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ZERO WASTE

Let’s fix our waste problem! Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair!

MASSACHUSETTS  >  BROOKLINE CHAPTER  >  ZERO WASTE

Why Zero Waste?

The Earth, our beloved home, has been depleted and degraded by excessive human consumption – especially in wealthier countries such as the United States.  We are mining precious resources and accumulating trash at unsustainable rates. Trash that goes to incinerators and overloaded landfills which poison the planet and our bodies. 

Zero Waste is a global movement focused on eliminating the unnecessary, making reuse the norm, and recycling the rest so we can have a healthier planet for ourselves and our children.

Achieving zero waste requires both individual and collective action. Individuals can choose to avoid single use items, such as cups and bags. And when we work together, we can create policy changes that will force industry to develop more sustainable and responsible practices.

It’s Achievable

Zero Waste sounds impossible, but communities around the world are making changes to policy and behavior that lead to success.

San Francisco was the first US city to make both composting and recycling mandatory and ban non-recyclable/non-compostable single use containers for foodservice. It regulates construction and demolition debris as well. From 2000-2012 it reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills by 50%, and has a current goal to reduce that waste by another 50% by 2030.

In Kamikatsu Japan, residents separate non-organic waste into 45 different categories, pulling apart items made from multiple materials and wash everything before delivering it to the municipal recycling center. Whereas the rest of Japan incinerates 78% of their solid waste, Kamikatsu composts 100% of its organic waste and recycles 81% of the remaining waste.

Did You Know?

  • Brookline’s trash gets hauled over 50 miles to Rochester, MA to be incinerated.
  • From 1950-2015, 9% of all plastics made had been recycled, 12% had been incinerated, and 60% had entered the natural environment in landfills or as litter. We need to eliminate single use plastics!
  • Plastic alternatives, including bio-based plastic, paper, wood/bamboo and aluminum ALL have harmful environmental impacts. We need to transition to reusables!
  • In Massachusetts, food waste is estimated at 25% of total trash. Let’s get it composted and returned to the earth instead!
  • Textiles are estimated at 6% of our trash stream, but can often be either reused or recycled instead. We need a successful textile recovery program!

Resources

Books

Zero Waste Living by Stephanie Miller

“Empowering the busy individual to do the easy things that have a real impact on the climate and waste crises.”

The Zero Waste Solution by Paul Connet

Read about “the most successful zero-waste initiatives around the world, showing activists, planners, and entrepreneurs how to re-envision their community’s waste-handling process.”

Reuse It! by Mary Boone

For kids! Wonderful early reader that introduces kids to our waste problem and how kids can be part of the solution.

Podcasts

The Indisposable Podcast by Upstream Solutions

“Celebrating solutions to plastic pollution and featuring heroes of the movement”

Recycling! Is it BS?  from How to Save a Planet

“In this episode, we take a look at the science to help you understand whether recycling is an environmental boon or hindrance, and we open up the Pandora’s box that is plastic.”

Facebook Groups

Buy Nothing Brookline

Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share in Brookline’s Buy Nothing community group, and ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow.

Zero Waste Massachusetts

Find information on how to reduce waste and live plastic-free. Explore recipes, events, and tips and share your experiences, achievements, and projects!

Zero Waste Moms

“Zero Waste Moms is a group for anyone, especially mothers, concerned about the state of our environment and making more informed choices that positively affect future generations.”

Films

The Story of Plastic from the Discovery Channel

A feature length documentary that “presents a cohesive timeline of how we got to our current global plastic pollution crisis, and how the oil and gas industry has successfully manipulated the narrative around it.”

The Plastic Problem: A PBS Newshour Documentary

An hour long documentary to “look at this now ubiquitous material and how it’s impacting the world, why it’s become so prevalent, what’s being done to mitigate its use, and what potenial alternatives or solutions are out there.”

Online Resources

Zero Waste Activism Toolkit from the Conservation Law Foundation

Join Us!

You don’t have to be a mother to join the movement. Our Zero Waste campaign team welcomes new members. Sign up for email updates or to volunteer.

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