By Julie Thibodeaux     

 Ready to take your recycling to the next level? Here’s an event for you. The Zero Waste Boot Camp will be held Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Faith Memorial Church, located at 1914 South Ewing Ave. in Dallas. The workshop, hosted by Adbongo, a Dallas-based business incubator/accelerator, is aimed at green and sustainable businesses, leaders, and anyone interested in learning more about zero waste. The cost is $75 in advance and $95 on the day of the event. Students and seniors pay $25.

This event is one of a series of boot camps Adbongo is hosting in preparation for a project it’s developing called the Dallas Resource Recovery Park, across from McCommas Bluff Landfill. John Bush, president of Adbongo, said the co-op will create the city’s first sustainable business community, focused on people, profits and the planet. “Every type of business is welcome as long as they are committed to zero waste and the triple bottom line,” said Bush. 

Adbongo will offer business development and marketing to the park’s tenants while fostering partnerships among business owners. In addition, the development will be pioneering the zero waste philosophy, with the longterm goal of diverting 90-100 percent of its commercial waste from incineration or landfills. The facility aims to turn the community’s waste streams into revenue streams, Bush said. “We’re training businesses for a new economy,” said Bush. “Zero waste is the next level in sustainability.”

The keynote speaker at the Dallas boot camp is Gary Liss, one of theleading authorities on zero waste management. Liss helped design zero waste programs for a number of cities, including Austin, Palo Alto and Los Angeles.He will be offering an introduction to zero waste, as well as some real world examples and solutions.


(Gary Liss, keynote speaker at the Dallas Zero Waste Bootcamp)





Liss said he first delved into zero waste while serving as executive director for the California Resource Recovery Association in the 1990s. He and his colleagues were inspired by Canberra, Australia, which adopted a zero         

waste plan in 1996. Canberra’s success ignited new interest in recycling, which had been accepted in cities across the U.S. but had plateaued. “People thought recycling was done,” he said. “When they got curbside recycling, they thought that was it.”

When private businesses all over the world began adopting zero waste goals to increase efficiency and save money, Liss said they knew they were on to something.  “We were very encouraged that this wasn’t just an idealist goal or dream,” said Liss. “The only question was how do we foster it.” Liss said while zero waste seems like a futuristic goal to some, it mirrors the efficiency of nature. “A waste to one species is food or a resource to another,” he said. It also draws on the habits of our forefathers. Previous generations typically reused material and repaired items instead of replacing them. It wasn’t until after WWII, that abundance became the norm and a throw-away culture developed.

 “We made a wrong turn down the wrong path,” he said. “We can change that.” Today as companies are looking for new ways to increase profits, zero waste is becoming the new business model. During the last decade, a number of well-known companies have adopted zero waste goals, including Hewlett Packard, Epson Portland and Honda. However, Liss pointed out that recycling is only one part of the solution. Many times more waste and environmental destruction is created in the manufacturing of products and the extraction of materials, he said. Businesses also need to look at ways to reduce waste up front by better planning and by reusing materials in creative ways. “It’s as American as apple pie,” he said. “Efficiency used to be something our ancestors prided themselves on. That’s how we’re going to rebuild our economy.”

In addition to the boot camp, a free rally will be held Jan. 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Faith Memorial Church. To register for the bootcamp, go to For more information, see and

Julie Thibodeaux is a Fort Worth-based freelance writer focusing on environmental issues, green trends and sustainable living. Contact her at