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Waste – It’s a resource March 13, 2009

Posted by gbcpublicaffairs in waste.
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There was an interesting report in the Economist at the end of February, focusing on waste. It was pretty unusual to see such a detailed report about rubbish.

This is because, as the report highlighted, rubbish may be universal, but it is little studied and poorly understood. Nobody knows how much of it the world generates or what it does with it. The report suggests this  is because waste is something its owner no longer wants or takes much interest in. I believe this is the fundamental problem – the words around waste need to change – it is a resource that needs to be renewed and valued. A number of organisations talk about this mindset change, but I don’t think that it has really happened.

For example, how much information is given out about energy from waste, or how waste can be converted to fertiliser or chemicals? And how much is known about the methane gas released from landfill, a greenhouse gas which is 25% more potent than carbon dioxide.

In fact, the only recent press coverage about recycling has been negative – about stockpiling, and the drop in market value of recycled goods.

I think it is important that we talk more about the positives of recycling and waste reduction. For example, there is an interesting new initiative called Jug It, which is sold at Sainsbury. They claim their jugs produce 75% less waste than a standard 2 pint plastic milk bottle. You buy milk bags and then put into the jug.

New innovations are happening all the time around waste – people need to know about them.

By Letitia Hughes