A Strategic Framework for Working toward Zero Waste Societies Based on Perceptions Surveys
Received: 4 July 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
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The visionary concept of zero waste advocates a systematic process of designing out waste and recovering resources from waste. A strategic zero waste framework (ZWF) is essential for developing and executing systematic waste management activities to achieve the overarching goals. This study identifies
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The visionary concept of zero waste advocates a systematic process of designing out waste and recovering resources from waste. A strategic zero waste framework (ZWF) is essential for developing and executing systematic waste management activities to achieve the overarching goals. This study identifies the key principles for the development of a strategic ZWF based on a waste experts’ survey analysis. Around 68 experts from different regions responded and provided their views on the key elements of a strategic ZWF though an online questionnaire survey. Eighteen strategic elements of waste prevention, management, treatment and assessment were identified as the key principles of the zero waste framework. As the study followed a generalized approach, it is important to acknowledge that all identified and proposed strategic elements may need to be contextualized based on the local conditions in order to achieve zero waste goals. Based on the findings, the study suggests the following three fundamental strategic action plans that need to be implemented simultaneously for moving towards zero waste societies: (i) sustainable production through a cradle-to-cradle design and product stewardship; (ii) collaborative and responsible consumption of natural resources; and (iii) zero waste management through conservation of resources. In addition, a constant evaluation of progress towards zero waste goals is essential. It is anticipated that by considering local circumstances, the proposed strategic guidelines would be beneficial for local authorities and relevant stakeholders while developing their zero waste strategy.