The concept of zero waste is somewhat idealistic and perhaps even practically impossible, but it remains a worthy and necessary vision if we are to address issues around waste in the medium to long term.
The vision of Zero Waste requires that we make a giant shift from linear to circular systems and requires that we do away with the concept of disposal and the contemplation of scenarios in which products have no end of life. Like any audacious vision it requires a commitment to baby steps. And it is rewarding to see that these baby steps are being taken, and that momentum is gathering. Some of these steps are linked to the diversion of materials from landfill through reuse or recycling and the reassessment of the economic value of materials—cost versus value of waste.
Experts and thought leaders have contributed articles to this handbook that profile these and other issues and concepts in a fast changing sector. In many of these articles, the writers call upon stakeholders to increase their involvement in various ways and I hope that the readers of this handbook will take action in whatever way possible. It would seem that there remains a strong call for the public sector (and industry associations) to educate and involve the public, and to increase investments in distributed networks of waste processing facilities around the country. It would also seem that the private sector, and manufacturers in particular, should be focussing on improving the recyclability of materials used, and also incorporating green procurement policies in their supply chains. There are a range of great proposals, ideas and case studies in the pages of this handbook and I hope you enjoy the read.