About the Program

Rural Action’s Zero Waste program promotes the development of a zero-waste economy. In a zero-waste economy, product development prioritizes conservation of natural resources, product design incorporates ways to facilitate and encourage post-consumer reuse, repair, recycling, or composting, and all discards become assets that benefit the people, the planet, and the local economy. We support this ideal through general education about waste reduction & recycling, waste assessments of businesses, schools and organizations, zero waste events, social entrepreneurship, and the implementation of the Athens-Hocking Zero Waste Action Plan.

Taking the Zero Waste Pledge shows that an establishment, be it a business, a school or an organization, is committed to using natural resources wisely, increasing its environmental consciousness, and supporting the local economy through improvement in waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting.

Pledge Benefits

  • Waste system enhancements at your establishment aimed at reducing waste, increasing recycling and assisting with compost systems (if applicable).
  • Zero waste tips and guidance.
  • Research, as needed, to find solutions for specialized waste issues you may have at your establishment.
  • The opportunity to choose pledge points you think can be reasonably implemented over the next year. (Frequent choices for first time pledgers have included a staff training on Recycling Do’s and Don’ts and illustrated signage to help guide disposal choices at trash, recycling, and compost bins. Rural Action can assist with these.)
  • Social media promotion that lets your community know about you and the steps you are taking to reduce and manage waste at your establishment.
  • A Zero Waste Pledge decal for display purposes.
  • Potential reduction of your waste costs.
  • A one-year business membership to Rural Action.

Zero Waste Pledge Steps

  1. You contact us at zerowaste@ruralaction.org about taking the Zero Waste Pledge.
  2. We email you a waste survey to fill out.
  3. We meet with you and do a walkthrough of the current waste systems at your establishment.
  4. We perform an audit of your waste.
  5. We create a waste assessment report that quantifies and qualifies what we’ve learned. It highlights what is going well with your current waste practices and offers suggestions for improvements.
  6. Based on the report, you pick three zero waste goals you want to pledge to implement over the next year.
  7. You receive social media promotion by Rural Action, placement of your logo on Rural Action’s Zero Waste Pledgers webpage, a Zero Waste Pledge Certificate that identifies your chosen pledge goals (also linked into the pledger webpage), and you receive a Zero Waste Pledge window decal.
  8. Rural Action helps your establishment achieve your outlined goals by providing hands-on support.

Any establishment (business, school, or organization) can take the Zero Waste Pledge no matter how near or far they may be from the zero waste ideal. We consider it a journey. We encourage periodic pledge renewals over the years. In this way, additional new goals may be selected that help an establishment move that much closer to attaining zero waste over time.

The charge for typical Zero Waste Pledge services (as described above) for schools and small organizations/businesses is a one time fee of $100. Additional services may be contracted by the hour. The charge for these services for large establishments with a complex waste picture are contracted by the hour with Rural Action.


There may be grant funds available for small rural schools, organizations, or businesses to cover pledge services. Please contact zerowaste@ruralaction.org for more information.

See Who Has Taken the Pledge