This year as part of Women in Design’s outreach effort we are sponsoring and volunteering for Denver’s new Zero Landfill project. If you are interested in volunteering, please email ZeroLandfillDenver@gmail.com.
ZeroLandfillTM is a grassroots upcycling or reuse program started in Cleveland, Ohio in 2006 by individuals working in the architectural and interior design industry. Concerned by the lack of a formal recycling program for the staggering amount of specification materials used in the facility design and renovation processes, the ZeroLandfillTM team developed a program to divert these items from the waste stream and find new audiences in the community who placed value in the materials.
The program is an award winning sustainability in action program for the interiors and architectural industries. Since 2006, the ZeroLandfillTM project team has assisted the architectural and interior design communities in identifying, diverting from local landfills, and re-purposing back into the community thousands of pounds of specification samples that hold value for other audiences, like artists and educators.
Now, instead of ending up in a landfill or an incinerator, manufacturer samples such as carpet tiles, wallcovering and fabric samples, ceramic tile and three-ring binders are collected from participating firms and placed in the hands of local artists, artisans, arts educators and school teachers where they find new life as studio materials and classroom supplies.
To date, ZeroLandfillTM has diverted from the dumpster and returned to the community over 500,000 lbs. of specification materials. In fact, less than 3% of the materials collected by ZeroLandfillTM Cleveland have entered the solid waste stream! The original program in Cleveland has inspired twelve other communities to adopt a ZeroLandfillTM project in their market. New relationships fostered in the community, reduced landfill pressure and awareness of how sustainability can look for an organization, a city or an entire industry are just some of the benefits accrued by the work of ZeroLandfillTM. Happy teachers, specifiers and artists make it all worthwhile.