Nevada Green Institute, Inc.: Public awareness of zero waste

Project Title

How do Communities understand Zero Waste?

Research Question

The overall purpose of this project is to increase public awareness about Zero Waste Community. Engaging the whole community is paramount for the success of building zero waste communities. To achieve the behavioral change needed to get to Zero Waste communities, we must establish programs to educate and train residents, businesses, and even our visitors about what they can do to reduce waste. To accomplish this overarching goal, we need to increase public knowledge about zero waste. The public understanding and knowledge of the Zero Waste concept are fundamental to lay the groundwork for long term impact by building zero waste communities. How do communities understand Zero Waste?


Many communities across the country and around the world are working towards zero waste. In 2015 at the 83rd Annual Meeting, U.S Conference of Mayors adopted resolution In Support of Municipal Zero Waste Principles and a Hierarchy of Materials Management. In July 2019, Carson City government has implemented mandatory recycling. This is one of the significant progress that the City had made this year. However, focusing only on promoting recycling may not resolve all problems in terms of reduction of waste. Now, we are facing a big problem of where to dump our recycling materials. On June 17, 2019, a Guardian report from 11 countries tracks how US waste makes its way across the world – and overwhelms the poorest nations. According to The Guardian, hundreds of US cities are killing or scaling back their recycling programs. China stopped importing trash from other countries. Now, many cities in the US are facing a recycling crisis. Further, last year, the equivalent of 68,000 shipping containers of American plastic recycling was exported from the US to developing countries that mismanage more than 70% of their plastic waste. The newest hotspots for handling US plastic recycling are some of the world’s poorest countries, including Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia, and Senegal, offering cheap labor and limited environmental regulation. Nevada green Institute (NGI) is in the process of developing a working framework to increase public awareness and understanding of zero waste. The framework includes defining strategies, setting goals and objectives, and developing an assessment plan. This approach will build stakeholders from community organizations, educational institutes, local and state governments, businesses, and the citizen to create ongoing public outreach plan. To achieve this goal, understanding the public knowledge about the Zero Waste concept will help to shape its strategies.


Literature and best practices review:

  • What is the meaning of zero waste?
  • How do other communities educate the public about zero waste? (lesson learned success/challenges)
  • What type of strategies do they implement?

Develop survey questionnaires.

Suggested Skills

Ability to review the literature and best practices pertinent to the subject matter and identify success/challenges and develop lesson learned summary; develop survey questionnaires. Fields of study may include Psychology, Sociology, political science, Environmental Science, Planning, Geography, and other similar fields.

Agency Representative

Aster Girma
(775) 434-8409