No Such Thing as Waste – Blog 3

I didn’t have an epiphany this week, but my main takeaways are that waste shouldn’t even exist and that less is more. Both of which are foreign concepts in today’s society. In both articles Industrial Ecology and How Will We Conduct Business? Closing the Loops in Commerce: Running a Business like a Redwood Forest, they stresses the importance of using waste as a resource. Before taking this class, I didn’t think about where my trash/waste went or what was being done to it. Once the trash-man picked up my trash, it was out of sight and out of mind. Now I’m starting to think a little bit differently. The article How Will We Conduct Business? Closing the Loops in Commerce: Running a Business like a Redwood Forest did a good job at relating our society to Type I systems and explaining our need to replace portions of our Type I systems with portions of Type III systems until we are sustainable like the natural world. I learned that there are clusters of companies out there that are actually using nature’s web of closed loops. They are connected in a food chain and dependent on one another for recourses or energy. One’s waste becomes the resource of another. What really astonishes me is that there are still companies out there that are not implementing these kinds of designs into their own buildings and companies. I wonder if it’s due to money, laws/regulations, or lack of knowledge/awareness of the sustainable designs out there waiting to be taken advantage of. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. I also wonder if were to rebuild our building and communities to were we all dependent on one another’s waste, would the waste from the rebuilding be “wanted waste”. So many of our current designs are made with harsh chemicals and non-renewable resources that are difficult to recycle. How much damage would we create in the process of rebuilding? I don’t think that should stop us from rebuilding, but it is a concern that I thought about.

I really liked how the article Industrial Ecology said that “wastes are merely resides that our economy has not yet learned to use efficiently”. The more we study nature and use our knowledge to experiment with different designs to use waste as a resource and create more closed loop systems, the closer we get to using it efficiently. When our society as a whole decides take advantage of these designs, we will all begin to realize that less truly is more, because we are able to provide for our own needs with what we already have. This kind of shift can’t happen overnight, but with more awareness and consumers pushing for these kinds of positive changes, our world can become more sustainable one step at a time.

My Carbon Footprint is calculated as 18 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, which is below the U.S national average of 27 carbon dioxide eq/year per person. I feel like the calculation was fairly accurate for me, however, saddening to think that the U.S. national average is 9 higher than me. I try my best to do the little things like recycle, reuse, reduce my consumption of water by not letting the water run while brushing my teeth and washing my face, reduce the amount of electricity I use by turning of the lights and TV when I’m not home or in the room, and carpool or walk/ride my bike instead of driving. It concerns me that our society as a whole can’t seem to put forth a little more effort into doing small things like that to reduce the national average and live a longer, happier, and healthier life on this planet. I learned that the area I need to work most on is home energy, which motivates me to pay more attention to the way I’m living and finding ways to reduce my use of energy at home.

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