Archive for July 16th, 2012
When it comes to going green, you hear the word “zero” a lot. Zero net energy. Zero emissions. Zero waste. Expect to hear more about the latter, and for good reason: The world’s landfills are bursting at the seams, and the problem is only expected to get worse.
Once upon a time, we bought goods with the expectation that they would last; cars, appliances, televisions and telephones were prized for their ability to endure. We now buy these items based on their desirability, not their durability. We’ve been conditioned to accept that they last only a few years and eagerly replace them with something more exciting.
The problem is that we’re running out of places to throw things away. Given that the average American tosses out nearly 1,600 pounds of trash each year and the rest of the developed world isn’t far behind, it becomes obvious that the “buy and throw away” mentality is unsustainable.
It’s not just the end-products that we throw away. It’s the waste we produce from the products’ entire production life cycles, which likely far exceeds the mass of the products themselves. This has led to a concept called zero-waste manufacturing, as more companies are vowing to reduce the amount of waste they produce from their manufacturing processes to virtually nothing. Read the rest of this entry »