Innovation, Inspiration, and Big Ideas– What to Expect at #ZWC2017


The 2017 Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Conference takes place on November 1. This year’s theme is ‘A Circular Economy Within Reach.’ Important issues such as ocean plastics, textiles, business and innovation, and circular cities are on this year’s agenda, along with keynote addresses by scientist and retired NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and food waste pioneer Tristram Stuart. Here’s a preview of what you can expect:

Orbital Perspective Brings Circular Economy Insights

We begin the day with a view from above. Like many people who have seen Earth from orbit, Dr. Cady Coleman came back with a desire to make our planet a better place.

“It’s clear that we have everything and everyone that we need down here to live sustainably.  Our success lies in being both open and brave when it comes to working together to find solutions to our terrestrial challenges,” says Coleman.

Collaborative systems change is at the heart of Coleman’s mission. She is currently a member of the the green chemistry council of, an organization dedicated to creating networks of change-makers, thought-leaders, and organizations – to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, circular economy., which was founded by NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State and NIKE, Inc., uses a networked, collaborative approach to sustainability issues. Expect to learn more about their strategy for delivering change, how you can emulate this innovative approach within your own organization, and the reasons why this kind of big picture thinking is the key to unlocking the benefits of the circular economy.  This is an incredible opportunity to hear a remarkable woman share her inspiring story. Don’t miss it!

A Winning Recipe for Food Waste Reduction

Following our opening keynote, we’ll tackle the big issue of food waste during our first panel session, Food Waste: How Do We in Canada Rise to the Challenge?

With a closer look at Canada’s National Food Waste Reduction Strategy and the perspectives of food waste leaders from the US, UK, and Canada this session will examine local food waste solutions, new national and international approaches, and the need for greater collaboration – across sectors, industries, and even political boundaries. A transformational shift in everything from technology to governance, using levers in policy and capital investment, is the only way to successfully reduce food waste. What’s the right balance between policy change and investment? Our panelists are sure to leave you with food for thought.

Tackling Waste in the World of Textiles

The textile industry is also challenged by waste issues. Fast fashion, resource intensive manufacturing processes, and materials that are hard to recycle all combine to make textiles a challenging place to embody circular economy principles. Nonetheless, industry is responding, innovators are finding solutions, and designers are bringing greater awareness of eco-friendly approaches to their work. What innovations and new solutions are industry embracing to eliminate waste across the value chain? What is the role of governments and the consumer in shifting the dial on textiles? The session Textiles: Fashion Forward Thinkers will tackle these tough questions and offer useful perspectives, delivering a better understanding of the issues and opportunities the textile industry is facing.

The impact of plastic on our oceans is one of the key topics at ZWC 2017

Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution

Following the lunch break (lunch is included in your registration fee!) plastics takes center stage with our session entitled Plastics: Reimagining a Global Material. Ubiquitous and useful, plastics are also ending up in places we don’t want them. Limited recovery and reuse has led to one of the greatest environmental issues of our time: plastics in our oceans and marine life. Current trends suggest that by mid-century the weight of plastic in the ocean could surpass the biomass of all fish. This panel will discuss what’s at stake and spotlight the latest global developments to keep plastics in our economy, but out of our oceans. Featuring contributions from researchers offering the latest information on ocean plastic, entrepreneurs bringing biodegradable plastics to market, and organizations dedicated to stemming the tide of plastic pollution, this panel will offer insights into the solutions required to reimagine a material indispensable to modern life.

Opportunity Knocks as Circular Economy Innovates

Innovation is next on the agenda, with an inspiring line-up of presenters asking big questions in our mid-afternoon panel discussion Business Innovation. How do we transform the delivery of goods and services in a way that eliminates waste but supports business growth and development? How do established businesses transition, and what new opportunities exist in the marketplace for start-ups and entrepreneurs? According to the consulting firm Accenture, the circular economy is the biggest economic opportunity of our time – worth upwards of $4.5 trillion by 2030. Don’t miss this opportunity to get a better understanding of the impact this massive shift could have for you.

Circular Cities Showcase Zero Waste Future

Urbanization is a key trend in today’s world. Cities are at the forefront of the circular economy, as hotbeds of innovation, economic opportunity, and eco-friendly policies. That’s why we’ve included a session entitled ‘Circular Cities’ in this year’s conference. Metropolitan areas offer an ideal testing ground for circular solutions – amplifying the social and economic impact of new approaches and providing the economies of scale for circular business models. Our panelists will explore these trends and offer a road map for understanding the landscape of an urbanized, circular economy.

Food Waste Pioneer Serves Up Inspiration for All

Our closing keynote, Tristram Stuart, went from teenage pig farmer to global food activist. His story is one of success in the circular economy – with lessons for anyone interested in the successful strategies and tactics for implementing zero waste solutions. Rest assured, you don’t need to be in the food industry to take away a big helping of great ideas from this inspiring speaker. But time is running out and spaces are filling up for this year’s conference. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hear from the key players in the shift to a circular economy. Visit today to learn more, or register now at

Register Today
The shift to circular economy principles will have impacts in all aspect of our lives. To succeed in the face of this massive, fast-approaching change, you need to stay informed.
 Metro Vancouver’s 2017 Zero Waste Conference is the place to get the insights you can use to adapt.  This year’s theme is A Circular Economy Within Reach. The conference will be held on November 1, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Register Now. Subscribe to this blog (sign up window at right) and stay up to date as we finalize an exciting list of speakers, panels, and presentations.  Metro Vancouver’s 2017 Zero Waste Conference is an event you don’t want to miss. We look forward to seeing you!

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