Zero Waste & the Circular Economy
Canadians dispose of more municipal solid waste per capita than any other country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development according to a Conference Board of Canada report. However, there is a positive business case for reducing the amount of waste we generate in British Columbia.
Zero waste approaches aim to reduce and ultimately eliminate garbage.
The 5 R pollution prevention hierarchy is a useful planning tool for moving towards zero waste. Once all achievable opportunities at a higher level have been taken, only then should the next level be looked at. For example, opportunities for recycling should be explored only after all opportunities for reduction and reuse of materials have been exhausted.
The pollution prevention hierarchy supports a circular economy approach which can create jobs, promote innovation that provides a competitive advantage and help to protect people and the environment. In a circular economy resources are never tossed, but instead are reused, recycled and reintroduced as new products. All with a focus on clean technology and energy efficiency. The Jurisdictional Scan for Circular Economy (PDF, 2.1 MB) looks at how this approach has been used elsewhere.