The currently consumption-driven society produces an enormous volume of waste every day. Continuous depletion of natural finite resources by urban populations is leading the globe to an uncertain future. Therefore, to prevent further depletion of global resources, sustainable consumption and a strategic waste management system would be required. It is evident that a significant number of global non-renewable resources such as cadmium, mercury and tellurium will experience permanent shortfall in global supply within the next two to three decades. Astonishingly, the current recycling rate of these very scarce metals is significantly low in all cities around the globe. The concept of the zero waste city
includes a 100% recycling of municipal solid waste and a 100% recovery of all resources from waste materials. However, transforming currently over-consuming cities into zero waste cities is challenging. Therefore, this study aims to understand the key factors waste management systems in cities such as consumption, resource depletion and possible decoupling opportunity through implementing the “zero waste city” concept. The study proposes five significant principles for transforming current cities into zero waste cities in the context of long-term sustainability. A simultaneous and harmonized application of sustainable behaviour and consumption, product stewardship, a 100% recycling and recovery of resources, legislated zero landfill and incineration are required to transform current city into a zero waste city.