Zero Waste Goals

What is Zero Waste?

The universally accepted definition for zero waste from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council is 90% or greater non-hazardous waste diversion from the landfill without burning or burying. Waste is diverted to its highest and best use.

The more complete internationally accepted definition of zero waste may be found on the Zero Waste International Alliance website

 ZeroWasteNEO Working Group
The ZeroWasteNEO working group evolved out of one of the Sustainability Summits hosted by Mayor Frank G. Jackson as part of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative.  The group's vision is to maximize resource recovery and landfill diversion in Northeast Ohio.  They strive to provide education and resources to assist with achieving zero waste goals.

For more on the accomplishments of this group and how to get involved, visit the Sustainable Cleveland page.


How To Host a Reduced Waste or Zero Waste Event

The ZeroWasteNEO working group has put together a Zero Waste Event Guide to give you step-by-step instructions on how to host a reduced or zero waste event. See the PDF or plan ahead for your event by visiting our Food Donation page to learn more about reducing food waste.

The working group hosts free Zero Waste Event Workshops. Workshop dates are posted in the District's Event Calendar as they are scheduled.  

Zero Waste Event Training for Volunteer Groups

We can teach your staff or a volunteer coalition how to host and implement a zero waste event. Training must take place before the day of the event, activity or festival. Contact us for more details.

Achieving Zero Waste

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District is a founding member of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council.  The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) was founded in 2011 with a mission “to educate, inform and document the performance of Zero Waste Businesses using scientific methods to help businesses become more healthy and sustainable.”  The USZWBC strives to maintain the integrity and credibility of Zero Waste through certification and third party Zero Waste Certification is available through this organization.  
The District's Business Recycling Specialist Doreen Schreiber is certified as a Zero Waste Business Associate (ZWBA) through the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. She is able to assist businesses in preparing for their certification. Contact Doreen Schreiber.

U.S. Zero Waste Business Council

The USZWBC has adopted the only peer-reviewed, internationally accepted definition of Zero Waste, as developed by 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.”
Measures of success in meeting this goal are outlined in the ZWIA Zero Waste Business Principles and the Global Principles for Zero Waste Communities. Businesses and communities that achieve over 90% diversion of waste from landfills, incinerators and the environment are considered to be successful in achieving Zero Waste. “Zero Waste to Landfill” is not accepted as a goal, as it usually means burning a substantial portion of discarded materials.” USZWBC champions the highest and best use of resources.

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