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About Zero Waste

The Sierra Club’s policy for reducing waste is based on Zero Waste. Zero Waste is a design principle and planning approach for the environmental management of resources. It aims to prevent waste by design rather than manage it after the fact. Sierra Club’s Zero Waste policy addresses not only the quantity of waste we generate, but also its toxicity, its contribution to climate change, and the important links between waste reduction and corporate responsibility.

The goals of the Sierra Club Zero Waste policy integrate social, environmental and economic outcomes:

  • Protecting public health and the environment from pollution and greenhouse gas production.
  • Conserving raw materials and energy in the production, transportation, and disposal of goods.
  • Reducing over-consumption by encouraging the consumer to eliminate the purchase of unnecessary goods and packaging, especially for single use, disposable items.
  • Facilitating community economic development and local jobs in repairing, refurbishing and recycling.
  • Internalizing environmental and social costs in the prices of products and services.
  • Encouraging "Cradle to Cradle" design and management systems that cycle all materials safely back into the environment or the marketplace.

Southbridge, Massachusetts

It has been proposed that Southbridge, MA become the state's newest Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfill, with 60% of the waste destined for this site would be from Boston - which has a dismal 12% recycling rate (compared to Worcester's 44% and Foxboro's 65%). Should communities be required to decrease their trash and maximize their recycling before we seek to open additional landfills? Click here for more information.

For More Information

The Sierra Club's Zero Waste policy  www.sierraclub.org/committees/zerowaste/policy.pdf

Composting Information from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Single-serving packaging
Of all the garbage we generate, 1/3 is packaging that gets thrown away immediately. When we buy in bulk or in a concentrate form when possible, and avoid excessive packaging layers, we reduce waste. Our habits should include avoiding disposable products such as juice boxes or single serving snacks, and since almost all products require some packaging, we should choose ones with packaging that is recyclable.

Southbridge Dump Information
Southbridge Landfill is about to become the largest raw garbage landfill in Massachusetts. Casella Waste Systems plans to increase the permitted raw garbage to over 400,000 tons of municipal solid waste - raw garbage - there each year, including Boston and Springfield’s trash. Boston's trash would comprise about 60% of the materials. At a mere 12%, Boston's recycling rate is among the lowest in the commonwealth.

Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage
An award winning short 19-minute documentary about recycling and waste in the US. By renowned author Heather Rogers. The film entertaining and informative. It exposes the myth that recycling will solve all problems. It also points out the real problems, over-production and industrial pollution. Plus it explains corporate greenwashing and our economic system of 'built-in obsolescence.'

The Story of Stuff
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever. Click here.



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Click on our Logo to go to our Home Page at any time Click here to access the Inner City Outings page Click here to access Greater Boston Group page