Zero waste policy

Cardiff recycling lorry

Recycling in operation Photo: Chris Brown, Cardiff Friends of the Earth

Instead of sending waste to landfill or for incineration we should recycle or compost it.

Friends of the Earth believes that councils should adopt Zero Waste policies as a goal to be achieved within 25 years. Zero waste means we should:

  • look on waste as a valuable resource
  • reduce excessive packaging
  • improve the efficiency of product lifecycles
  • minimise excessive consumerism

Many multinational companies and cities around the world are already working towards zero waste. For example:

  • In 1999 Dunedin City Council, New Zealand set a target of Zero Waste sent to Landfill by 2015.
  • The Australian capital, Canberra, was the first large city to adopt a Zero Waste Target. In 2009/10 they recycled about 72 per cent of their waste. They recycled:
    • 85 per cent of paper, plastic, glass and metals
    • 90 per cent of green waste
    • 50 per cent of Commercial and Industrial waste
  • In 2005 Boulder County in Colorado, USA set a target to achieve zero waste by 2025. in 2009 they recycled 35 per cent.
  • In 2000 Porirua City Council, New Zealand adopted a Zero Waste Policy
  • Toyota aims to achieve Zero Waste:
    • Toyota’s Headquarters and nine facilities are sending Zero Waste to landfill
    • Ten plants are achieving 95 per cent waste reduction
    • Twelve distribution centers achieving over 90 per cent recycling rates
  • Xerox has reduced its waste by 90 per cent
  • Hewlett Packard have reduced their waste by 80 per cent
  • Fetzer Vineyards in California have reduced their waste by 94 per cent

Bath and North East Somerset Council was the first UK local authority to aim for zero waste. In 2010-11 it recycled 43 per cent of its waste. Leicester has set a target of achieving zero waste by 2020. In 2002-3, 86 per cent of Leicester’s household waste was sent to landfill, In 2010-11 it was 40 per cent.