Sustainability 101

Trend: Zero Waste
A Tale Of Two Cities

At this year’s Earth Day events, we put the focus on Zero Waste, encouraging everyone to reimagine waste, to:

  • think of waste as simply a resource that is out of place.
  • think of a waste stream as a value stream.

Why? Because this is key to the idea of Zero Waste.  The goal of a Zero Waste economy is not only to generate less waste and use less materials, but also to make sure that whatever we produce can become a resource that others can reuse.

Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Austin, Minneapolis and other cities are adopting Zero Waste plans, and more will follow.

But getting to Zero Waste can be a challenge.  Success depends on many factors, from consumer attitudes and producer responsibility, to commercial markets, the availability of facilities, legislation, and other factors.

“It requires a paradigm shift or a new way of thinking about consumption and garbage,” notes Steven Cohen.

In his recent article, Getting to Zero Waste, he compares how San Francisco and New York City is doing in a tale of two cities working to reach Zero Waste.

“Here he’s got a good sense of the difficulties New York will have getting to zero waste. I think the real purpose of his post is to get some competitive spirit going – hence the San Francisco comparison – and bolster the issue of waste,” says Anna Dengler, Great Forest’s V.P. of business operations, who used to study under professor Cohen at Columbia University.

“When we students first arrived looking to get a Masters in Sustainability Management, he said he hoped that one day our program wouldn’t need to exist anymore, and that sustainability would simply be part of any business management degree,” remembers Dengler.

Read the full article: Getting to Zero Waste – San Francisco and New York are a tale of two cities

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