Frequently Asked Questions
- Zero waste means products are designed and used according to the waste reduction hierarchy (prevent waste, reduce and reuse first, then recycle and compost) and the principle of highest and best use, so no material goes to landfill or high-temperature destruction. -source
- No. Bottles & jars do not require washing to place into a recycle bin. Washing is a big waste of water. Use a rubber scrapper to clean out what you can. To prevent odors and conserve water, rinse in your sink water at end of day.
- There are many important reasons why zero waste is essential. Our climate is only one of them. For instance, reducing and reusing materials create even more jobs in rental and sharing businesses (e.g. car-sharing, tool rental), repair and tailoring, and reuse businesses. Local money is spent on local jobs and stays within the community instead of leaving the community to buy imported products. Additionally, a zero waste approach conserves natural resources and reduces pollution from extraction, manufacturing and disposal. Reducing and reusing means fewer products are made, as people buy less and as products are made to last. Recycling keeps waste out of landfills and incinerators and provides manufacturers with recycled instead of raw materials to make new goods. -source
- The term “recycle” refers to the process in which an item or its components are used to create something new. Plastic bottles are recycled and made into carpet, pathways and benches. Glass and aluminum are other commonly recycled materials. Recycling is technically a form of reusing, but it refers more specifically to items that are discarded and broken down into their raw materials. Recycling companies convert the original item and then sell the now-usable material. Some companies purchase secondhand material and use it to manufacture a new product, which is another form of recycling.
- “Reuse” is a broad term that combines reusing materials and using items that have reusable qualities. Paper plates are an example of a nonreusable product. Cutlery that can be reused prevents waste at the landfill, but it also lowers the amount of energy needed to manufacture new products. Less pollution results, and more natural resources are left intact. Consider the possibilities of an item before discarding it, as it might be reused toward a different purpose than originally intended. An old shirt may become a car rag. Though reuse is different from reducing use, when an item is reused, consumption is reduced as a by-product. -source
- Keeping purchases to a minimum is an important way of reducing the toll on the Earth’s resources. Lowering consumption is the key to the concept of reducing, which can apply to physical objects as well as natural resources, such as gas, electricity and water. Not to be confused with reusing or recycling, reducing means lowering or eradicating use from the start. Cutting back on unnecessary purchases lowers the rate at which materials are used, but also effectively lowers the energy, gas and transportation costs that are accrued when an item is made and sold. The term “reduce” clearly applies to lifestyle. Reducing driving would mean combining trips, carpooling, and walking, biking, and taking public transportation when possible. Taking shorter showers, landscaping appropriately to the local climate and replacing older, less efficient appliances with Energy Star appliances all fit under the reducing concept. -source
- Compost is decomposed organic material. Compost is made with material such as leaves, shredded twigs, and kitchen scraps from plants.
- To gardeners, compost is considered “black gold” because of its many benefits in the garden. Compost is a great material for garden soil. Adding compost to clay soils makes them easier to work and plant. In sandy soils, the addition of compost improves the water holding capacity of the soil. By adding organic matter to the soil, compost can help improve plant growth and health.
- Composting is also a good way to recycle leaves and other yard waste. Instead of paying a company to haul away leaves, you can compost the leaves and return the nutrients to your garden. Instead of buying peat moss, save money and make your own compost! -source