What does Zero Waste mean?

The definition adopted by (Zero Waste International Alliance) is as follows: Zero Waste is an ethical, economical, efficient and visionary goal, and aims to direct people to change their lifestyles and lead their lives by taking sustainable natural cycles as an example. The main idea in this concept is based on the use of each waste generated as the source of another cycle. Zero Waste means the design and management of products and processes to systematically prevent and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, to protect and save all resources, and to avoid incineration of waste.

Zero Waste encourages not only reuse and recycling but more importantly, prevents and designs the entire product life cycle. These new designs aim to reduce material usage, use of recycled material, use of more secondary materials, longer material life, repairability and easy removal at the end of its life.

The Zero Waste strategy, when integrated into operational processes, provides a powerful target that can open innovative ways to understand what is happening, prevent and reduce any waste. It strongly supports sustainability by protecting the environment, reducing costs and providing new business opportunities to recycle waste into the industrial cycle. The Zero Waste strategy can be applied to all types of scales in businesses, communities, industrial sectors, schools, and homes.

Reconsideration / Designing: We must review and redesign our production system. We must produce our materials so that they can be reused, repaired, easily recycled, composted or sustainably harvested. We must shift our investments and financial supports to material production that supports the circular economy. Closed-Loop Systems must identify materials that are causing the problem and gradually remove them from use.

Decrease: To minimize spoilage and excessive consumption, we must reduce the consumption and purchase of easily degradable foodstuffs. We should prefer products that have a long lifetime or can be used repeatedly. We should focus on easily and continuously recyclable materials. While doing this, we should pay attention to optimum production and free of toxic substances.

Reuse: We must maximize the use of products and materials. To maintain the value, function, and functionality of the products, we must take care to protect, repair and refurbish. We should try to use the products again in alternative ways.

Recycle / Compost: To maintain all the capacity of the products and keep them in their natural cycles, we must support working practices and increase their effectiveness. We must make system changes that facilitate the use of the best and highest material, including organic waste. We must develop local markets and bulk material use. We must support and improve composting as close as possible to the source that produces organic waste. (in order of priority; houses, housing estate or local composting areas)

Material improvement: We must increase the material yield from mixed collected waste and conduct research for areas that can be used after separating at the source.

Waste Management (Biological Treatment and Waste Area Reclamation): After all these steps, we must examine the remaining material and develop rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling practices using the information we have obtained to prevent further waste. During these processes, we must reduce gas production and release and collect the gas produced as a result of the reactions. We should use the existing storage area most efficiently and make improvements to extend its life. We must make sure that it is managed responsibly.

Undesirable (Combustion and “From Waste to Energy”): We should not support policies and practices that encourage destructive disposal of organic waste and waste of recyclable materials.

We should not let the waste be burned. We must prevent toxic substances from mixing with consumer products or building materials.

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