Burning and landfilling waste drives climate change by releasing greenhouse gases and fueling a linear economy that requires the continual use of energy and raw materials. Yet because companies with a vested interest in burning waste have lobbied hard for exemptions from accurate greenhouse gas accounting, climate subsidies often support so-called “waste-to-energy” incinerators rather than real clean energy like wind and solar.
Zero waste is one of the most effective ways we can address climate change, with a myriad of co-benefits for public health, justice, and economic growth. Research shows that adopting proven waste reduction strategies in the USA alone could have climate protection benefits comparable to closing 21% of the country’s coal-fired power plants.
GAIA members organize across borders to increase awareness of the powerful climate impact of zero waste, debunk false climate claims of waste burning, build community momentum toward solutions, and shift climate finance toward zero waste and away from waste burning. Our members also directly confront climate change by building zero waste solutions in their places, with real and immediate greenhouse gas emission reductions, as well as benefits for our air and soils.