About Us

Reduce. Reuse. Rethink.©

At the Zero Waste Boise Institute, the last thing we want to talk about is … trash.

While we strongly believe in recycling, it’s not the first thing we’d like to talk about, either.

That’s because we’d prefer to rethink waste, altogether.

Rather than talking about how to bin, bag, or bury our ever-mounting discards, what we’d really like to talk about is: preventing trash at its source. In other words – reducing the amount of stuff we use in the first place, and re-using and re-circulating what we already have.


  • Most of what we acquire today is destined to become trash, tomorrow.
    Up to now, recycling has diverted no more than one-third of our waste from the nation’s landfills.
  • The stuff we use today was manufactured, packaged, and shipped at a significant cost to our natural environment, yesterday.
    The “true cost” of most new items is far greater than their price tag, when you factor in natural resources depleted, water and energy drained, pollutants emitted, and fuel exhausted.
  • Unless we make the most of what we’ve already extracted, we’ll continue extracting, emitting, and expelling even more.
    In short, as long as consumers continue to take it, industry will continue to make it.

It’s time to think twice about the impact of our consumer choices on the places we live and love.

The solution is simple:

Think Before You Take.

Think Before You Toss.

Starting today.

It’s easier – and far more rewarding – than you might think.

The Zero Waste Boise Institute is here to help!

Buying Future Trash

Sign Up for the ZWBI Newsletter

(We will never share your information)

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
The Lorax


Five years and about 2 million tons of Treasure Valley trash ago, a mother read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax to her wide-eyed child. The message, penned in 1971 but largely unheeded in the decades to follow: If you take and you toss, and you never replace, soon there’ll be nothing left.

The youngster, not yet tall enough to peer over the top of a blue cart, got the message.

“Mommy, can we tell everyone they should stop chopping down trees to make stuff, right away?”

A few weeks later, the mother and child visited an art exhibit depicting a barren Martian landscape.

“Mommy, is that what our planet will look like, if we keep chopping down trees to make more stuff?”

The mother recalled the Lorax’s prophecy: “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

The Zero Waste Boise Institute was founded in 2017, inspired by a preschooler who asked the right questions, the commonsense principles of a vintage children’s story, and a group of concerned parents who care a whole awful lot about the future of southwestern Idaho – and the rest of this blue-green planet that we will gift to our children, grandchildren, and their children to follow.

Mission & Goals

The Zero Waste Boise Institute seeks to minimize solid waste accumulation in southwestern Idaho, by advancing the principles of Reduce and Reuse, through educational outreach and local initiatives.

ZWBI was founded to realize three primary aims:

  1. REDUCE. ZWBI encourages the sustainable consumption of material goods through greater awareness of the environmental, financial, and social impact of “throw-away” consumerism.
  2. REUSE. ZWBI facilitates local opportunities to re-purpose and re-circulate reusable items, to minimize landfill storage, and to provide consumers with alternatives to newly manufactured goods.
  3. RETHINK. ZWBI promotes resourceful ways of living well with less, in order to ensure a pristine, habitable, and naturally abundant landscape for future generations of Idahoans.

Nonprofit Status

ZWBI is registered as a nonprofit organization with the state of Idaho, and has been granted federal tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Founding Board Members

Patty Costello, PhD | Neuroscientist; Children’s Author

Nina Dutton | Finance Specialist

Rebecca Gettelman, MD | Internal Medicine Provider

Pete Pearson | World Wildlife Fund Food Waste Specialist

Lisa Uhlmann | Fundraising Specialist


Jillien Morga Eijckelhof | Founder/Coordinator