While there are many "definitions" of Zero Waste, there is only one that say that it is peer-reviewed and internationally accepted. Here at Zero Waste Ventures we have adopted the definition put forth by our friends at the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA).
“Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”
Basically—Zero Waste means you are achieving 90% diversion through waste reduction, reuse and recycling. And within that 90% there is no bury, no burn and no discharge to the environment.
If any asks you what your definition of Zero Waste we hope you will point them to us and/or ZWIA!
MaryEllen & Lynn