Recycling is a Joke without a Bigger Plan in Mind

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Recycling – how effective is it really?

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There so many efforts, articles, and statistics that address both sides of the recycling equation, such as this article on recycling and the water bottle industry.
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To my point however, the nonlinear increase in production of things like plastic bottles, far excedes the ability to recycle them, due to lack of creating economic constraints to buy the recycled stuff back.
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Additionally, most recycled plastics do not get returned to the front end of the industries for its re-use, such as water bottles as they describe in the article.
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My mission is to get people and cities and nations thinking beyond end-of-use recycling to FULL CYCLE, or cradle to cradle, integrated design solutions relating to the making and use of a product. This is the ONLY way we are going to get ourselves out of the mess we’ve made.
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This effort means designing ‘whole-system’ solutions that include efforts which enforce companies who make a product to bring it back into their product-making processes. Be it a bottle or a cell phone, etc, all products are to be returned to the factory where they were made for incorporation back into new product production streams.
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closedloopmetabolicsystem
Until then, I stand that recycling can never catch up to production, and is a false promise in our attempt to ‘save the environment’, let alone ourselves. Especially within a world where the population growth, and thereby ever increasing product demand, have gone non-linear.
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* See my metabolic closed-loop system diagram to stimulate your ideas on how to create a (w)holistic recycling system. This is the model that needs to become the standard for sustainable corporate product design and development.
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More from my blog on this subject.

 

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2 thoughts on “Recycling is a Joke without a Bigger Plan in Mind”

  1. Hi,

    I am very interested in the greening initiative in terms of going paperless, however I am not sure if this is indeed a myth and would like to find solutions:

    I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON MY MASTERS TOPIC: The potential of establishing a paperless e-HR service offering in view of a greening strategy at Higher education institutions.

    This can only occur if we embrace technology and utilise it to its full potential. Would like to know your thoughts and would appreciate new innovative ideas if you want to share. i have read numerous articles with most saying the same thing.

    1. Hello Ari,
      Sounds like an important topic for your masters topic. If you do consider focusing on the paperless model, I encourage you to look into the products being used that replace paper and where they end up after their end of life. Much of this you will find in the form of printers, ink and cartridges, and computers themselves become increasing higher levels of waste and get shipped overseas to 3rd world countries where sickness from the toxins are growing at an increasing rate. Plus, with the simplicity of hitting our print button, we are (some say) using even more paper than before. All apart of people attempting to move toward paperless. Thus, there are nuances everywhere that are not being accounted for in the cost and impact of a paperless model. And yet, potentially, your white paper could point to ways of closing the loop (w)holistically on all end-of-use products – from paper to printers. It would mean considering how the products will be recycled, not after the product is built and used and thrown out, but instead at the front end when it is getting designed. Starting with something like I am proposing in the simple (yet complex) closed loop diagram below. Send me your article when you’re done, as I would love to see it. I am open to supporting you with feedback as you write it as well. All the best, Vic D 🙂 (p.s. Are you going to print it out onto paper?! LOL)

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