Zero Waste Philosophy
In recent decades, resource scarcity has emerged as a growing, global concern. For example:
- If everyone lived the lifestyle of the average American, we would need five planets (Global Footprint Network, 2010)
- In 2008, Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled or composted 83 million tons of material (EPA, 2008)
- The average American produces 4.5 pounds of garbage a day (EPA, 2007)
- The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year (Willis, 2010)
- Recycling just 1 ton of aluminum cans conserves more than 207 million Btu, the equivalent of 36 barrels of oil, or 1,665 gallons of gasoline (EPA, 2008)
The concept of zero waste aims to address the challenge of resource scarcity by changing the way we look at material goods. When an individual is done with a product, the zero waste concept states that it be treated as a potential resource rather than waste.
This involves working with product developers and engineers to design durable and easily reusable products, but it also requires effort on the part of the consumer. Most importantly, the zero waste concept requires that we abandon the tradition of buying, using, and discarding in favor of a more cyclical materials economy.
In other words:
The traditional materials economy