What People are Saying

A Victory with Coke - Plastics News, May 21, 2001
What Others Are Saying About GRRN
What Others Are Saying About Zero Waste
What Is Zero Waste?
Zero Waste Campaign

What Others Are Saying About GRRN top

Peter Montague
Director, Environmental Research Foundation
Editor, Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly
"Recycling. Ho hum. Everybody does it, but what difference does it make? "That was my original reaction back in 1995 when I learned that the Grass Roots Recycling Network (GRRN) was forming. I wasn't against recycling, but it didn't seem capable of addressing the fundamental problems of environmental deterioration.

"How wrong I was!

"Nearly everyone is now recycling, and -- unexpectedly -- recycling has taken on important new meaning. Recycling is now the entry point into a critique of excessive consumption, waste, corporate irresponsibility, and the fundamental causes of environmental destruction. "Recycling" can now become a key strategy for those opposing landfilling and incineration, deforestation, resource depletion, global warming, energy waste, loss of biodiversity, and the elimination of toxic products.

"What has happened is that recycling has morphed into a new concept called "Zero Waste" and suddenly the Grass Roots Recycling Network (GRRN) is sitting in a powerful position: they have the ear of thousands of citizen-activists and professionals in the "recycling" business -- but now "recycling" is posing a fundamental challenge to "business as usual." GRRN is now uniquely positioned to talk to millions of people about the real reasons why the environmental is deteriorating, and to respond to peoples' desire to know "what to do about it." Zero waste has the potential to motivate people to change their life styles, demand new products, and insist that corporations and governments behave in new ways. This is a very exciting development.

"But perhaps I have expressed the possibilities too negatively. Zero waste is fundamentally a positive concept. Zero waste is a design philosophy that can help communities achieve a local economy that operates efficiently, sustains good jobs, and provides a measure of self-sufficiency (thus giving some protection against the "gales of destruction" that a globalizing economy brings with it). There is a natural progression from "recycling" to "resource conservation" to a "locally sustaining economy" and "environmental protection."

"Pollution, energy waste, and destruction of natural habitats all begin with the extraction and processing of virgin resources. To the extent that communities (and citizens) can avoid extracting and processing virgin resources, to that extent they can eliminate environmental problems. Thus recycling is a very acceptable foot in the door, which soon opens upon a new, positive future for the industrial apparatus of the developed world.

"In my opinion, it is exceedingly important that the Grass Roots Recycling Network gain additional funds to continue the work they have begun. Their approach is unique and uniquely valuable. The leadership of the network is very savvy, forming partnerships with government, the private sector, and citizen activists as needed, promoting zero waste partnerships within the US. as well as internationally. The various threads of the traditional conservation and environmental movements, the grass-roots environmental justice movement, and the deep ecology movement may now begin to come together under the "zero waste" banner. GRRN has the potential to provide the glue that holds all this together. Even if this larger vision for GRRN does not come to pass, their work is first-rate and terribly important and I urge everyone to enable it with funding.

"I would be pleased to answer questions about GRRN or about their work on zero waste."

Eric Lombardi
Executive Director, EcoCycle
Boulder, Colorado
"We are a young revolution. It may look innocent enough from the outside, but from the inside we know that we're talking about some big stuff. If you don't know who GRRN is, we are the nation's largest pure recycling advocacy group. By 'pure' I mean that we are not a 'coalition' or a 'public agency' that needs to seek balance in our views. We are free to push the recycling agenda forward as hard as we wish. Every group is valuable for the niche they fill, and ours is to seek the demise of the bury & burn industries. Zero Waste!"

Praise for GRRN's reports:

Ed Begley, Jr.
"Fabulous. What an insightful look at one of the burning issues of our time, a problem that many would like to dump on someone else. And that is exactly what many would have us do with our trash....burn it or dump it. Well, there are solutions. And this report sheds new light on the benefits of seeking those solutions out."

Denis Hayes,
Founder, Chair and CEO
Earth Day Network

"As recycling programs start to plateau in many American cities, the time is ripe for a new dose of excitement. This practical but visionary guide to a 'zero waste economy' is just what we need."

What Others Are Saying About Zero Waste top

Warren Snow
Co-Founder and Trustee
Zero Waste New Zealand Trust

[ZWNZT has gotten a third of New Zealand's local governments
to declare a goal of 'zero waste to landfill by 2015.']
"Zero Waste challenges the whole idea of endless consumption without needing to say so, and it enables even those who are locked into the system to challenge their own behavior in a positive way without immediately threatening it."

Paul Hawken
Author of Natural Capitalism
former President of The Natural Step USA
"The zero waste paradigm can lead to an extraordinarily innovative and dynamic economy, one that has positive impacts on labor and the environment. We must remember that curbs, whether used for recycling or transport, are points of departure and arrival. We are at such a threshold in our materials and waste policy, a point where we can literally step off the curb into a next industrial revolution, an economy whose key is unlocked by one simple question: What if there was no waste?"

Jeffrey Hollender
President, Seventh Generation, Inc.
"In spite of the obstacles, I've never stopped believing in a zero waste society. Recycle everything. Landfill nothing. It's perfect. So perfect that you'd think the idea would have universal appeal in an economy so intensely focused on efficiency. What's not to love about recycling? It creates 10 jobs for every one job created at a landfill. It's better for the environment. It saves natural resources, conserves huge amounts of energy, closes landfills, prevents waste incineration, and results in much less air and water pollution. It helps prevent global warming. It improves public health. It's the mother of environmental no-brainers. I highly recommend a visit to the Grassroots Recycling Network web site at http://www.grrn.org."

What Is Zero Waste? top

Zero Waste is a new planning approach for the 21st Century that seeks to redesign the way that resources and materials flow through society, taking a 'whole system' approach. It is both a 'back end' solution that maximizes recycling and minimizes waste, and a design principle that ensures that products are made to be reused, repaired or recycled back into nature or the marketplace. Zero Waste embodies approaches that enable rapid waste reduction outcomes, breakthrough strategies rather than incremental change. The specific concepts of zero waste include:
  • designing products for durability and recyclability;
  • creating jobs from discards;
  • giving manufacturers incentives for creating less waste by holding them responsible for the materials they produce;
  • creating infrastructures for increased recycling, composting, and reuse; and
  • ending taxpayer subsidies for wasteful and polluting industries.

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