Show me the plan: why zero waste initiatives ultimately fail
Zero Waste has become one of the most commonly-declared sustainability-related goals worldwide, evolving from grassroots activism several decades ago, to official government policy in more recent years. While the actual intended meaning of the term varies from literal to metaphoric, increasing numbers of governments have gone as far as setting specific targets as ambitious as zero waste to landfill. However, the zero waste movement has proven to be a global failure, with a thorough investigation of initiatives worldwide yielding no cases where significant waste reduction has resulted – let alone the total elimination of waste. A study of zero waste initiatives around the world reveals that these programs consistently lead to a void, where one might expect to find a detailed plan for achieving success. This study observes that even the most literal interpretation of zero waste is attainable – particularly from a biomimetic framework which acknowledges the ability of all non-human species to thrive without the need for landfills or incinerators. The failure of zero waste initiatives, then – starting with Canberra’s missed deadline of 2010 and New Zealand’s abandonment of the goal in the same year – is not due to an inability to plan for success, but rather to an unwillingness to do so. The role of various stakeholder groups are considered in this context: elected officials, government staff, industry representatives, grassroots leaders, and the general public – and the findings show that this unwillingness is deeply entrenched in all groups.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordszero waste initiatives; environmental management; waste management; Plastic Shopping Bag (PSB); public policy; Post Graduate Conference
TypeConference Contribution - Unpublished (Conference Oral Presentation)
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