Zero Waste and the Circular Economy in Newfoundland and Labrador: Challenges, Opportunities and Ways Forward
Waste is an increasingly significant part of our economies, our cultures and our everyday lives. Over the last several decades, a number of waste reduction programs and policies have been promoted across the globe but with varied levels of adoption and success. With the mounting challenges of climate change and oceanic pollution (especially plastic waste), to name but a few, dealing with our waste is pressing issue. This project and event highlights two specific, yet related, approaches to waste reduction that have gained recent attention by a wide-range of communities: Zero Waste (ZW) and the Circular Economy (CE). According to Zero Waste (ZW) Canada, ZW is “a philosophy, a target, and it is a call to action that aims to bring an end to the current ‘take, make, and waste’ mentality of human society.” Similarly, the CE is technical and policy agenda aimed at ‘closing the loop’, that is, it promotes the reuse, repair, refurbishment, and recycling of materials and products, as well as ‘designing in’ greater product longevity and repairability. Together, ZW and the CE increasingly represent a palatable and practical approach to meeting our growing waste challenges, however, the successes, the challenges and the experiences of local stakeholders engaging in ZW and CE activities remains largely under explored. What does ZW and CE look like in NL? What are local communities, government sectors, nonprofits, businesses, and academia doing in NL towards building ZW and the CE? What are the challenges and opportunities?
To answer these and other questions, lead researcher (Dr. Nicholas Lynch, Department of Geography) in partnership with local ZW members is hosted a two-day event that will bring local, regional and national experts in dialogue. On day one, a forum-style event took place in the St. John’s Fluvarium and will explore local engagement with ZW practices and ideas. On the second day of the event (date postponed), we will conduct a local workshop, at Memorial University (Nexus Centre), that will investigate local and regional possibilities and challenges for building the CE. Overall, this project and event will culminate in a series of reports for the wider community to find new ways of engaging with ZW and CE.