Since 2015, a citizen group called Zero Waste Missoula has been working to change Missoula’s low recycling rate and focus on stronger waste reduction.
In 2016, Zero Waste Missoula presented a Zero Waste resolution to city council. The resolution passed and now commits the city to creating a Zero Waste plan that will achieve a 90% reduction in waste by 2050. Interim goals of 30 percent or better by 2025, 40 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2040 are also set.
The resolution calls for an official Zero Waste plan to be created within two years. A team of city staff and representatives from a local non-profit will lead the drafting of a plan. This team, called the Zero by 50 Leadership Team, are soliciting advice along the way from a Zero Waste Advisory Committee made up of local stakeholders as well as from the public.
Missoula’s Zero Waste plan is scheduled to be ready for public review by March of 2018.
The city is working with the operator of the town’s landfill to complete a baseline waste study in an effort understand how much waste the city is producing, what it’s made of, and where it’s coming from.
As a first step toward Zero Waste, Missoula’s mayor declared April of 2015 “Moving Missoula to Zero Waste Month.” Talks, tours, and clean up events were held throughout the month and involved local businesses and organizations.