Zero Waste refers to a goal to minimize materials that reach our landfills and reduce waste at the source. The lifecycles of many products we use every day are not designed to allow for reuse. Single-use products are disposed in our landfills and can litter our ecosystems. Zero waste living encourages us to be intentional about our daily consumption and consider how our decisions impact our planet.
Plastic Straws/Stirrers and Polystyrene Products Policy
On April 26, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners approved Resolution No. 2022-152
, effective June 1, 2022, which restricts the purchase and use of plastic straws, plastic stirrers, polystyrene products (e.g., plates, bowls, cups, containers, lids, trays, coolers, ice chests) on Broward County property, as well as prohibits the outdoor use and release of Chinese lanterns and confetti on Broward County property.
Tips for Zero Waste Living
Refuse non-essential and single use items
Learn how to say no to single-use straws, utensils, bags (grocery and produce), bottles of water, balloons, and other “freebies” that you may not really need. Pledge to Skip the Straw and use Less Plastic to reduce your daily waste generation and the potential of these items littering our parks, oceans and waterways, and harming our sea turtles and other wildlife.
Reduce your consumption
Try to only purchase items that you need. Waste that never gets created doesn't need to be disposed of. Prevent food waste, make sure to prepare a shopping list and stick to it, matching your purchases to the reality of your week. If you are clothes shopping, intentionally commit to not support fast fashion, instead buy quality clothing that will last beyond the newest fashion trend.
Choose Reusables over disposables
We individually create about a ton of waste each year. How much of your waste is from disposable water bottles, containers, plates, cups and spoons from on-the-go eating? Start off your zero waste day by packing your beverage of choice and lunch in reusables. Remember to stash a set of reusable utensils and straws in your car so you can say “no thank you" to single-use. Reduce packaging waste by checking out refill stations at local grocers and markets like this one that allow you to refill reusables with bulk food, home and personal items.
Recycle what you can't refuse, reduce or reuse
The chasing arrows symbol on the bottom of your item does not indicate whether it is recyclable or not. Its extremely important to understand your waste hauler's acceptable items list if you would like to recycle right. Wish-cycling or putting items in the bin that you wish would be recyclable but are not accepted by your waste hauler makes recycling more costly and leads to perfectly good recyclables being landfilled.
Compost organic materials
Decomposition of wasted food and other organics in landfills generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Proper composting significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It also creates a soil additive that can help store carbon and enrich our soil. Learn how you can compost your yard waste, kitchen scraps and paper products at home or start by focusing on your food scraps with a community composter like this one.