ZERO by FIFTY Framework

 The ZERO by FIFTY framework consists of a set of guiding principles and a set of connected focus areas or “paths.”

Guiding Principles

Four key principles frame the objectives and guide implementation of the recommendations in this plan.

Rethink: Wasted materials = resources

This plan is informed by two assumptions: waste is not inevitable, and wasting resources is an unsustainable contemporary cultural norm. The vast majority of materials discarded in U.S. landfills every day are simply misplaced resources.  The success of ZERO by FIFTY will rely on the extent to which current and future Missoulians’ perceptions of materials can be cognitively reframed from “waste”-in-waiting to “resources” that have significant value in a circular economy.

Maintain Equity

This plan is informed by the belief that achieving Zero Waste is a community effort. Involving all Missoulians in ZERO by FIFTY will require equitable implementation of Zero Waste strategies in a manner that eliminates barriers to participation, encourages ownership of a shared vision, and causes no extraordinary burden on any particular group.

The City of Missoula recognizes that some of the actions necessary to achieve community Zero Waste goals recommended in this plan require additional costs to implement and maintain. While Zero Waste services and actions are largely positive for Missoula, extra costs can be an unintended burden, especially for low- and fixed-income households and other vulnerable Missoulians. Recognizing this important tension will be a guiding consideration in ZERO by FIFTY implementation, and every effort will be made to mitigate those negative externalities.

Prioritize upstream and midstream solutions

This plan is informed by the awareness that we cannot recycle our way to Zero Waste.  Upstream solutions are source-reduction strategies that equate to using fewer resources through selection of durable, long-lasting goods and those made with minimal toxicity and minimal volume of material. Midstream solutions include reuse, repair, refurbishing, repurposing, and other strategies that retain or increase the value of existing value-added goods and materials.

Incorporate transparency and accountability

ZERO by FIFTY is rooted in Missoula’s values, and in the recognition that our community is better when government policy and service is a reflection of, and is informed and shaped by, constituents, stakeholders and staff from the public and private sectors in an open and inclusive process and venue. This transparency underpinned the process to the ZERO by FIFTY plan development and will continue as a foundation moving forward with implementation.

Accountability is the natural complement to transparency, especially as the City and partners move ZERO by FIFTY from planning to execution. Accountability provides a measure of performance and demonstrates a commitment to providing context and background for how and why decisions are being made. Accountability is also a commitment to sharing accomplishments and acknowledging lessons learned to provide an iterative, flexible process and strategy that ensures resiliency and success.

Transparency and accountability will be accomplished by:

  • Establishing clear goals and performance measures

  • Regularly measuring progress toward goals and performance measures

  • Producing, presenting, and distributing annual progress reports

  • Providing multiple channels and means for community access to view and request information and to provide ideas for and participate in policy and service decisions

  • Ensuring engagement of a diverse cross-section stakeholders and citizens

Transparency and accountability maintain and grow confidence in government and ensure essential collaboration and public engagement.

The Four Paths to Zero by Fifty

The recommended actions in this plan are organized into four connected focus areas or “paths.” These four paths represent the priorities identified by Missoulians at the ZERO by FIFTY community listening sessions, and they align with best practices identified through research of model Zero Waste communities.