Beyond recycling, towards “zero waste” and the “circular economy” – Shri. V.P. NANDAKUMAR
Having begun with the 3 R’s, we should then aim higher, at the concept of Zero Waste. This is about waste management and planning that emphasizes waste prevention, as opposed to end-of-pipe waste management. According to Zero Waste International Alliance, “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.”
Zero Waste eliminates all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health. Resources are used sparingly, efficiently and optimally, with systems in place to manage waste without much of negative impact on the health of the people and the environment. The aim is to minimize the use of resources in manufacture and distribution, minimize consumption as a whole while maximizing the re-use, recycling and recovery of the intrinsic value within the waste generated by society.