For many environmentalists, “zero waste” is the ultimate goal: anything used gets recycled. Of course, when it comes to achieving zero waste on a large scale (say, an entire town), practicalities and expenses can get in the way.
Missoula, Montana, is up to the challenge.
The town’s ZERO by FIFTY plan calls for eliminating 90 percent of its wastestream by 2050, which will meet Zero Waste International Alliance’s definition of zero waste. It’s set interim goals of 30 percent by 2025 and 60 percent by 2040, according to Climate Smart Missoula.
The plan breaks down into four categories — access, infrastructure, education and policy — with 42 action points. Among those are educating the public about recycling and composting (and making those tasks easier), providing incentives to builders for recycling debris, and banning the disposal of recyclable and compostable materials in city landfills.
“This is going to take absolutely everyone,” Chase Jones, the energy conservation and climate action coordinator for Missoula, told Green Matters. “It’s a plan informed and developed with the community, with citizens, and it’s intended to spark innovation and spark ingenuity. We’re excited to see all of the things that it does motivate, so that we can work on this goal and implement action together.”
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