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Zero Waste Conference 2022 Recap: Inspiring a Flood of Change

Sparx recently attended the Zero Waste Conference in Vancouver, a game-changing event packed with incredible insights into the circular economy and how to build a waste-free future. Here are our key takeaways from this inspiring event.

/ 30 mins / SparxTeam

In the words of spoken word artist Shane Koyczan, “Change is like the rain, it starts with a single drop.” 

Well, the recent Zero Waste Conference (ZWC), where Koyczan delivered an incredible spoken word performance of Shoulders, felt like a deluge! 

From changing how we view waste to presenting tangible ways companies and consumers can alter business practices, the conference got us inspired about building a waste-free future.

Here’s a recap of the event and key takeaways that won’t stop circling in our thoughts.

Embarking on the Zero Waste Journey Together

At this two-day event, Sparx had the chance to attend panel discussions, learn from guest speakers, network and participate in side events such as the National Zero Waste Council Members Breakfast Forum and a session on Advancing a Circular Economy Strategy for Canada.

There was so much to take in, however it was amazing to see so many people from different backgrounds come together to engage on the topic of zero waste. Not only did the ZWC shed light on the many urgent calls to ensure both nature and communities thrive, it also reminded us that there are many like-minded innovative thinkers who are committed to circularity. 

For us, another big highlight was seeing individuals and organizations featured in Make The World Better magazine share the same stage. Cody Irwin of Sharewares (Issue 1), Sumreen Rattan of Moment Energy (Issue 2), and Jessica Regan of FoodMesh (Issue 3) provided the audience with compelling examples of the impact these entrepreneurs and their respective teams are achieving! 

Facing the Facts

There were a lot of important insights and discussions during the event, which brought the challenges facing our planet into sharper focus. 

Some alarming numbers define the work ahead:

  • 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year
  • Cities occupy 3% of global land surface, consume 75% of global resources, and produce 60-80% of global greenhouse gas emissions 
  • 65% of consumers want to buy from purposeful brands but only 26% do

As dire as these numbers are, there is hope. We were inspired by many speakers but, in particular from Jenn Harper and Michael Pawlyn, whose presentations reminded us that the solutions to our current problems abound in nature and that work is well underway to shift towards a more circular economy. 

Rethinking Our View of Waste

One of the most inspiring moments of the conference was when Katie Treggiden presented her closing remarks on rethinking and recategorizing waste. By redrawing our mental model of the idea of ‘waste’ from something that should be discarded into something that has value, we can rethink all points along a production sequence to move towards circularity. 

By starting with the end in mind and recognizing that what we view as disruption is actually going back to the way we used to do things (i.e before mass production methods became the norm), we can start making tangible progress to address the problems stated above. Somewhat poetically, we have to go back to where we came from in order to truly move forward. 

Another important piece of advice given by Treggiden was that we are all capable of sustainably effecting change, and the best way to do that is to find the intersection of what we’re good at, what the world needs, and what we love doing – a piece of wisdom that is very close to the Japanese concept of ikigai

Marketing the Circular Economy

We heard it in the words of Koyczan that “stories burn lessons into our memories, they become how we remember.” 

These words resonate with our view that storytelling and marketing will be essential to moving hearts and minds to get on board with embracing the circular economy. 

We believe, as the ZWC does, that by amplifying good through providing a platform for changemakers, efforts like Make The World Better magazine can inform others about the work being done to reduce and rethink waste, and in the process inspire a flood of change, one drop at a time. 

Next Steps

Do you want to help build a zero-waste future? Start by reading and sharing the circular economy edition of Make The World Better magazine. Find out more about organizations making real change, and how to support them. 

If you need marketing to reach a broader audience regarding your circular economy-based solution, reach out to us. We’d love to learn more and chat. 

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