Zero waste action marking anniversary

This month, the Zero Waste Action Team, better known as ZWAT, will celebrate its 15th anniversary.
ZWAT is a self-supporting organization of more than 25 members of the commercial, industrial, and institutional sector and community organizations working together to eliminate waste and manage resources in Thunder Bay.
The group was founded in 1992 by Bell Canada, Thunder Bay Telephone, Thunder Bay Hydro, Port Arthur General, St. Joseph’s, McKellar, and Hogarth Westmount Hospitals, as well as the Intercity Shopping Centre.
The City of Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, Environment North, and the Ministry of the Environment served as advisors.
The “zero waste” strategy unites social, environmental, and economic sustainability and equates efficiency with sustainability. ZWAT members are involved in projects to:
•eliminate waste through the incorporation of the environmental principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle (the 3-Rs) in daily business practices;
•educate the industrial and institutional sector, and community organizations, through information exchange and assistance in setting up 3-R programs in workplaces, schools, and at special events; and
•promote local environmental initiatives that help to eliminate waste and support a healthier environment, maximize employment opportunities, and provide for the greatest degree of local economic self-reliance.
Over the course of its 15 years of service, they are to be applauded for their long list of successes and achievements.
For instance, ZWAT is responsible for a pilot project with local business resulting in the establishment of an Electronic Waste Collection Depot in 2004, with more than 100,000 pounds of e-waste diverted in the first year of operation.
Their “Green Events Guide” helps event organizers to commit to an action plan based on the principles of 3-Rs with an emphasis on reduction.
ZWAT also has recruited more than 40 EarthWise Community Partners to work with the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as develop and implement an integrated community environmental action plan.
The group also is the proud recipient of the 2006 Lake Superior Bi-National Forum Environmental Stewardship Award.
Congratulations, ZWAT, on your efforts to mobilize our community to eliminate waste and manage resources in Thunder Bay.

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