Media Recycles: The Zero Waste Hierarchy

Media Zero Waste

“We don’t need a handful of people doing Zero Waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” –Anne-Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef

The Zero Waste Hierarchy

The zero-waste hierarchy is an important framework, advising consumers and policymakers as to the most efficient use of our resources and how we reduce the environmental, economic, and social damage waste causes. It is useful because it is flexible in nature—a collection of guiding principles that can and should be applied wherever possible, with the bonus of being progressive enough to adapt to change.  It is a tool for assessing our practices and habits, working through each stage of the hierarchy and managing products and materials to ensure they are always fall under “best use”.




  • Rethink and redesign products and materials to encourage more circular production and consumption, so that at the end of their life cycle they do not go to waste, but instead can be recycled or composted.


  • Use less, buy products with less packaging, avoid disposables and nonrecyclables


  • Reuse, maintain, repair and retain the value of your possessions wherever possible. When you are done with them, send them to the Media Free Store or to Green Drop instead of to the trash bin.  Swap, trade, exchange through social media sites as Facebook and Next Door.  Learn how to fix things or take them to a repair shop.  Get out the sewing machine!



  • Stay tuned for information on our upcoming “Curbside Compost” program rollout—collecting yard and food waste from Media residents on a weekly basis starting later this year.

Material Recovery

  • For the waste remaining after recycling and composting, mechanically pull out additional recyclables (such as e-waste, used clothing and fabric)

Residuals management

  • The small portion that remains goes to the landfill. It should be stabilized with aerobic composting (or, to be more thorough, anaerobic digestion followed by aerobic composting to dry it out), when possible. This helps remove all methane generating potential from the waste and avoids having gassy and stinky landfills.


  • Avoid waste treatment that does not allow for material recovery and/or leads to air or water pollution.