The Zero Waste Approach to Managing Resources

What does local jobs development and ‘zero waste’ have in common? A positive impact on the Ojai Valley and beyond. As explained in Wikipedia “Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills and incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.”

On Saturday, January 18, 1 to 5 p.m., Richard Anthony, B.S., M.A. of Richard Anthony Associates will travel from San Diego to Ojai to share his extensive knowledge on this subject. The seminar is hosted by the Ojai Retreat located at 160 Besant Rd., Ojai 93023. The seminar cost is $10 and reservations are required. Students considering a career in resource management are encouraged to attend and attend for free with student ID. The Coalition is helping the Ojai Retreat with outreach, so tell your friends. For more information visit the Ojai Retreat website or to RSVP call (805) 640-1142.

As Mr. Anthony points out, there are seven billion people on the planet and we are running out of resources. Everything should be designed for reuse, not disposal. And between the upstream prevention and the downstream recovery solutions that prevent waste, we have ample opportunity to create green jobs.

Consider the polystyrene containers ban being discussed by the Ojai City Council. Reducing this single-use, non-recyclable product in the local waste stream is great, but more important is the overarching message (and pressure) to the marketplace to design and manufacturer food containers that are themselves made from agricultural or manufacturing byproducts, and then the market and or local governments need to provide an infrastructure to recycle or compost the food containers at the end of their useful life.

The zero waste approach moves the American culture’s 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) mantra to 6 Rs – Reduce (source and consumption reduction), Redesign, Repair, Reuse (durable vs. single-use), Recycle (everything else), and finally Regulate. The goal is a ‘cradle to cradle’ closed loop economy' instead of the existing ‘cradle to grave disposal’ that demands constant raw materials and resources.

Mr. Anthony hopes with this half day seminar attendees will walk away with tools to move toward a more sustainable and zero waste Ojai Valley and Ventura County. “Sustainability means zero wasting” and this is best accomplished at the local level through the democratic process of citizen and industry involvement, coupled with government regulation. Providing more economic sustainability through the creation of permanent jobs is icing on the cake.

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© Rich Reid,Oak View CA