Zero Waste movement

What really is the Zero Waste movement? The Zero Waste movement is much more, much more than a lifestyle. The Zero Waste movement seeks to create alternatives to the current economic model. Our planet is experiencing a Climate Crisis caused by the old Economic Model focused on making the Economy Grow linearly on a planet with finite resources. It is the model that we have been immersed in for decades (even centuries).  This old economic model prioritizes  growth and money over safeguarding our ecosystems and protecting our planet. We live on a planet with limited resources and we want to maintain a linear economy in perpetual growth. That is why we need to switch to a circular economy model and we have to do it as fast as we can. 

If I had to summarize it in a final sentence it would be (inspired by the phrase from the documentary):

In Nature Garbage does not exist lets make our economy work with a wiser logic like our planet.

Linear economy

This is the Linear Economy that is leading us to destruction. In this old model, we extract resources from Nature with the sole purpose of making the economy grow.

Economía linear

Extracción

It all starts with extraction. We irresponsibly extract resources from our beautiful planet with projects of death such as open-pit mining, fracking, valuable water for fast-fashion cotton crops, criminal oil from tar sands in Canada, etc.

Producción

The resources that we have extracted from nature are send to a factory for processing, most of the time with workers in terrible conditions living in the Global South. Such is the case of Fast Fashion.

Distribution

We create a distribution chain to bring them to market. As the goal is to foster perpetual economic growth, these products have to be on the market for the shortest possible time, so we bombard the consumer with advertising and offers.

Consumption

As our economy is focused on growing and growing and creating more things, most products are programmed to break down. I read that 80% of the items we consume stay in our house for only 8 months.

Final disposition

All those banal objects that we do not really need and that we acquire irresponsibly are taken to a sanitary landfill, an illegal dump or worse still to an incinerator plant.

Circular Economy. 

On the contrary, this is what a Circular Economy looks like. The model is very different. Nature guides the way in which the economy works (in nature, garbage does not exist, everything is reincorporated and its cycles are closed), it is a circular system. In this model, we make our goods and services industry mimic natural processes. Let’s imagine the production of a television (It is produced, used, delivered to the company, disassembled and the same materials are used to make a new product, without having to extract new products). The food is healthy and is produced without agrochemicals or toxic chemicals that our planet cannot digest. The model is called Cradle to Cradle.

Production

As it is a closed cycle then we do not need to be constantly mining new resources. We use existing materials, the industry is much cleaner and more responsible and avoids producing harmful chemicals from the source.

Production

Our economy produces items with the resources that are already circulating within the economy in a more responsible way. A very cool case is the fair phone. A phone that seeks to be modular and with materials extracted in a responsible way.

Use

We create a distribution chain to bring them to market and we use the services and consume their goods responsibly.

Returnability

Consumption – The products rejoin nature, since they are produced without agrochemicals or pesticides. An example is Green chemistry.

Product and Service- Materials are disassembled and put back into production.

Reincorporation

Disassembled materials are reincorporated into the service chain.

Biological nutrients are degraded and incorporated into nature (in this model we only produce inputs that can be digested by nature).

Bio-mimetics.
 
Another very interesting concept is biomimetics. In this model we learn from design in Nature and apply it to our industry. Nature has millions of years of experience in creating designs that are based on cooperation. Our industry needs to learn how things work in nature and apply them in order to create a new industry that is more respectful of the environment. 
 
1. For example, the real solution to the Climate Crisis is to reduce energy consumption, not to generate more and more energy. Nature uses only the energy it needs. We do not need so much energy, nor thousands of photovoltaic plants, nor wind plants, much less thermoelectric or gasoline plants etc. A better strategy is to focus on lowering our energy consumption and improving energy efficiency. 
 
2. In Nature, Garbage Does Not Exist. Garbage is an invention that is leading us to destruction. Let’s say goodbye to garbage from the way we design things. We can all participate in this new model. Companies also need to bet on the new Zero Waste paradigm. Encourage your organization to adopt better designs inspired by nature. 
 
3. Fertilizer in Nature. All cycles are closed, in nature nothing  gets wasted. That is why it is necessary for us to return waste to nature. It is necessary that we avoid food waste from the beginning and that we compost with organics. You can research more about biomimetics to apply it in yourdayly life, on your work, or in your company.