Why waste?

Taking out the trash is normal. At least that’s what I used to think. My dad is usually the one who actually takes the trash outside to the trash can but the idea of trash has been ingrained in my head my whole life. After all, the banana peels can’t just sit around in the house right? It’s happened before and we probably all know exactly how long it takes before it brings in bugs and starts to smell bad. My point is, I have become so used to trash that I never really thought about how nature deals with so called waste and how the way we humans deal with it is so backwards. Nature’s cycle takes what I might call waste and uses it as a source of food as the animals and plants that die are taken back into the ground and give nutrients to help grow new life. It’s a mind-blowing concept! Imagine if our society functioned like that??? It would make our society so much more successful! Learning a lesson from the environment around us would help us, a lot. After all, the Earth has been functioning for billions of years, which is a heck of a lot longer than humans have been on the planet. For example, the speed that we go through clothing is scary, trends go out of style in the snap of a finger and so how amazing would it be if we could discard the old coat in our closet by just composting it? And then that energy could be used to create a new item of clothing or something completely different. The concept of waste equals food is certainly an impressive on and I can only hope that one day we’ll find a way to make it happen.

As I look back at the articles I read this week Fletcher’s look at Material Diversity really got me fired up. I will always be an advocate for natural fibers because of my mom, and my love of knitting which has given me my appreciation for the “real” thing as opposed to the man made fibers that pale in comparison. However, I found it useful to know that even in natural fibers chemicals are often used to process and clean it because it was not something I was aware of. The problem I found with the article about Material Diversity is the fact that it doesn’t go into detail about the impacts of the chemicals used in processing fibers which made it difficult for me to understand the difference in between “waste” for natural fibers and man-made fibers.

The Cradle-to-Cradle article was not only fascinating but very valuable because it shows the difference in between society now and how it was in the past. For example, I own so much stuff that it takes up my whole room at home and a good portion of my room at school as well, most people in the past rarely had as much because they had less money and less space. McDonough has great information about how cradle-to-cradle works but I don’t think the biological and technical nutrients and their separate cycles seem very easy to implement.

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