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Why zero waste

From plastic packaging, to out-dated televisions and bins of debris outside construction sites, garbage can seem like an inevitable result of how we live our lives. It doesn’t have to be.

Vancouver's residents, businesses, and institutions threw away approximately 600 kg of garbage per person in 2015.

We need to think about waste differently – is our waste actually garbage?

Garbage contains valuable, recoverable, and recyclable materials that are a potential resource.  As resources become scarce, conserving and recovering what we already have is important.

Benefits of a zero waste community

  • Connecting People: zero waste initiatives inspire greater community involvement, partnerships, innovation, and sharing of materials. 
  • Building Prosperity: access to more green jobs, local development, and reduced costs related to the management of our waste. 
  • Protecting the Environment: reducing the amount of garbage sent to the landfill or incinerator will help to cut greenhouse gas emissions and support cleaner air, communities, and green spaces. 

Why we need to shift towards zero waste

  • Waste disposed at landfills and incinerators creates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with harmful climate-altering impacts.  
  • Valuable materials are often disposed of incorrectly and their value is lost when buried at the landfill or burned at the incinerator.
  • If we think about our waste in terms of value and resources, we should waste nothing and always choose to save by re-using or recycling.  
  • Materials that can be used in the industrial cycle should always be used efficiently, be kept in the industrial cycle, or returned to nature safely. 

What it takes to become a zero waste community


What it takes to become a zero waste community

By City of Vancouver


  • Zero waste or lighter footprint lifestyle

    By City of Vancouver

    We all choose to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle materials in our everyday lives

  • Circular economy

    By City of Vancouver

    Businesses change product designs and processes so that waste becomes a resource where one companies output is another’s input, the life of materials are prolonged and materials can be reused, recycled and remanufactured.

  • Local food

    By City of Vancouver

    Favouring consumption of locally produced, raw, and package-free foods.

  • Green buildings

    By City of Vancouver

    Innovative design, construction and building maintenance approaches that cut out waste and better incorporating waste management functionality into buildings.

  • Renewable energy

    By City of Vancouver

    Recovering energy from disposed resources, such as the use of sewage waste heat to create heat and hot water for buildings in a neighbourhood.