A Resolution Adopting Zero Waste as a Guiding Principle and Supporting the Creation of a Zero Waste Plan

WHEREAS, “Zero Waste” is a whole systems approach that aims to change the way materials flow through society, resulting in no waste; Zero waste is a conceptual ideal rather than a hard target, accepted as a waste diversion goal of 90% or better; and,

WHEREAS, the Zero Waste philosophy accepts that natural resources must be used in the most ethical, economical and sustainable way possible as earth and human systems are interconnected and interdependent; and,

WHEREAS, sustainability is defined as "the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Brundtland Commission of the United Nations, March 20, 1987); and,

WHEREAS, the guiding principles of Zero Waste are: managing resources instead of waste; conserving natural resources through waste prevention and recycling; turning discarded resources into jobs and new products instead of trash; promoting products and materials that are durable and recyclable; discouraging products and materials that can only become trash after their use; and using education as a tool to maximize community engagement; and,

WHEREAS, the mission of Teton County, Wyoming government is to support the well-being of its residents by providing responsive and efficient services; providing programs and facilities that contribute to public health, safety and welfare; and supporting the community’s goals as expressed in the Jackson-Teton County Comprehensive Plan; and,

WHEREAS, the Teton County Board of County Commissioners' Strategic Plan, Adopted July 16, 2013, proclaims intent to “Facilitate sustainable living and business practices in our community” and “Reduce Teton County’s environmental footprint through sustainable practices”; and,

WHEREAS, the program mission of Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling (ISWR) is to “Reduce, reuse, recycle, and manage municipal solid waste throughout Teton County, Wyoming, in an efficient and environmentally-sound manner”; and,

WHEREAS, almost 40,000 tons of waste is generated in Teton County each year by residents, businesses, institutions and visitors, and approximately 70% of this amount is sent over 100 miles away for landfill disposal; and,

WHEREAS, current technologies used for incineration and the placement of waste materials in landfills do not meet the goals of zero waste alone and can cause damage to human health and the environment, waste natural resources, and wrongly transfer liabilities to future generations; and,

WHEREAS, recognizing that voluntary recycling has not, and in all probability cannot, achieve Zero Waste goals; and,

WHEREAS, recognizing that some materials in Teton County’s waste stream may not be divertible; and,

WHEREAS, the highest and best uses of waste resources are source reduction, reuse, recycling and composting, in accordance with the US Environmental Protection Agency's Waste Management Hierarchy; and,

WHEREAS, local government has the unique opportunity to lead by example and establish criteria needed to eliminate waste, so that manufacturers produce and businesses sell materials that can be safely recycled or composted; and,

WHEREAS, recognizing that capital investments may be required to provide adequate indoor and outdoor space and infrastructure for expanded recycling and other waste diversion programs; and,

WHEREAS, increased recycling and composting have the potential to decrease Teton County’s waste disposal costs and ecological footprint.


The Teton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) hereby adopts the concept of Zero Waste as a guiding principle for all County operations and for outreach, programs and actions within the community, in alignment with BCC Statements of Strategic Intent regarding Organizational Excellence, Environmental Stewardship, Vibrant Community, and Economic Sustainability.

The Teton County Board of County Commissioners hereby directs ISWR staff to develop a Zero Waste Plan for Teton County.

The Zero Waste Plan will be completed by the close of fiscal year 2015, and will address Teton County, “the organization,” and Teton County, “the community and geographic area.” Teton County is committed to promoting, facilitating, and modeling Zero Waste in the community. The Zero Waste Plan will be designed to achieve the initial goal of increasing waste diversion for Teton County as a whole, to 60% or better by the year 2030.

The Zero Waste Plan will assess the County’s current levels of resource use and wastage; identify objectives; and recommend short-, medium-, and long-term actions to reach Zero Waste goals. The Zero Waste Plan will, within budget constraints, seek to effectively, efficiently, and quickly address the issues identified, as well as allow for a public process to address recommended actions.

This resolution shall become effective upon adoption.


 FINAL SIGNED ZW Resolution 9-16-14.pdf