W is for Waste
Zero-waste is not the future. It’s minus zero. Now that waste is a business proposition rather than just a hopeful “Let’s recycle” campaign, the future of waste management has just begun. And although the current goal is to create processes that collect waste to generate energy, whether trapping sunlight with LED filtering or using rice husks for fuel, moving forward it will be essential that strategies not only serve to clean up the environment using inventive methods such as sucking carbon dioxide out of the air to manufacture plastics, but actually begin to make our environments better. For example, leading designers today use the metaphor “design like a tree” which not only takes CO2 out of the air, but replaces it, thankfully, with oxygen so that we may breathe. Or, just look at our bodies from an evolutionary perspective and you’ll find that our skeleton is really the waste product of stockpiled calcium from the marine environment of early cells. As we begin to understand the techniques used by nature in which nothing is wasted or lost, the challenge remains as to whether our solutions cannot only surpass its genius, but serve our evolution and the creation of a better life for all.