Any term that includes “zero” in it must achieve at least 90% diversion from landfills, incinerators and the environment, and commit to a goal of reducing the amount of materials discarded, and any discards going to thermal processes as part of a continuous improvement system to zero.
Any waste diversion claims that include the term “zero” must also note how much material is still being landfilled and how much material is going to thermal processes, as per ZWIA Zero Waste Community Recognition Program:
For transparency, all communities must indicate in public pronouncements regarding their Zero Waste recognition what their current levels of diversion are, and what percentage of remaining discarded materials go to landfills or incinerators. These should be summarized as in the following example:
__________ Zero Waste Community Diverts 50%: Landfill 40%; Burns 10% = 50% current diversion rate: 40% going to landfill and 10% burned).
ZWIA urges businesses, government agencies, organizations and individuals to stop the use of the term “zero waste to landfill” (or similar terms that use “zero” without complying with the ZWIA definition of Zero Waste) as that misrepresents the actual situation to consumers and conceals the amount of materials that are in reality going to landfills and incinerators.