What is Zero Waste?

What is Zero Waste?

There has been an intense call to the zero waste concept from all over the planet lately. This call is a stance against the waste generation of the earth, which emerged about a hundred years ago and accelerated after the Second World War.


In the nineteenth century, even in the Western world, households produced very little waste. Excess foods are boiled in boilers to make soup or feed animals, and things that lose their use for adults would be toys for children. Broken objects were repaired, and durable and precious items such as furniture and watches were passed from generation to generation. In agriculture and animal husbandry, organic fertilizer was used as fertilizer, old shoddy and fabric pieces are used in papermaking, bones are used in soap production, ashes are used to control harmful plants and as fertilizer. This has lasted for hundreds of years, and people have created their cyclic economies by producing almost zero waste.


But after the industrial revolution, many of them were lost. Before this period, the waste issue was a concern that people experienced quite rarely. Urbanization and lifestyles that have started to change with the rising population have been almost entirely different from the progress of assembly line activities producing mass and cheap products worldwide. Thus, this system laid the foundations of a consumer society that preferred easy-to-use and disposable products, especially starting from the USA.


Did Someone Say Zero Waste?

The term zero waste was used for the first time in an industrial field, irrespective of environmental problems. In 1970, Paul Palmer, a Ph.D. chemist with a Ph.D. degree from Yale, the founder of the Zero Waste Institute in Vacaville, California, was interested in environmental waste rather than for scientific purposes. Palmer noticed that high-tech businesses in Silicon Valley, which was still developing at that time, had thrown away many valuable and clean chemicals that could be reused. As a result, he established a company marketing waste products. Over time, the company identified new uses for each chemical discharged in Silicon Valley. Palmer's definition of zero waste was based on the principle that materials should be reused rather than disposed of once.


What is Zero Waste? 

Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles for the reuse of all products. The aim is not to send any waste to landfills, waste incineration ovens, or the ocean. The proposed process is similar to the way resources are reused in nature. The definition adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance is as follows: Zero Waste is an ethical, economical, efficient and visionary goal, and aims to direct people to change their way of life and to sustain their lives by taking sustainable natural cycle. In this concept, the main idea is to use each waste as the source of another cycle. Zero Waste means the design and management of products and processes to systematically prevent and eliminate the volume and toxicity of wastes and materials, to conserve and save all resources, and to prevent incineration or burial of waste. Zero Waste philosophy, if applied correctly, will eliminate all harmful discharges to the soil, water, and air, which pose a threat to the health of the planet, human, animal, and plant.