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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Jobalia

From Landfills to Reuse: Understanding the Zero Waste Movement

January 5th, 2023

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is a set of principles that focuses on waste prevention and encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products can be reused. The goal of the Zero Waste movement is to eliminate trash from being sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Instead of disposing of waste at the end of its life, Zero Waste aims to keep materials in use for as long as possible and then recycle them into new products.

Why is Zero Waste important?

Currently, only 9% of global plastic is recycled, and the spread of industrialization has led to an increase in waste production. The World Bank estimates that municipal waste produced by urban populations will reach 2.2 billion tons by 2025. Landfills are often located in areas of low socioeconomic status with predominantly non-white populations, leading to environmental and social injustices.

By adopting Zero Waste principles, we can reduce pollution, conserve resources, and lower costs by reducing the need for raw materials. Zero Waste also promotes a shift from the linear "cradle-to-grave" model, in which materials are extracted, used to create products, and then disposed of, to a more cyclical "cradle-to-cradle" model in which materials are recycled and reused.

How can I practice Zero Waste?

Individuals can practice Zero Waste by reducing their consumption, reusing items, and recycling when necessary. Here are some specific actions you can take:

  • Bring your own reusable bags, containers, and utensils when shopping or dining out.

  • Repair items instead of replacing them.

  • Buy products with minimal packaging or packaging that can be easily recycled.

  • Recycle properly by checking with your local recycling facility for guidelines on what can and cannot be recycled.

  • Compost food scraps and yard waste instead of sending them to the landfill.

On a larger scale, governments and businesses can also adopt Zero Waste principles by designing products and packaging to be reusable or easily recyclable, implementing policies to reduce waste, and investing in recycling infrastructure.

By working towards Zero Waste, we can create a more sustainable and equitable society for ourselves and future generations.

Zero Waste International Alliance

The Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) is a global organization that promotes the principles of Zero Waste and works towards the goal of eliminating waste through practical applications and public education. The ZWIA believes that the technology and methods needed to achieve Zero Waste already exist in every community around the world and aims to connect communities with leaders in the field who can provide them with the knowledge and resources to implement Zero Waste principles. The ZWIA operates at the international, national, and local levels and involves all sectors of society. Its vision is a world of vibrant, resilient communities that live in harmony with nature and operate on Zero Waste principles, and its mission is to drive systemic change toward Zero Waste using environmental and social justice principles. The ZWIA has identified several charter principles that guide its work, including the need to convert waste to resource management, redesign products, and production methods to eliminate waste, resist incineration and landfilling, and collaborate with others with common interests.


ClearCOGS uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help restaurants run more efficiently and increase profitability. In addition to its core services, ClearCOGS is also committed to helping restaurants reduce their waste and adopt Zero Waste principles.

One way that ClearCOGS is helping restaurants achieve Zero Waste is by providing them with data-driven insights on how to optimize their operations and reduce waste. For example, by analyzing data on food prep and ordering, ClearCOGS can help restaurants reduce food waste by forecasting their demand more accurately and ordering the right amount of ingredients. This not only helps restaurants save money, but it also reduces the amount of food that goes to waste.

Overall, ClearCOGS is helping restaurants become more sustainable and efficient by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to adopt Zero Waste practices. By using ClearCOGS, restaurants can not only improve their bottom line, but also make a positive impact on the environment.


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