Zero waste is a fresh approach to waste management and the use of resources. It goes beyond the “end-of-the-line” treatment of waste and promotes not only the three “R’s” (reduce, reuse, recycle), but also focuses on a “whole system” approach to the use of resources including composting and conservation (rot, restore).
Zero Waste seeks to eliminate negative impacts of designing, producing, using, and discarding of products and packaging:
Mountain View created a Source Reduction & Recycling Element in 1999 as required by the State of California to identify the various waste reduction, reuse, recycling, compost and other programs to divert waste away from the landfill. Over the years, this guide has helped us to create new programs and services, and prepare for new collection, processing and landfill service agreements.
Progress is measured through Calrecycle's Annual Jurisdictional Diversion Report. Mountain View has always exceeded the State's minimum requirements, achieving 52 percent diversion for calendar year 2002, 72% in 2006, and 78 percent for 2017. These requirements are now expressed in per capita, or pounds per person per day, based on either population or employment. For example, for calendar year 2017, the State's target (disposal limit) for Mountain View was 7.8 pounds per person per day based on population. Mountain View achieved a 3.4 pound rate, well below the State's target (disposal limit).
As a first step in the process, Mountain View conducts a waste characterization study which examines what types of materials our community disposes (waste composition), and whether these materials can be diverted from the waste stream through increased recycling, waste reduction, composting, and other diversion programs. Such programs conserve landfill space and natural resources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Studies are conducted about every 10 years in preparation for new collection, processing, and landfill service agreements.
The following documents help educate residents and businesses about Zero Waste and more will be posted as the plan evolves.