I share Marjorie Clarke's concern, though, that the policy statement focuses
primarily on recycling at the expense of waste reduction.
The fundamental goal of Zero Waste should be an economy that minimizes
entropy: the degradation of resources from high value states to lower value
states, the lowest of which is unusable waste.
The great challenge then is to address PRODUCT DESIGN to retaining the value
of resources from one use to the next. We need to be thinking along the
lines of the German laws that make manufacturers responsible for their
products after their useful life.
In addition to a more efficient economy that provides goods and services at
lower overall costs, redesigning our economy in this way may also benefit
our national and regional economies in the global marketplace.
In July, over 150 nations agreed that global warming is happening, that the
threat is profound, and to develop a legally-binding agreement to be signed
in 1997 that sets targets and timetables for reducing greenhouse gas
emissions. This "Geneva Declaration" can be seen as the starting gun in a
global race to design and deploy the clean, super-efficient technologies and
systems of the 21st century. Nations that lead the creative wave of
innovation will prosper by providing world markets with cost-effective tools
to reduce or avoid fossil fuel dependency. Nations that cling to wasteful
ways will be left behind.
The winners will reframe their policies to irresistably draw their
entrepenuers and innovators to design and deploy increasing efficient
systems. Materials use is a critical factor in global warming: roughly
40-60% of world energy use can be traced to extraction, transport,
processing and disposal of materials.
I hope that Zero Waste can provide a roadmap for this policy restructuring.
Thank you for fine work so far!
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