In the West, we lead incredibly carbon intensive lives. Food we eat, the products we consume, cars we drive, heating in our homes. Reducing this involves rethinking how we design, use and dispose of things, minimising wastage throughout production, useful life and after we’re finished with them. Closed loop systems may help us find this alternative path towards Zero Waste.
In theory, we can eliminate waste, by better understanding the life cycles of processes and systems. Cutting waste will mean massively increasing efficiency across our resource use from cradle to grave.
So is any of this really possible? “Zero Waste is about society as a whole, at local, regional, national and global levels.” explains Robbie Weir, Envirowise Programme Manager for Scotland. “For example, without fundamental change to how we consume crisps, it’s hard to fundamentally change the nature of a crisp packet. It has certain requirements in terms of functionality, and these are defined by how we consume the product inside.”
“There are three tiers of action to make this work,” he continues. “Legislation, cost drivers, and the moral component. If you combine laws, use technology to make sustainable packaging affordable, or differentiate it, finding a way to offset the extra costs, then the sustainable and recyclable packaging starts becoming the cheaper and the more effective packaging.”