An adverse by-product of today’s urban and all-consuming lifestyle, solid waste presents pressing environmental consequences as we plan for the future, with the global generation of solid waste set to increase 70% by 2050, exceeding more than 6 million tonnes of waste per day (Bhada-Tata and Hoornweg, 2012).
World wide, cities are embracing tactics that target waste reduction (Masaru, 2013), with considerable disparities in societal attitudes, behaviors and strategies towards rubbish disposable evident amongst developed and developing nations. Geographically and politically relevant, NSW government initiative Waste Less, Recycle More (WLRM), was designed in 2013 in direct response to the immediacy and severity of issues concerned with post consumer waste in a multitude of areas, and the challenges they engender in designing for the future.
Specifically, WLRM is a $465.7 million package that is government funded with the intent to transform waste and recycling in NSW from 2013 to 2018 (EPA, 2015). This transformation has been orchestrated and plans to be continued to be orchestrated through the individual funding of a collective of separate ‘children’ programs, all of which fall under the WLRM scheme. These are programs such as Love Food Hate Waste, Resource Recovery Facility Expansion and Enhancement, and Improved Systems for Household Problem Wastes. Furthermore, WLRM has in place an education strategy designed to support the key cause (reducing waste) and the ensuing programs it oversees, a strategy whose aim and vision is to ‘optimize the use and quality of education in all WLMR programs so that they promote positive behaviour change….and improvement in the environment and community wellbeing’ (EPA, 2015).
The effectiveness of the WLRM initiative is up for debate. It is a tiered initiative, and its ultimate success is exceedingly dependent on the continued support of the NSW and federal government budgets and their overseers. The Institute for Public Policy Research (a leading UK think tank), is against such tight government control over waste management, recognising and acknowledging that government foundations are key but that social enterprise policies can be considerably more effective and engaging, further summarizing that ‘our approach to resources [and by extension the wastage they generate] should be circular’ (Rowney, 2014). By this, biological resources, such as foods, should be reused to their full extent before being returned to the Earth’s ecosystem, and non-biological resources such as metals, should be continually reused and recycled (Rowney, 2014).
Plastic Waste. (Von Euen, 2013).
Many businesses worldwide are expanding on their own versions of circular reuse. H&M offers discounts in exchange for old clothes, which are then resourced for their materials, or directly outsourced to countries and situations where clothing is needed (Chegwyn, 2014). Supermarket chains are doing their part to redefine the way consumers approach food and avoid the potential for wastage to occur through such campaigns as Australia’s The Odd Bunch (Woolworths, 2016) and France’s Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables (Intermarche, 2015), which both sell cheaper, non-calibrated and imperfect fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away.
Food waste, primarily from grocery stores and food processors. (Sullivan, 2012).
It is not just household businesses redefining and challenging perceptions of waste. In Cateura, Paraguay, a youth orchestra plays with instruments manufactured entirely from waste materials sourced from the rubbish landfill from around which the community has built and developed basic living infrastructure, for ‘garbage is not garbage. If you have creative ideas you can do anything with it’ (CBN, 2015).
Manufacturing. (CBN, 2015).
The WLRM initiative is well supported, well documented and to date has been well received. Its overarching success however, has yet to be concluded, and full judgement and analysis of data can only be ascertained at the conclusion of the 5 year implementation. It is refreshing however, to bear witness to alternative waste management schemes both large and small, with funding and a lack there of, that unanimously agree on the detrimental effects that human waste disposal has on the multiplex layers of society and the environment, and that action is needed. Not tomorrow, not today, but yesterday.
Bhada-Tata, P. Hoornweg, D. 2012. What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management. The World Bank. Accessed 25/03/2016. Available at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTURBANDEVELOPMENT/Resources/336387-1334852610766/What_a_Waste2012_Final.pdf
CBN News. 2015. ‘Recycled Orchestra’ Turns Trash into Music. CBN News Corporation. Accessed 26/03/2016. Available at: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2015/April/Recycled-Orchestra-Turns-Trash-in-Music
Chegwyn, Emma. 2014. A Fashion Paradox. Thesis major work. University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Environment Protection Authority (EPA). 2015. Waste Less Recycle More Initiative. NSW EPA. Accessed 25/03/2016. Available at: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/wastestrategy/waste-less-recycle-more.htm
Intermarche. 2015. Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables. Intermarche. Accessed 26/03/2016. Available at: http://itm.marcelww.com/inglorious/
Masaru, G. 2013. Global Waste on Pace to Triple by 2100. The World Bank. Accessed 25/03/2016. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/10/30/global-waste-on-pace-to-triple
Rowney, M. 2014. The wasteline: Redefining ‘waste’ and improving resource management policy.The Institute for Public Policy Research. Accessed 25/03/2016. Available at: http://www.ippr.org/read/the-wasteline-redefining-waste-and-improving-resource-management-policy#
Sullivan, D. 2012. New Jersey Composter Taps Food Waste Opportunities. Bio Cycle: The organics recycling authority. Accessed 26/03/2016. Available at: https://www.biocycle.net/2012/02/27/new-jersey-composter-taps-food-waste-opportunities/
Von Euen, N. 2013. Plastic Waste. Global Waste. Accessed 26/03/2016. Available at: http://www.global-waste.de/plastic.html
Woolworths. 2016. The Odd Bunch. Woolworths, Australia. Accessed 25/03/2016. Available at: https://www.woolworths.com.au/Shop/Discover/our-brands/the-odd-bunch