These thoughts on Waste have been gathered the past 15+ years as I try to promote Waste Reuse concepts thru my small business in Delmar NY. My business has had modest success over the years and now has morphed from full retail hours to a breakeven part-time service; functional even within the pandemic.
Here is what I have learned about Waste:
Waste is created by need. Excess Waste is created by greed and convenience.
The Waste cycle starts at creating new, not at use.
Therefore, everything made /// new, used, reused, recycled /// is Waste.
Limiting Waste, starts by reduction of making new.
The focus has to be on better management at the start of the cycle and be driven by environmental impact not by convenience or profit targets.
Waste made because of need can only be reduced with a major voluntary “diet like” discipline which is not likely an effective tactic. Excess Waste has to be the target for reduction. Reducing excess inventory, returns and over production by 10% would be 10% less in landfills.
How do you slow down excess production when marketing for more sales regardless of demand motivates the manufacturers more than reducing the excess and therefore the Waste? Market messaging is designed to sell not to save Waste. Excess production that is never sold or used has no economic benefit to anyone; why create it?
Changing behavior to Reuse (vs. buying another new one) is another tactic that, if highly accepted by consumers, will lower demand and reduce making new. Today, however, the primary consumer motivation to Reuse is driven more by cost saving than by limiting Waste.
Manufacturers deliberately get in the way by using tactics to discourage Reuse (such as: electronic controls, overstating complexity and marketing messages) because they need to sell the excess inventory.
There needs to be an investment by manufacturers to develop more products with Reuse attributes. And then promote those attributes as Waste reduction options.
Today’s recycling, in the majority of cases, just defers getting the Waste to the landfills. Only in cases where it lowers production of new it is effective.
In the service sector excess capacity is managed by tactics such as process efficiencies and lowering staff. Tactics unavailable to production of new.
In manufacturing, excess production can only be managed by disposal; either throw it away or sell it to someone else to throw it away.
There is no one industry (like solar, wind, electric cars) focused on Waste reduction because there are no profit motivators. Today’s Waste efforts are focused on disposal & storage not on reduction of the excess.
Promotion of Waste reduction requires education and marketing resources that are difficult to obtain when there is no profit return for limiting Waste.
To be serious about what needs to done to reduce Waste requires understanding the starting point of Waste and supporting major top-down driven efforts that will create and fund the tactics necessary to stop new Waste creation.
Absence of that support — our Waste reduction tactics are band aid / feel good efforts that defer not stop the inevitable — more landfills / more harmful gases.
Mark Tremont – Owner
See More thoughts on Waste at my Blog — https://ifillinkjetsdotcom.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/reuse-its-easy/
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