A zero waste strategy is based on an ambitious waste prevention policy, proactive reuse, and optimised separate collection of waste at source to guarantee quality recycling. By reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, zero waste strategies are faster to implement, cheaper to operate and safer for the environment than traditional waste management.
Since January 2015, it is mandatory to source separate waste in the European Union (EU). This main idea is: “separated things stay separated“.
In Berlin, for example, households are serviced via a six-bin system: plastic and metal, coloured glass, clear glass, paper, organics, and residual waste. Separating waste at the source also reduces cross-contamination during collection and processing, which enables high quality recycling and further diversion from incineration and landfill.
Organics: Composting & Fermentation
Making Compost in Munich
Biowaste has been collected Munich-wide in brown containers since 1999. Since the end of 2007, up to 20,000 tons of biowaste are recycled annually in a large-scale dry fermentation plant operated by the Munich Waste Management Company Abfallwirtschaftsbetrieb München (AWM).
This green process produces biogas to generate renewable energy, as well as high quality compost and soil for local residents and farmers.
Driving with biogas in Berlin
Potato peel, old bread, apple cores – organic waste accrues in every kitchen. But rather than throwing it away, it can instead be used to power engines – and already fuels 150 garbage trucks in Germany’s capital Berlin.
Food Donation: Feed People Not Landfill [NSW]
Every year in NSW, households and businesses throw away a million tonnes of food. Yet up to 100,000 people each month go hungry. Food agencies estimate 34% more food is needed to meet current demand for help. The NSW Environment Protection Authority and Environmental Trust are helping to close the gap between these two statistics by funding new equipment to help food relief agencies grow.
For more information, visit: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/managewaste/food-donation.htm
Love Food Hate Waste [VIC]
Each week the contents of our weekly garbage bins contain a large amount of food waste.
Some of this can’t be avoided, such as tea bags and orange peels. But much of it can be – in fact 25% of the contents of our garbage bins is made up of avoidable food waste – food that was purchased with the intention of being eaten but was instead discarded.
Love Food Hate Waste is a campaign that aims to raise awareness about avoidable food waste from Victorian households.
Reducing food waste benefits our environment and can also save households money – Victorian households estimate that they throw away up to $2200 a year in wasted food (Sustainability Victoria, 2014).
For more information, visit: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.vic.gov.au
Shellharbour FOGO Collection
The Shellharbour Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) Collection Service means residents can place ALL their food waste (scraps, leftovers, take away and out of date food) in their green lid bin together with their regular garden material.
Since weekly FOGO was introduced, the city collects almost 11,000 tonnes of organic waste per year!
Composting in Cooma
Cooma-Monaro Shire makes nutrient-rich compost from food and garden organics collected from households. Processed locally, the finished product is sold under the name of ‘Coompost’.
Zero Waste Case Studies: Italy
Zero Waste Europe – January 2015
The public company Contarina serves the districts of Priula and Treviso in Northern Italy, the best performers in waste prevention and recycling in a wide area in Europe. What is the secret the allows Contarina to recycle two times the European average and generate five times less residual waste? Find out by reading this case study!
Zero Waste Europe – June 2016
In the North of Italy, the City of Parma presents a vivid example of a transition from traditional waste management to Zero Waste in only 4 years. The key for their success: political will, involvement of civil society and a strategy based on minimising residual waste.