We already quoted the incredibly high numbers of waste in previous posts. Now one issue in modern life is, that zerowaste is not a feasible lifestyle for everyone. This means that the waste we create needs to go somewhere, which is why recycling is so important. Also, without recyling we will soon run out of certain materials the industry need for new products.
Why is recycling relevant for the discussion about sustainable consumption?
Imagine all the waste you produce ends up in a landfill or an incinerator. All the materials would be lost for good, while some could just as well yield high prices on raw material markets. Some industries have already started building their production on recycling materials, like recycled PET for new bottles, recycled glass bottles or recyling paper. Old laptops or smartphones are taken apart for the metals and rare earths that have been used to assemble them in the first place. Metals such as gold are way too valuable to be wasted. If we keep burning all the waste, we will consider many more things rare in the future. Plastic for example is made from crude oil, which is known to run out at some point. Finding ways to recycle more of what we waste will avoid lacking ressources in the future and decrease the amout of what we call waste.
Some companies have picked up a new model called "cradle to cradle" which takes the future waste into account at the beginning of the product development process, engineering every product and service in a fashion that allows for it to be disassembled and reused completely after it had served it's purpose. These product include carpets from interface, where fibers from used carpet segments are recyled into new ones, curtains from Pfister (interior retailer in CH) or shirts from C&A that are biodegradable. This concept is a possible solution to the current issue of over-consumption, as it does not require the majority of consumers to consume less, but it makes their consumption more sustainable by avoiding waste and the use of new ressources. If you want to help the environment, go for recycled or recyclable and encourage companies to close the loop!
So what clues are there on products that contain recycled or recyclable materials? Here are some common terms used:
- recycling paper or recycling FSC
- Blauer Engel
- "grüner Punkt"
- products descriptions pointing out they are made from "waste" (e.g. pure waste, www.purewaste.com)
- cradle to cradle certified
The recyclable materials heavily depend on where you live, as plastic recycling varies based on the country or even the district you live in. New EU legislation aims at harmonizing at least the EU countries.
#EcoMap #Change #SustainableConsumption #Recycling #ZeroWaste #CradeToCradle