“You may never eliminate waste, but if you’re planning with that goal in mind, you make it darn close,” said Lynne Pledger, the solid waste director of the Massachusetts chapter of Clean Water Action, which has offices in Northampton and Boston.
Pledger is a founding member of Valley Zero Waste, a new group dedicated to promoting what members describe as a “Zero Waste Culture” in all Pioneer Valley communities. She acknowledged that while most people are familiar with the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” slogan, the new group wants to emphasize the “hierarchy” of the three Rs — that reducing consumption and waste are more important than recycling.
“We’re going to be focusing more on the meat of the issue — preventing waste originally in the first place,” said Jessica Tanner of Northampton, another founding member. “We are a group of folks that are very oriented toward action.”
“I think most people instinctively know that the way we are wasting resources can’t go on forever,” she said. “They know landfills are filling up. They know climate change is worsening. They know, and so I think a lot of people will actually welcome more information and support for doing things differently.”
Another founding member, John Root of Amherst, said he hopes that businesses will serve as an example for individuals to follow in attempting to reduce their waste.
“Our goal really is to have a regional transformation of our culture, if you will,” said Root, chairman of the Recycling and Refuse Management Committee in Amherst.
For more information on Valley Zero Waste, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.