About Zero Waste > Social Justice

Social Justice


The U.S. and every country around the world recognize limited natural resources as an issue of national and global security.

As we run out of the natural resources that support us — like oil, minerals, and even fresh water — chances are we’ll end up fighting over the supplies we have left. At least 40% of global conflicts in the past 60 years had links to natural resources.

What we buy, how it’s made, and how long we use it directly impact many of the people suffering from these conflicts around the world. When we choose Zero Waste, we choose a more peaceful future.


Zero Waste is a Peace Movement

Here’s how Zero Waste helps: A Zero Waste system designs products and packaging to use fewer resources and to reuse those materials many times over. This means less mining, less logging, and less demand for raw materials. With less pressure on scarce supplies, there will be fewer resource-driven conflicts.

Zero Waste is responsible stewardship for our generation and those to follow. By recycling, we are sharing resources with future generations, so they’ll have enough to support themselves peacefully too. Through composting, we are replenishing our soils, so our children can grow healthy food.

What You Buy Really Does Make a Difference

Cell phones, laptops, clothing, even toothpaste — many of the products we use every day — contain materials that were mined, logged or extracted in regions where human rights abuses and armed conflicts are occurring.

The sale of raw materials — especially gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten — helps fund the militia and dangerous regimes behind these deep social and environmental crises.

When we reuse and recycle our products, we reduce the demand for these raw materials. Companies can reclaim minerals from our old products. We stop buying new supplies and stop sending money to support these conflicts and abuses. We cut off the funding, and we can help cut off the problem, just by choosing to recycle and reuse.


Graphic courtesy of Triple Pundit

Respect Other People

For decades, indigenous people around the world have lost their lands, their ecosystems and their livelihoods for timber, farmland, fossil fuels or precious metals that corporations want from their land.

The Sami in Finland, Maori in New Zealand, Haida in Western Canada and Udege in the Russian Far East are just some of indigenous people struggling for their rights against the paper industry.

When we choose to reduce, reuse, and recycle, we stop prioritizing cheap paper or other products over the rights of indigenous and native people. Instead we choose to respect the rights of all species to a prosperous future and livable planet.

We can do better, and we can get started with Zero Waste.

More Benefits of Zero Waste

The roots of social injustices stem from resource depletion. Discover how Zero Waste conserves resources to reduce social injustices.

learn more about Resource Depletion

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