There is two ways to define waste. One is, that an item turns obsolete and cannot be used any longer. The other is that the item is toxic and therefore of concern for the environment.
Ironically, both problems are man-made.
Now it is time to address both of them.
Poor people, in particular in poor countries, generally do not trash things because they always find a use for everything. Things don’t turn worthless, just because they no longer serve the original purpurse. Everything can always be used for something. After all, it exists. Why burning or burrowing it?
Not because poor people were concerned about the waste as toxic waste. Initially not. Now, they are – for good reason-, as trash from industrial production is shipped to and disposed on their land. But in the first place, poor people lack money and therefore live a ressource-based economy, with trash being part of their resource. A very natural behavior indeed.
Recently, a new concept has been promoted that should solve our problems connected to waste: The concept of ‘cradle to cradle’. The idea behind ‘cradle to cradle’ is that all our production should be made of harmless, easily biodegradable material.
Michael Braungart, one of the early proponents of the system, is looking for a society, in which wasting makes sense. And his idea is being celebrated as the next industrial revolution.
The concept suggests that we, the consumers, will not have to make any effort. We are not required to change our habits. Instead, the industry promises to solve the problem with new products of no environmental concern. And we as consumers will be allowed to proceed with business as usual.
Such a revolution is made for the industry, which otherwise is in serious danger to run out of business. Such a revolution is not for the people or the environment.
The idea of ‘cradle to cradle’ is nothing new. ‘Cradle to cradle’ is simply nature’s principle. Coming along to suggest ‘cradle to cradle’ as a new concept for industrial products should make the products commercially viable.
Waste does not need new ideas. The very idea of waste has to vanish. Both because the products should be of no concern for the environment, but also because products have to last and fulfil endless functions in the natural cycle of matter and energy.
One of the reasons that led to the great depression in the 1920th was that the market was saturated. Production, and therefore employment and buying power ran dry, because the market was saturated with sound products of robust quality. Products were designed to last, putting the industry out of business. But putting the industry out of business also put the money out of business.
In the 1920th, people were challenged, but did not succeed to free themselves from the commercial interest, maybe because they did not trust in the power of community. Or, maybe because the industry was too quick to prepare for a plan B: The idea of making industrial products planned obsolescent.
But this time we have all the tools to get this straight. This time we gonna make the money – not the products – obsolete!
Nature is rich and does not economize. But nature doesn’t waste. Waste by definition does not make sense in nature. But Michael Braungart is “seeking for a society were waste makes sense”. Another industrial society selling us, this time harmless waste, but still for money.
We need to find ourselves in nature instead of trying to imitate and remodel our man made commercial system with products that can be wasted with good consciousness. The abundance of nature we can only experience in nature.
Cradle to cradle is nature’s principle.
Trying to imitate it, we will most likely fail.
Doing it for money is criminal.
I have a serious problem with the idea of manufacturing solar panels. Solar energy has been the principle driver of all energy and material transformation on our planet. I cannot imagine that we will be able to design a more efficient system to capture solar energy than what evolution has developed for us and including us. The vegetation is the perfect solar panel. Removing the vegetation in order to make room for dead, unlasting technical devices to produce electricity can only be in the interest of the industry and money. The vegetation does not only provide us with energy, but with products of all kind. From food to cosmetics. From building material to clothing.
The technology and the solutions for our sustainment are right in place. We only need to share the knowledge about it.