Individual Zero Waste case studies

Zero waste is both a goal and a plan of action. The goal is to ensure resource  recovery and protect scarce natural resources by ending waste disposal in incinerators, dumps, and landfills. The plan encompasses waste reduction, composting, recycling and reuse, changes in consumption habits, and industrial redesign. But just as importantly, zero waste is a revolution in the relationship between waste and people. It is a new way of thinking that aims to safeguard the health and improve the lives of everyone who produces, handles, works with, or is affected by waste-in other words, all of us.

This set of zero waste case studies profiles nine diverse communities, each providing a real-world example of authentic progress toward the goal of zero waste.

Feel free to download, print, and disseminate the individual cases by clicking the links below.

Alaminos, Philippines - Village leadership has established comprehensive zero waste strategies, including backyard and village-level composting, source separation programs, and small-scale sorting facilities.

Buenos, Aires, Argentina - Cartoneros, or grassroots recyclers, have won legal and financial support from the city government as well as exclusive access to the city’s recyclables.

Flanders, Belgium - Flanders has the highest waste diversion rate in Europe thanks to regional policies that are highly coordinated with decentralized and efficient local programs.

Hernani, Spain - Citizens in Hernani stopped construction of two incinerators and established an ambitious program of door-to-door collection of source-separated waste, including organics.

La Pintana, Chile - This community found that recycling their largest segment of waste—fruits, vegetables, and yard clippings—could save them money, produce valuable compost, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mumbai, India - In this large city, a highly decentralized, people-powered model of waste management has reduced the need for costly transportation and landfill space while providing green jobs for waste pickers.

Pune, India - Pune’s waste pickers have created a cooperative that is pioneering a wide-reaching and rigorous zero waste program.

San Francisco, California - San Francisco has achieved 77 percent waste diversion by enacting strong waste reduction legislation, innovating new programs, and working to create a culture of recycling and composting.

Taiwan - The community’s fierce opposition to incineration not only stopped the construction of dozens of burners, but also drove the government to adopt goals and programs for waste prevention and recycling.

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