As pollution overwhelms many of our cities and natural resources become scarce, people around the world are increasingly realizing that the “dig, burn, dump” pattern must change. We cannot continue to throw waste “away.” Simply put, “away” does not exist. When we bury our garbage, the landfills that we create hurt communities. Burning garbage is an equally primitive scheme that also destroys resources and is even more costly and polluting.

There is a much better approach: For generations now, workers and communities have conserved materials and created value through composting, recycling, and reuse. They have developed innovative solutions and demonstrated how to create locally resilient economies through strategies that generate livelihoods, rebuild the soil, protect public health, and recover materials for manufacturing. And today they are coming together with forward-thinking local governments to put forth a new vision of how together we can live better in this world.