If you haven’t figured this out, there is no need to be embarrassed. The answer is not a word that we would commonly put in the same sentence as “resource.”
Resources have a special place in our ecological wordspeak. They are aligned with Mother Earth, sustainability, ecosystems and a host of other soothing terms that we use to describe the types of positive synergies and interrelationships between ourselves and our environment.
These are goals which we are gasping to achieve before we manage to set the planet on its final path to total flame-out.
On the other hand, the word that answers this question is raw, wreaks of excesses, and refers to things that have historically been wholly abandoned and banished to the nether regions and darkest corners of our world.
If you haven’t already guessed, the only resource on the planet that is not in decline is waste. In fact, it’s a resource that is growing at an alarming rate.
Characteristically, waste has a wholly negative connotation. According to Wikipedia: “Waste and wastes are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or it is worthless, defective and of no use.
Waste is produced using energy and resources. It contains energy and resources, no matter what form it is in and that energy and those resources can be released and reused.
But only if we have the means and the will to do that.
We are talking not only about scrap metal, but also plastics, biowaste, food waste and any other kind of waste that you can think of.
We can now take plastic and extract the petroleum that was used to make it.
We can take food waste and use it to grow food.
We can create electricity from waste. And so on and so on and so on. It not only makes sense to do this, it’s also becoming a cultural necessity.
We Need A Change Of Perspective About Waste.
In a world of ever-expanding demand that continues to over-stress the environment with landfills and deplete traditional supplies of non-renewable resources, the ability to recover resources and reuse them should be incentive enough to look at the problem of waste in a practical way.
Of course, nature has perfectly balanced production and decomposition to ensure sustainability. Waste products created by organisms and natural processes are entirely recycled by other organisms and processes.
Human beings, on the other hand, produce approximately 2.6 trillion pounds of unrecycled garbage in a year.
In Canada, we generate 31 million tons of garbage per year – about twice as much per person as Japan. Of that 31 million tons, about 67% goes to over 10,000 landfill sites where plastic and glass will take about a million years to break down, aluminum cans 500 years to disintegrate, tin cans 100 years to dissolve and paper 80 years to break down.
The health and environmental concerns associated with these sites are disturbing.
A Perfect Time For All Of Us To Start A New Habit
The amount of readily available information, statistics and technical discussion on this topic is legion.
Our purpose in this blog is to just shine a little light on it, in support of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, October 19th to October 25th.
Environmental change is the ultimate grass roots movement. Only the sum of our individual commitments to making recycling part of our lifestyle will make the difference between a greener tomorrow and something much less colourful.
Make The Choice…Start A New Habit
Don’t Let Your Garbage Go To Waste.