Wrapping up the national Resource Recycling Conference in Minneapolis this week, US Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, called for taking a moral stand regarding climate change and consumerism by highlighting the benefits of Zero Waste.
With visions of a "Zero Waste society", Ellison stated, "Our economy is structured around consumption. We need to restructure it around the benefits of society." He also said, "You are working on what may be the most important thing for anyone to work on, which is saving this planet. I believe zero waste and recycling are an important way to do it."
By introducing a $100 million recycling bill (H. R. 1034), Ellison is challenging the political will of Congress to fund the infrastructure necessary to create well-paying recycling jobs, which can boost economic vitality and prioritize sustainability.
Barnes Johnson, Director of the EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, was also in attendance at the conference. When asked about the current presidential administration's track record on environmental concerns, he noted that Zero Waste is a concept and practice around resource efficiency and optimization that anyone can get behind. He assured the crowd of recycling professionals that the EPA will continue to stand for its core values around food waste reduction and sustainable materials management.
With businesses around the world heeding the call, Zero Waste is becoming a norm in operational efficiencies. Not only that, consumers are becoming more demanding of corporate responsibility in exchange for their loyalty and dollar.
To make it an official policy that municipalities and enterprise can more easily sign on to, it will now come down to the voters. In pushing this legislation for passage, citizens can hold public officials accountable to job growth through the new Zero Waste economy with the added benefits of cleaner air, land, and water.