledge, 2020

EARTH DAY 2020 – LOOKING FORWARD 50 YEARS

Throughout history people have recycled and composted out of necessity. Always for materials. Organic discards were collected for animal food and soil amendment. Post WWII we applied wartime fixes of incineration and landfilling with cover to handle discards. In the early seventies the United States Congress passed the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts – but no clean land act. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) ruled that if you use land you could not pollute its air and/or water. Which of course incinerators and landfills do. As professionals in the field of resource conservation and recovery the following principles represents the proper management of discarded resources.

We know that:

We can work on our journey toward a world without wasting, through public education and the practical application of 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.”

We can work together as a global community to drive systemic change towards a just, Zero Waste world, founded on environmental and social justice, with vibrant communities, and in harmony with nature.

  • Source separation is a basic principle in the Zero Waste Approach.
  • Products and materials should be sorted into recyclable, compostable and/or reuse fractions. This sort creates work in collection and processing and produces feedstock for traditional and new industries (e.g., paper and compost).
  • Manufacturers must redesign products for recycling or composting as an end use after reuse and repair, and support recovery programs for any hazardous components
  • A closed circle economy must end subsidies for resource extraction, and support use of secondary (recycled) materials as a first choice for manufacturing.

Environmental justice is our standard in initiating the systems needed to replenish the planet and preserve biological life. An international community that can act on product and packaging policies and discarded material management through sharing and mentoring.

Our power as consumers is that if we do not buy the products, manufacturers must change or suffer the loss of our commerce.

Our power as advocates and professionals is that we can show what is possible.

We the undersigned encourage decision makers to take this direction in making policy for sustainability