In March 2006 the Oakland City Council adopted a “Zero Waste” goal by 2020 and commissioned the creation of a “Zero Waste” Strategic Plan. Oakland has already achieved the 50% waste reduction goal mandated by California law, primarily through residential recycling collection programs and free market recycling services available to businesses.
As opposed to traditional waste management principles, the “Zero Waste” strategy presumes that products are designed to be repaired, reused or recycled, and so that no waste is a threat to planetary, animal or plant health. Communities can strive toward “Zero Waste” by implementing policies to reduce (promote low-impact or reduced-consumption lifestyles, and reduce volume and toxicity of waste); reuse (foster use of discarded materials to stimulate and drive local economic growth); and recycle (improve ‘downstream’ recycling of end of life products and materials to ensure highest and best use).
Liss's document digs down and provides priorities within the overarching hierarcy of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." It should be mandatory reading for all policy officials responsible for waste management. And as Joel states, it "has the potential to help procurement officials -- in government as well as in companies, universities, and other large institutions -- vote for the environment with every purchase they make."