Richard Anthony‚Äôs Answers to 5 Questions Retrain Us for Zero Waste Living
Friday, May 5, 2017 at 10:00AM
Lee Van Ham in Earth-sized consciousness, Richard Anthony, Zero Waste, ecological economics, ecological justice, waste

A few years ago I heard Richard Anthony speak at a seminar. It was not difficult to recognize quickly his knowledge about reducing waste to zero, and his passionate commitment to making it happen. Richard heads Richard Anthony Associates, San Diego, where the goal is “to design and produce zero waste programs that create jobs from discards” Richard is in the thick of retraining societies, businesses—all of us—moving us from a disposable, MultiEarth way of thinking to loving the one planet we have so much that practicing zero waste is the socially acceptable thing to do. He is part of the Zero Waste International Alliance.

In this blog interview, Richard tells us how we can move to being zero wasters and advocate for the policies that help get our world there. His answers are a great follow through on this past Earth Day (April 22, 2017)!

Q#1: What do the words “zero waste” mean in our current world? 

The Zero Waste International Alliance website,, has a peer reviewed internationally affirmed definition and vision. 

 “Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

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.

Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”

 Locally, Zero Waste pursues this same mission: to emulate nature; prevent burning or burying of “wastes” that are resources for other products; designing products with the environment in mind. 

Q#2: What is the history of zero waste?

The best source is the book by Paul Connett, The Zero Waste Solutions (2013), Chelsea Green Publishing. I have long been involved in the rapidly unfolding story of zero waste and write a history starting in 2002 that is from my own experience locally and internationally. You can read that online, To give a sense of how globally the zero waste effort is now embraced, conferences continue in cities around the globe and Zero Waste Plans are being followed in U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, San Diego, and New York. In Italy over 1000 cities are pursuing zero waste.

Q#3: What economic changes can best encourage moving to zero waste?

We need the following economic policies to fulfill zero waste living:

Q#4: How can an apartment or condo complex move to zero waste since residents who want to waste less may discover that the complex owners or governance do not share the same values?

Q#5: What are the zero waste goals between now and 2020?

The Save the Albatross website,, has made the albatross an icon to gain attention for many zero waste goals in the next few years. These include:

In California we continue to pursue a statewide zero waste goal and Plan and continue to organize regional education programs, especially for facility managers.

Article originally appeared on OneEarth sustainability amid climate change (
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