Inspiring Communities to Embrace and Achieve Zero Waste

Envision A World Without Waste!
Strive for Zero Waste:
Redesign, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot and Recycle
No Burn, No Bury, No Toxic Emissions!

A major hub of the broad and diverse Zero Waste movement, Zero Waste USA’s mission is to facilitate the transition to a just world without waste, promote the Zero Waste brand – No Burn, No Bury, No Toxics, and insure it is not diluted by short term interests. We collaborate with a wide variety of groups and individuals across the globe to organize events and projects – local, regional, national and international, offer resources, tools and strategies, provide a sophisticated training and recognition program and maintain a network of speakers and organizers able to assist communities and advocates in the pursuit of Zero Waste. We are funded by volunteers, grants, sponsorships, trainings and project fees.

Founded in 1996 as the GrassRoots Recycling Network, in 2014 we shifted to the name that fits us better – Zero Waste USA!

Collaboration: One of the many leadership organizations and individuals that founded the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) in 2002, ZWUSA is committed to ZWIA’s internationally peer-reviewed definitions and principles:

Definition: Zero Waste is 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. ZWIA, 2004, updated 2009 and 2018 A primary goal of organizing the Zero Waste International Alliance in 2002 was to establish standards to guide the development of Zero Waste in the world.

The Planning Group of the Zero Waste International Alliance adopted the first peer-reviewed internationally accepted definition on November 29, 2004 and refined it in 2009 and 2018.

Measures of success are outlined in the:

Zero Waste Business Principles

Global Principles for Zero Waste Communities

Zero Waste Hierarchy of Highest and Best Uses.

Serving as ZWIA’s fiscal agent and administrative sponsor, ZWUSA manages its listserv and produces the bi-annual Zero Waste International Dialog. We also host the National Zero Waste Advisory CouncilZero Waste Communities Yahoo Group and the Green Yes List Serve, and co-sponsor the Zero Waste Brain Trust. A founding member of the US Zero Waste Business Council, we support its work in certifying Zero Waste businesses that meet the strict yet achievable requirements of the ZWIA Business Recognition program.

 ZWUSA National Zero Waste Action Conferences:
— 2017, International Dialog, SWANA/ISWA, Baltimore, MD
— 2013, International Dialog, Zero Waste Week, SF Bay Area
— 2012, Rockford, IL – Agenda      Presentations
— 2011, San Diego, CA – Agenda and Presentations
— 2009, Devens, MA – Recycling & Zero Waste Conference

Toolkit: To assist in moving communities toward high diversion and Zero Waste, we have compiled one of the largest collection of Zero Waste resources and publications in the world. Slowly but surely they are being added to the Zero Waste Communities Toolkit. As components of the Toolkit are released for review, we will solicit corrections and additions

Training: Zero Waste USA provides the highest quality educational programs and technical assistance – including publications, workshops and webinars.

Community Recognition: The sole national ZWIA affiliate for business and community recognition, the Zero Waste USA Recognition Program provides a path for communities to move toward high diversion and Zero Waste best practices.

Defending the Zero Waste Brand                                               Zero Landfill is not Zero Waste
Compostable Organics Out of Landfills (COOL)                          Product Policies – Recycle or Ban

More History: 
Over its twenty-year history, GRRN’s work has led to significant changes in Coke’s usage of recycled PET in making their new bottles, which then influenced the practices of other bottlers and changed the national economics for recycling PET plastic scrap.

GRRN co-coordinated the national Computer TakeBack Campaign, we successfully changed the national practices around using prison labor to break down old equipment, as well as getting industry leaders to agree to producer responsibility principles and create awareness and interest in “take back” responsibilities for all consumer electronics companies and products.

GRRN launched a consumer campaign and renewed market push against polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. GRRN prepared two reports debunking the myth of PVC recycling: “Message in a Bottle: The Impacts of PVC on Plastics Recycling” providing evidence surrounding the myth of PVC bottle recycling; namely that it does not exist, cannot exist, and is not wanted. Successes: In 2004 Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson, agreed to phase out PVC packaging. Following these successes, the PVC Consumer Campaign has evolved into a broad coalition of environmental, social justice, and health organizations led by the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice. Continued successes include Crabtree & Evelyn agreed to eliminate PVC packaging and Wal-Mart is eliminating PVC from its private label packaging.

Plastic Pollution
Climate justice
Waste management
Biodiversity / marine / wildlife protection
Environmental education
Environmental responsibility
Sustainable product development