Saturday, January 5, 2008

How to make trash disappear and the Zero Waste concept

Humans are the only creatures on earth that create waste. While there are many who would argue the validity of that statement, if waste can be defined as:

1. having served or fulfilled a purpose; no longer of use.
2. rejected as useless or worthless;
3. pertaining to material unused by or unusable to the organism

then this statement is, in fact, true.

In the natural world everything is used, and reused, in a continuous cycle. A description of this process is Waste = Food, which was coined by William McDonough. In his book Cradle to Cradle, with Michael Braungart, McDonough explains how products can be designed from the beginning to provide nourishment for something new, once the products' usefulness is over.

There are several ways we can begin to reverse the damage our "cradle to grave" mentality has caused:

  1. Buy natural, organic products that can be returned to the earth.
  2. Recycle, reuse, repurpose non-organic products.
  3. Take toxic waste products (i.e. chemicals) to an approved disposal location.
  4. Instead of throwing away items you no longer want: give them to needy individuals or families, donate them to charity thrift stores, join Freecycle and list them in your local area
  5. Start a recycling, reuse system at your job.
  6. Tell companies you buy products from to reduce wasteful packaging.
  7. Get Rid of Junk Mail (go to
  8. Sign up for paperless billing.
  9. Paper and food trash can be composted; plastics, aluminum, and glass can be sold to recycling centers.

What else can be done? I'd love to hear from you!

"Teach others by example. Share what you learn. Become the change you imagine." --Izmet