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    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    End of Garbage?

    Sometimes it seems people are just reading our minds. Maybe we should go into publishing. Fortune has article called the End of Garbage which discusses the idea of ZERO WASTE. Lifefilter discussed this several days ago in our original Organic Sustainability article.

    Fortune looks at cities from Boulder, Co to Carrboro, NC (hey armadillo! good looking hometown neighbor) to brands such as Toyota, Nike, Xerox, HP, Stonyfield Farms, and Unilever who all believe in zero waste. Fortune goes into some stellar thoughts with William McDonough discussing " Wanting the industry to mimic biology, where one specie's excrement is another's food." Ok maybe not exactly like that, but its about elminating the entire concept of waste.

    San Francisco has a revolutionary company called Norcal Waste, which as Lifefilter proposed, is already coding wate in the "Fantastic Three", blue for recycling, green for food, and black for stuff thats destined for the landfill. Wastepaper, is the USA's No.1 export by volume to China, which becoems packaging for goods in China. Seems someone is putting our waste to use...

    The article goes on to explore the benefits of food scraps, which become an extremely rich mulch, which can be purchased by anyone. Winemakers believe the mulch gives their grapes a deeper flavor and are buying the stuff by the truckload. When consumers drink the wine, they are completing the recycling circle.

    Merchants get discounts and the city gets incentives for dealing with a smaller black bin sending less to the landfill. Incentivizing people financially makes it more expensive to do the wrong thing. Americans generate about 4.5lbs of garbage a day(EPA), and 1.5 is recycled. That leaves quite a bit of opportunity to still be utilized.

    I would love to see more action here in NYC similar to what SF is doing. Accountability is difficult to establish amongst consumers without incentives, with Norcal seems to have businesses buying in as well. Excellent opportunity here for the "branded utilities" or even peer networks to establish a waste economy that fuels the green economy. Great article, haven't found a link online yet, but pick up Fortune and check it out.


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