Zero Waste Resources

Zero Waste Resources

40+ years of successful Zero Waste policy planning, facility design, and commercial operations.

Zero Waste is an urgent idea, one of the few paths to saving the Earth for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Many businesses have now looked to adopt it by using items such as refillable bottles, reusable packaging, and recyclable straws so they can be part of saving the environment one change at a time. It is also an emerging business industry, a vision, and a social movement. Zero Waste industries compete with waste industries for the entire supply of discards.

The term Zero Waste emerged in the 1990’s as a synonym for total recycling, the idea that all discards can always and should always be preserved for commercial reuse. The concept of Zero Waste is in direct opposition to wasting as a disposal option. Zero Waste is generally less costly than wasting because there is now so much resistance to landfilling and burning discards, which has driven up the cost of wasting.

The goal of Zero Waste policy is zero landfilling, zero burning, and maximum materials recovery. The method is to develop reuse, recycling, and composting fully for all types of discards. Zero Waste policy supports Zero Waste facility design. A central premise is the principle of highest and best use.

Policy Analysis and Planning

Urban Ore brings to the table a unique combination of business acumen and political savvy. We have helped write landmark laws that voters or elected officials have passed overwhelmingly. We have worked on countless policy documents that are the warp and weft of the industry in our region, which has some of the highest recycling rates in the world. We know that the current regulatory infrastructure is failing and needs to be reworked. We offer here some of the most successful efforts we have participated in.

Salvage Operations

We have proven over our history that labor-intensive scavenging at landfills and transfer stations is safe and can pay for itself. By working closely with regulators and insurance providers, we have written contractual agreements and established business-to-business relationships that protect all parties. Our cumulative safety record is outstanding. Our workers are paid living wages with excellent benefits. The tonnages we recover are impressive. We are interested in helping people develop salvaging and scavenging as an essential part of any Zero Waste operation on any scale anywhere in the world.


Urban Ore is an operating company and does not need consulting income to prosper. We have developed expertise because our hypotheses about both reuse and recycling are tested daily in real-world trading with both suppliers and buyers, and our customer base is as diverse as can be found anywhere. We’d like to help communities design Zero Waste systems, but we do not respond to RFPs. If you want to hire us to consult, just call or email. We enjoy consulting because it helps us consolidate our learning and focus our teaching about the multiple fascinating fields involved in developing resources. Also, we like to help others succeed.


Zero Waste science builds the conceptual infrastructure that Zero Waste industries will use to build the resource infrastructure. The science of Zero Waste exists both as a theory and as a set of practical applications. It has many contributors and practitioners. A few of us are here today; many more are back on the job.

Facility Design

Designing Zero Waste resource recovery facilities is an emerging industrial art and science that we have been honored to help develop. Our own facilities have been redesigned again and again, which gives us a strong foundation for this work. We get to see how everything changes after inventory, equipment, and functions are moved around. We have a team of architects and recycling experts who would love to work with you. We’ve completed over two dozen Zero Waste resource recovery park designs around the world. The average cost for a schematic runs about US $15,000. Pretty affordable. Will yours be next?