Zero Waste and climate change action

How we can mobilise populations globally to solve the climate crisis

“The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually with at least 33% of that not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Global waste is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050, more than double the population growth over the same period”

The World Bank.

Calls for climate adaptation have become a mantra since global warming morphed into climate change. We believe that we can address the climate crisis more effectively through establishing radical decentralised community-run resource management centres. We named these Green Lifestyle Centres, Ecoplazas.

In fact, we officially introduced this concept and a large framework for its establishment in 2004 in London under Atlantis Consultancy. Despite the uptake of many concepts, the centres’ idea was left out. They could regenerate communities, create green jobs, save rainforests, create global peace and solve the climate crisis. If, however, we give this concept a chance, we can accelerate the climate action for every community thanks to a highly effective economic model that powers these action centres.

Ecoplazas are independent, based in disused rent-free buildings, and raise funds for local and overseas community projects. In a nutshell, they help every town and city to establish their own social green infrastructure to address our complex climate crisis. Money spent on climate conferences and related events could fund such centres.

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This would bring far better results as it would directly create positive gains and raise funds in every community in the world. Not tomorrow, or by 2040, but as of today! Communities can act as one healthy organism that is capable of protecting the planet’s climate by pooling resources through these community-owned lifestyle centres.

In essence, it is less relevant who is behind the concept, or what names we give it, but that we all power this social movement. To put it differently, if you have ever made a new functional item from disused objects, you have unwittingly joined it. If you have salvaged anything from your local recycling centre and turned it into an enviable artful piece, you created a zero-waste product. Since waste prevention and keeping things out of bins through making and buying responsibly are at the heart of the zero-waste philosophy.

When we repurpose old things, they get a new lease of life with this approach and it doesn’t literally cost the Earth. We help keep the air, water, and soil clean whilst saving megatons of energy by not sending our rubbish to landfills and incinerators that pollute the planet. The Earth and its oceans can breathe with ease without the overload of toxins from tons of waste dumped into them every year.

How to get everyone working together and create Zero-Waste lifestyles

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Could our society handle waste re-purposing in the way that the 70s movement’s vision showed us? And what can we do as individuals on a household and work level to curb and even reverse this vicious cycle of waste generation?

All of us can adopt a number of these sustainable, zero-waste practices at homes and workplaces. Here are just a few examples how you can adjust your lifestyle:

  1. Choose zero waste and upcycled products and services over conventional ones wherever practicable. This way you support artisanal businesses and help them stay in business,
  2. Choose to purchase less and use less,
  3. Purchase produce and household items from zero-waste stores, which offer refill options,
  4. Buy second-hand from your local charity shops and community projects,
  5. Source your goods from makers and suppliers who have sustainable and eco certifications and whose products do good,
  6. Choose to buy packageless products whenever you shop,
  7. Replace single-use items, especially plastics, with reusable ones,
  8. Give away and donate to charities your unwanted useable things,
  9. Write to your local MP’s to find out about Zero Waste programs/guidelines and petition for one if there isn’t one in place,
  10. Grow your own food and/or buy it from a local smallholding,
  11. Compost your natural kitchen waste if you have a garden, or use green waste rubbish bins so that others in your community can make soil,
  12. Support soil saving campaigns as this is directly linked to waste management that affects your drinking water quality,
  13. Create or team up with your circular economy group or any active group that wants to create a zero-waste facility.

This could be a simple salvaging centre like Urban Ore. Or, Ecoplaza Lifestyle Centres with an economic model of resource management facilities that fund community and climate change projects. They are super advanced, up-to-date lifestyle centres that take this concept even further by proposing how systemic changes can happen fast. What’s more, they fit into the modern city designs of today.

   14. Design and innovate your own zero waste products and services.
   15. Learn about the Zero Waste guidelines, progress, and collaboration opportunities.
   16. Join the movement for change: Zero Waste France

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Zéro déchet et vrac.

Seeing that this route can be the most effective and fastest to address climate and related issues, my team and I have promoted the concept for many years. We went even further by developing a practical framework for its instigation. For example, we had added replenish and regenerate to the known: reduce, reuse and recycle principles to steer the green thinking towards this broad action-based concept.

Given the international interest in making the zero-waste scheme legally binding, community regeneration centres will certainly help us reach this ambitious zero waste goal. Moreover, ecoplazas can put an end to current duplication of work by many NGOs and government departments. How? Simply, this unprecedented resource sharing will enhance levels of cooperation in every organisation as well as within their external networks.

Ideas Recycling – how to move from words into action on the ground

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Goods are not the only things that are being recycled. The same applies to thinking. As we recycle and share good ideas around, they evolve and mutate forming new models. Although, mostly only by name. So the same concept gets a new name as the language updates with new creative thinking. We find it is often a very similar, or the same rehashed idea that re-emerges as a “new” concept, sometimes decades later. The causes are many: a time delay, a lack of understanding or political will, receptivity, or vested interests, etc. For this reason, it is wise to stop and review the way we treat innovation.

Green ideas evolve and morph all the time. Of course, this is a good thing. In contrast, this becomes an obstacle when ideas are only taken up intellectually. If, in every community on a local level we have facilities where we can gather, share and unpack different ideas we can avoid this pitfall. That way we can explore any idea whose goal is to further the common good within a circular economy framework of action. This is one of the most effective ways of integrating an idea with the existing structures. The innovative changes this process brings means we no longer reinvent the wheel and waste valuable time and other resources.

All in all, Zero Waste offers many practical answers. We realise, however, that as our societies move closer towards collective problem-solving through integrated models, can we then unearth the concept’s full potential. In our experience, we cannot have integration of these principles and modes of operation without enhanced levels of cooperation. That’s why Earthvoice fully supports the scheme and works with companies and organisations that want to be part of the solution by joining the ranks of the leaders. In fact, waste minimisation and management are an integral part of our sustainability consulting proposals and one of the seven pillars forming the basis of our Accelerated Sustainability Impact System toolkit. In practical terms, this translates into an in-depth assessment of the hotel’s current practices whilst developing new, and incorporating, already existing, effective pragmatic tools for regenerative resource management within a strategic framework tailored to each hospitality and catering operation.

We assist you in approaching your venture’s waste management primarily as resource management that enables your company to take steps to maximise the potential for growth and align with the SDGs and ESG performance. This, in turn, if done properly, can lead to fulfilling zero-waste goals, helping you to move beyond conformity alone and enter the path of achieving ultimate sustainability whilst generating Earth gains. The concept we coined in the late 1990s and promoted since. Case studies of the most advanced companies that adopt a social enterprise philosophy have consistently shown that a congruent resource management strategy builds social capital within the company itself and the community the company’s practical actions support. Companies listed as certified B Corps are among leading practitioners of this new socio-economic model.

It is not surprising to see this approach and thinking ready to be replicated around the globe, bringing different sectors together to collaborate, as more actors pause and take notice of how new sustainability performance boundaries are set every day. It is my tried and tested belief that, by creating regenerative alternatives to the old travel and tourism paradigm, we can regenerate entire communities and forward-looking companies have an important role to play in this.  As sustainability performance benchmarking is a growing and constantly evolving field, with many pieces that need to be reconciled, this offers countless possibilities for growth that positively impacts the company’s ROI in the long term and the community at large.



Zero Waste Europe. Source.

Plastics Europe. Source.


Featured image from a short about Ecoplaza Lifestyle Centres and Ecoplaza drawing by Earthvoice.

Plastic Production by region in 2019 map. Source.

Zéro déchet et vrac. Source.

Coast watch. Source.