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Zero Waste: Is It Desirable Or Achievable? Live Chat  


What is the holy grail of sustainability? With the circular economy on the tip of everyone’s tongue, from local authorities to research groups and business, is the ultimate ambition sending nothing to landfill?

A variety of businesses have managed to do it. Unilever announced in Januarythat it had achieved zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across its global factory network and Dupont’s Business Innovations unit went from sending 36,700 tonnes of waste to landfill annually to zero. It’s something being discussed in the fashion industry and there a regular awards for companies who have reached the milestone.

But is it a realistic target to shoot for? Should small to medium-sized enterprises pour their energies into this goal, or is it only possible for large-scale businesses who have the resources to invest in expensive technologies and consultants? Possible or not, zero waste for an industrial facility means something very different than for a restaurant. What can industries learn from each other and are the basic principles the same? 

Join the discussion

Join us on 1 April from 1-2pm BST for a discussion on whether zero waste targets are achievable and/or desirable. Experts will join us online to take questions including:

  • Which industries are leading the way in zero waste achievements and why?
  • What does zero waste mean to different sectors?
  • What questions should businesses interested in reducing or eliminating waste ask themselves? Where should they begin?
  • Do we need such an extreme goal? Would taking smaller steps like simply reducing waste be a more realistic strategy?
  • What can we learn from businesses who have done this? What advice can they give to other companies following the same path?

The panel

Mark Linehan
, managing director, Sustainable Restaurant Association

Nick Voulvoulis
, reader in environmental technology, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London

Forbes McDougall, head of circular economy, Veolia

Gareth Dinnage, owner, Seacourt Printing

Tony Dunnage, group environmental engineering manager, Unilever

Rita Yi Man Li, director, Sustainable Real Estate Research Center, Hong Kong Shue Yan University

How to join

The live chat is completely text based and will take place on this page in the comments section below, kicking off on Wednesday, 1 April, 1-2pm BST. You can submit any questions in advance by using the form below, tweeting them to@GuardianSustBiz using #askGSB or sending an email to and we’ll put them to the panel on the day.


The next entry submission deadline is the 2nd March 2015. Submit your entry now for the chance to become a Zero Hero!
Zero Waste Awards