Zero Waste Resolution

Jurisdictions in Sonoma County have implemented or are considering a Zero Waste Resolution with the goal of reducing material going to the landfill by 2030.

Zero Waste supports: Reducing waste; Promoting the best and highest use of material; Promoting more sustainable consumption; And endorsing resource conservation and preservation.


The jurisdictions in Sonoma County have collectively adopted regional goals for waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. These goals are stated in the Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan as well as the Sonoma County Regional Climate Action Plan (CAP).

Landfills are a significant source of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) methane, so it is very important that we divert organic waste including food from landfill disposal. Reuse and recycling of materials are additional approaches we must continue to support in order to protect our finite natural resources.

The Sonoma County Central Landfill has a remaining capacity between 15-25 years if our disposal remains steady year after year. It is far more cost effective to reduce our landfilled material through Zero Waste principles and policies than to build a new landfill or haul our solid waste to out-of-county landfills, which requires additional costs for transportation and increased GHG emissions.

Similar to what has been done in the fields of water conservation and energy efficiency, avoidance of waste is better than remediation. In other words, it is more effective to prevent the consumption of unfavorable materials than it is to manage their disposal. A great example is minimizing the use of single-use plastics versus cleaning up these items when they escape into our environment and waterways and burden our landfill.

Source: Zero Waste International Alliance

Zero Waste is also about looking upstream - to the manufacture of goods in sustainable ways. A circular economy is a term for an industrial economy that is producing no waste and pollution by design or intention. Materials circulate without being lost to the system, thereby forming a closed-loop system.

Image: Catherine Weetman, via Wikipedia Commons

Re-Thinking Progress: The Circular Economy

The concept of a circular economy presents an opportunity to rethink and redesign how we make things, and how we manage them at the end of their useful lives. The video below, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation provides an overview of this concept.

How was the Zero Waste Resolution created?

The AB 939 Sonoma County Local Task Force on Integrated Waste Management (LTF) is an advisory body created by the County Board of Supervisors to advise the Board of Supervisors as well as the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (SCWMA) also known as Zero Waste Sonoma (ZWS).

Through input from stakeholders including ZWS, 350 Sonoma, North Bay Jobs with Justice, Sierra Club Redwood Chapter, Compost Coalition of Sonoma County, Zero Waste Sonoma County, North Bay Labor Council, the Regional Climate Protection Authority, Sonoma County Conservation Action, Recology Sonoma-Marin, Sonoma County Resource Recovery, and other local businesses and engaged citizens, the resolution was created.

Where are we now?

The SCWMA Board of Directors adopted the Zero Waste Resolution at its September 19, 2018 Board of Directors' meeting and requested that SCWMA staff work with member jurisdictions to present the Zero Waste Resolution to SCWMA member agencies for their consideration.

Of the ten jurisdictions, nine have adopted the resolution.

Adopted: City of Cloverdale (8/2019); City of Cotati (9/2019); City of Healdsburg (4/2019); City of Petaluma (7/2019); City of Sebastopol (10/2018); Town of Windsor (7/2019); City of Sonoma (10/2020); City of Santa Rosa (11/2020); County of Sonoma (8/2021)


Download Model Zero Waste Resolution (.PDF)