At the Zero Waste Washington department in the afternoon, we learned about Seattle’s Solid Waste System. Susan, Sego, Marisol and Heather kindly took their time to give us an insight about various issues and topics the city is facing. The group mostly touched on the most important current drivers the states is facing when it comes to waste management. Since China’s refusal to accept mixed plastics and paper from the US, the country is having a struggle in managing their waste. Additionally, the city is exposed to litter throughout the city and waterways. Also, the unclarity on how to separate waste leads to contamination of recyclable materials and compost, arising the need in changing packaging design in order to easier sort and recycle the products.
The department further pointed out that the city is not alone with this problem. In order to establish more education about waste management among the population, the west coast has to work together on this topic. Susan further explained the importance of focusing to solve the problem at the source by reaching a strategic approach in packaging. Further strategies mentioned, were the establishment of laws, more research and pilot projects in the regions. After the informative presentation we took the opportunity to exchange and explain our practices in Switzerland and ask questions. Having heard many Zero Waste practices by now it was still interesting to compare these different approaches done throughout the country!
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