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What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is a goal which strives for the sustainable use of materials through thoughtful design, reduced consumption, and increased recovery of resources. 

With limits to our resources and significant concerns about rising GHG largely due to overconsumption, it is clear that there is no more “away.” We need to start looking at the whole road from design – extraction – production – distribution – consumption – disposal. This can no longer be a one-way road.

Zero Waste offers a path that mimics nature’s cycles by challenging us to redesign our products and processes to maximize recycling and composting and to minimize waste generation. Visit Zero Waste Yukon for more information on how we can achieve Zero Waste!

“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.”

 - Zero Waste International Alliance (2009)



  The four steps to Zero Waste

1. RETHINK  your consumption habits and try to buy only what you need. Ask yourself questions like: “Do I really need this?” “Is there a more sustainable option?” “Can I find this used?”


2. REDUCE the amount of material in your life. Say no to excess packaging and unnecessary waste such as disposable or single-use items.


3. REUSE and REPAIR items whenever possible. Be creative! Find ways to donate or repurpose old items, and buy items that are built to last or be repaired.


4. RECYCLE and COMPOST as a last resort to preserve the energy and resource value of materials. Recycle all unavoidable waste and compost all organic matter.








Northerm Windows and Doors


Salvation Army


Darren Holcombe


Canadian Tire


For more local Zero Heroes, visit zerowasteyukon.ca

For videos on the 10 Steps to Zero Waste by Dr. Paul Connett please visit our YouTube site: Ravenstation


Zero Waste sounds impossible?

It's not! Zero Waste is within reach! Waste diversion is increasing in the Yukon, and all over the country communities are moving closer to Zero Waste. Edmonton, Halifax, Nanaimo and others are currently diverting more than 50% of their waste! 

If Whitehorse composted and recycled everything there is currently a market or process for, we would divert 75% of our garbage. That leaves only 25% to be redesigned from the front end so it could ultimately be recycled or composted. This requires bigger systemic change of course, but we can start by maximizing recycling and composting!