We have all heard about the impact our waste has on the earth, on animals, and on people: the island of plastic and other debris trapped by the gyre in the North Pacific Ocean; birds dying, malnourished, their stomachs full of plastic bits; whole communities, often of lower income, falling ill because of improperly disposed industrial waste; how landfill gas contributes significantly to climate change, and so on. It is daunting! What can one person do? Thankfully, Zero Waste is a concept and goal that is gaining traction around the world. It is not just about recycling, but is about changing systems at the government, corporate, and household levels.
The Town of Fairfax has embraced the Zero Waste movement by passing a resolution to achieve ninety-four percent diversion from landfill by 2020. This means that only six percent of all our waste will end up in the landfill; the remaining ninety-four percent will be reduced and reclaimed! Earlier this year the Town of Fairfax and Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) contracted with Sustainable Fairfax to help achieve this zero waste goal. Fairfax is joining communities around the world in creating less waste and we are excited to get going.
Dealing with waste is a complicated matter. How do we dispose of the debris from our lives be it plastic, rotten food, last season’s clothing, a broken toy, dead cell phone, expired medicines, or anything else? Especially when you wonder where does this—paper bag, juice box, old cauliflower, battery—go? Do I put it in the garbage, green waste can, compost bin, or is it hazardous waste? Marin Sanitary Service (MSS) and Sustainable Fairfax can help you answer many of these questions.
Through this monthly blog we invite you to join us on the road to Zero Waste. Our aim is to make it as simple as possible by offering ways to cut down on waste and maybe even save you some money! We will be starting at home first. Further along the way we will address other routes to attain Zero Waste such as advocating for governmental policies that curb waste and helping producers understand their responsibility for packaging through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). After all we, the consumers, pay for discarding this packaging, not to mention the cost to the environment. We look forward to many fruitful conversations as we change our habits and discover a more sustainable and expansive awareness of waste.
Look for our Green Tips Blog the first week of every month and see you on the Road to Zero Waste!
Sustainable Fairfax Zero Waste Committee Liaison