GAIA Zero Waste MasterPlan - Flipbook - Page 28
28 The Zero Waste Masterplan
saves energy, water and money. Advocates
for zero waste can leverage local actions and
ensure that zero waste is part of community
actions in General Plans, climate action
plans, and integrated resource plans. San
Francisco’s Climate Action Plan “0-80-100
Roots Framework” includes an emphasis on
zero waste and carbon sequestration through
application of compost on city lands.
Most of a local municipality’s policy priorities
are codified in its annual or biennial budget.
As such, zero waste should be a part of these
municipal budgeting processes and included
in Capital Improvement Plans. Most of a local
municipality’s policy priorities are codified in
its annual or biennial budget. How a community
spends its resources reflects the priorities and
values of the community.
Many municipalities contract for trash, recycling
and compost collection services. These
can be the largest contracts for municipal
services a city will make. Contracts may be
“evergreen” (renewed automatically) or they
may be renegotiated or bid out on a periodic
basis. Zero Waste Boston advocated for a zero
waste goal and plan that included initiatives to
be addressed in Boston’s collection contract,
including living wages for recycling workers
and programs for increasing recycling and
composting. Once accepted by the Mayor of
Boston, the plan recommendations were then
included in the bid process for new collection
and processing contracts.
Local elections may also be entry points for
bringing zero waste into policy. Advocates can
13 San Francisco Department of the Environment. San
Francisco Climate Action Plan. https://sfenvironment.
coordinate with candidates and their staff to
see if they would be interested in making zero
waste a part of their platform.
HOW U.S. CITIES ARE GETTING ON THE
ROAD TO ZERO WASTE
Cities all across the U.S. are already creating
and implementing zero waste plans, and their
examples have valuable lessons to offer cities
who are just starting or evaluating their next
steps. Here’s how the cities of Austin, Texas;
Alameda, California; and Los Angeles, California
got on the road to zero waste.
In 2005, the Mayor of Austin took the city’s
leadership on sustainability a step further and
signed onto the Urban Environmental Accords
and committed to its goal of zero waste by
2040. Grassroots groups and nonprofits,
including Texas Campaign for the Environment,
Austin Zero Waste Alliance, Central Texas Zero
Waste Alliance, and Austin-Travis County Food
Policy Board lobbied the city to develop a zero
waste plan. When the Solid Waste Services
Department elected to hire a solid waste
engineering firm (with zero experience in zero
waste planning), the local advocates pushed
back, ensuring that the city hired a missionbased consulting team dedicated to zero waste.
The city’s Zero Waste Strategic Plan was
adopted in 2009. The plan reported that the
value of materials sent to landfill, and lost to the
local economy, was over $40 million annually.
In 2010, the city hired a new Solid Waste
14 City of Austin. (2008). Zero Waste Strategic Plan.