The Zero Waste Solution
Untrashing the Planet One Community at a Time
By Paul Connett
Waste is something we all make every day but often pay little attention to. That’s changing, and model programs around the globe show the many different ways a community can strive for, and achieve, zero-waste status.
Scientist-turned-activist Paul Connett, a leading international figure in decades-long battles to fight pollution, has championed efforts to curtail overconsumption and keep industrial toxins out of our air and drinking water and bodies. But he’s best known around the world for leading efforts to help communities deal with their waste in sustainable ways—in other words, to eliminate and reuse waste rather than burn it or stow it away in landfills.
In The Zero Waste Solution, Connett profiles the most successful zero-waste initiatives around the world, showing activists, planners, and entrepreneurs how to re-envision their community’s waste-handling process—by consuming less, turning organic waste into compost, recycling, reusing other waste, demanding nonwasteful product design, and creating jobs and bringing community members together in the process. The book also exposes the greenwashing behind renewed efforts to promote waste incinerators as safe, nontoxic energy suppliers, and gives detailed information on how communities can battle incineration projects that, even at their best, emit dangerous particles into the atmosphere, many of which remain unregulated or poorly regulated.
An important toolkit for anyone interested in creating sustainable communities, generating secure local jobs, and keeping toxic alternatives at bay.
Reviews and Praise
"This is both a handbook for and history of the zero waste movement worldwide. Connett became involved in the movement in 1985 when an incinerator—and its poisonous dioxin emissions—was slated for construction near his community. He has been a major player ever since. This text has three parts: an overview of zero waste’s history, philosophy, and practical steps; examples of initiatives worldwide; and essays by prominent activists. Connett castigates burn-and-bury (i.e., incinerators and landfills) as wasteful, expensive, and deleterious to health and presents factual backup. To “reduce, reuse, recycle” he adds “redesign” to limit the flood of disposable goods. Connett advocates that businesses take responsibility for disposal of goods not easily recycled. San Francisco’s zero waste prominence is no surprise, but Italy’s is eye-opening. The author offers plenty of paths to zero waste, from donkeys providing recycling transport in Italian hill towns to econometric analysis in Seattle. VERDICT Community organizers, environmentalists, and environmental studies students will all benefit from this work … . The book also includes a rich list of resources for further study."
“This would have been the book to have when we first began fighting the incinerator proposal in our region of Ontario. It’s full of relevant, factual information and suggests specific questions to pose to decision makers and regulators. It also demonstrates that a sustainable zero-waste strategy is achievable, and far more preferable than society’s current focus on waste disposal.”--Kerry Meydam and Wendy Bracken, Durham Environment Watch, and Louis Bertrand and Linda Gasser, Zero Waste 4 Zero Burning, Ontario
"Connett's book should inspire everyone personally, citizens' groups, and all levels of government to reduce waste—an insidious problem engulfing the world."--Theo Colborn, president, TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange); professor emeritus, University of Florida; honorary professor of science, University of Colorado; and lead author of Our Stolen Future
"Paul Connett's heroic drive to trim our culture's crazy waste has helped produce the powerful movement chronicled here—an inspiration to us all!"--Bill McKibben, author of Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist
"Connett's book correctly illuminates the essential nature of citizen-led movements for true zero-waste solutions to transform society. Using Connett's methods, The It's Not Garbage Coalition in Nova Scotia stopped a string of imported garbage incinerators, a PCB incinerator, a medical waste incinerator, a massive MSW incinerator, and a sewage sludge incinerator.By 1994 we had a province-wide ban on incineration and a citizen-designed, world-leading system aimed toward zero waste. With the wisdom in this book, you can achieve results like this too!"--David Wimberly, co-chair, The It's Not Garbage Coalition
"In this era of mounting environmental problems, we need more spotlights on solutions—not theoretical ones, but real, on-the-ground ones we can start implementing in our communities today.The Zero Waste Solution is just what the doctor ordered! Packed with inspiring case studies and helpful guidance, Connett's book lays out a roadmap of how to turn our wasteful consumer lifestyle into one of sustainability and health. Read this book and join the movement for real solutions!"--Annie Leonard, author, The Story of Stuff
“Paul Connett is one of the few people I know who can make waste interesting. In this book, he glides you through the diverse world of garbage and guides you to the many, ready, efficient, and safe solutions that don't involve you breathing in the toxics of the incinerator industry.”--Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and author, The Seventeen Solutions
"The Zero Waste Solution is for all those concerned about humanity's health and environment. Essential reading for anyone fighting landfills, incineration, overpackaging, and the other byproducts of our unthinking and irresponsible throwaway society."--Jeremy Irons, actor; executive producer of Trashed