Zero Waste and the SDGs: our shared goals

zero waste and the sustainable development goals

At Go Zero Waste we want to value how the Zero Waste movement contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In order to guarantee a sustainable future it is essential to
make better use of our resources. This requires a system shift where we transition as a society towards an economic and social model that moves away from the current wasteful system and commits to circularity and regeneration.

What is the link between the Zero Waste movement and the SDGs?

To a large extent, they are united by the will and vision to guarantee a sustainable present and future for all through changes on an individual and global scale.

On the one hand, the Zero Waste movement promotes a set of ideas and initiatives focused on the prevention and reduction of waste, especially on an individual scale, but which has a global impact as a movement.

On the other hand, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the United Nations roadmap for the period 2015-2030 that involves all actors in society.

zero waste and the sustainable development goals

Let’s delve into the relationship between some of the SDGs and the Zero Waste movement: 

SDG 2. Zero hunger

Back in 2011 the FAO (the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization) estimated that each year a third of the world’s food is wasted. The UN goal is to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

For this, actions are necessary in the fight against food waste throughout the entire supply chain. Is is unacceptable that we live in a world where a third of the food is wasted while millions of people still go hungry. It is a question of resource efficiency but above all of humanitarian and climate justice.


According to the WFP data, food waste represents the loss of 730 million euros a year and causes 8% of global greenhouse
gas emissions

Zero Waste actions to tackle food waste & food loss

  • Cooking anti-food waste recipes
  • Local and seasonal consumption
  • Learning the best way to preserve food
  • Offering doggy bags for restaurants to take home leftovers
  • Composting 
  • Transitioning to a more plant-based diet with a lower environmental footprint

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Half of the world’s population already lives in urban areas, a figure that will increase to 60% by 2030 and close to 70% by 2050 according to UN projections. These urban areas will consume more than half of the world’s resources.

One of the ways to achieve resilient communities is to
reduce their external dependence thanks to a more efficient use of the resources that already circulate within the community.

Materials such as organic waste, plastics, tires, electronic waste or even fecal waste can once again become resources for the community itself with the correct system and infrastructures that guarantee and encourage their optimal recovery and processing.

In this way and as defended by the Circular Economy, we have the opportunity to empower communities to move from a scenario where resources are sources of public spending, health risk and lack of space, to a scenario in which the different by-products are valuable to the community itself and help to satisfy its needs, create a local economy and reduce greenhouse emissions and economic dependence on the outside.

Zero Waste actions for more resilient communities

  • Community composting to take advantage of organic waste
  • Waste collection and revaluation projects such as Plastic Bank
  • Resource libraries such as Libraries of things
  • Local recycling centers
  • Repair services such as Repair Cafés
  • Fixed and itinerant markets for local and seasonal products
  • Education and access to reusable menstrual hygiene products such as the cup, cloth pads and menstrual panties at affordable prices
  • Community awareness and outreach campaigns on reduction, reuse and prevention such as the European Week for Waste Prevention

SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption

The twelfth UN sustainable goal is to guarantee sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The throwaway culture and single-use products are great consumers of resources and great generators of waste.

opting for durable, repairable, reusable and 100% recyclable products, we once again achieve a more efficient use of our unlimited resources.

For this, concepts such as
ecodesign and the end of planned obsolescence are important.

Sustainable consumption and production is about doing more and better with less. It is also about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles.

Sustainable consumption and production can also make a substantial contribution to poverty alleviation and the transition to low-carbon and green economies.

SDG 12 – United Nations

Zero Waste actions towards sustainable consumption

  • Reduce material needs
  • Opt for durable, repairable, reusable and 100% recyclable and toxic-free products
  • Extend the life of products to the maximum
  • Repair whenever possible
  • Promote Reuse
  • Compost organic matter whenever possible
  • Opt for local and seasonal products
  • Reduce and reject single-use products
  • Choose to swap or buy the second hand

SDG 14 and 15: Protection of life below water and on land

In the case of plastics alone, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum estimated in a report in 2016 that at the current rate of production and use of these materials, there will be more plastic than fish in the Ocean by 2050.

The environmental impact of waste on ecosystems is a well-known and growing problem. Although plastic is perhaps the best known case, it is not the only one: those derived from the mining or textile industries are just as alarming.

In the first place, reducing the generation of waste is the first step to prevent it from ending up in natural ecosystems.

Second, guaranteeing its correct recovery and management contributes to closing the circuit and o
ne of the main reasons why tons of waste are left in nature is that it is seen as worthless garbage.

Zero Waste action to protect our natural ecosystems

  • Avoid single-use products through ecodesign, reuse and recycling
  • Join local cleanups
  • Spread awareness on the importance of waste reduction and treatment

These are some of the main objectives ot the Zero Waste movement:

  • Reduce waste generation to the maximum
  • Apply the hierarchy of the 3 “R” extended: rethink, redesign, reject, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle …
  • Promote reuse over throwaway options
  • Exercise the right to repair what has been damaged
  • Avoid food binge
  • Bet on the compostable of organic matter
  • Avoid the use of toxic products
  • Reduce plastic pollution in all its forms and causes
  • Opt for products of proximity and low environmental impact
  • Extend the useful life of things to the maximum
  • The best waste is the one that is not generated
  • Before recycling you have to reuse and before reuse you have to reduce
  • The transition from a linear economic model to a circular one
  • Shift perspective from “waste” to “resources”
  • The importance of composting for the reuse of all organic matter
  • Fighting food waste
  • Improved energy efficiency of appliances
  • Food waste reduction
  • Better resource management
  • Consumers’ awareness of more sustainable lifestyles
  • Provide accurate and adequate information to empower consumers
  • Reduce food waste as it is estimated that one third of the world’s food is wasted

At Go Zero Waste we strongly believe that Sustainability is a cross-cutting element of all the SDGs and the efficient use of resources is a key element for their achievement. That is why we collaborate and join forces with people and organizations to create solutions to enable Zero Waste practices. 

Want to collaborate with us? Do not hesitate to contact us via

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