Engineering Our Sustainable & Equitable Future

Zero Waste / Sustainable Engineering


Much of the environmental movement has focused on waste reduction and recycling. Zero waste looks to take this one step further, equating all waste with lost resources and inefficiency. By approaching waste as not something to be slowly reduced (or recycled one time on the way to the landfill), but instead as a concept that should be entirely eliminated, zero waste takes the visionary approach of complete elimination. Further, because waste is a lost resource, reducing waste at the source is often financially beneficial. Zero waste includes concepts of sustainable engineering such as efficiency programs and reduction of energy “waste”. Companies, such as Fuji Xerox, have profited from the campaign to eliminate waste to landfills, while others, such as Walmart, gain competitive advantages with aggressive improvements in efficiency and reduction in energy usage. Zero waste and sustainable engineering strategies are best implemented in early design and manufacture, though a complete zero waste system includes designing for end-of-life. For standalone green communities, a zero waste environment can be achieved by: 1) non-generation of air pollution, 2) separating wastewater streams and using natural processing methods, 3) composting of organic wastes, non-use of non-essential packaging, reuse of essential packaging (as well as use of compostable packaging), and 4) recovery, reuse, and return policies for non-biodegradable materials.

Energy Storage

Energy Generation