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Community circular economy  recycling and zero waste | Upload Society

Circular Economy, Recycling And Zero Waste

by: Sustainable Startups
circular economy  recycling and zero waste | Upload

Nelson Environment Centre's (New Zealand) Karen Driver said the idea was to create a 'circular economy' for products and waste. Rather than something being made, used, and dumped in a landfill at the end of its useful life, it's about repurposing it, so parts are reused, not thrown out.

Recycling And Zero Waste

"To achieve zero waste properly, you need everyone in the chain thinking about it, but it really comes down to the design of products," Driver said. Manufacturers and product designers need to have a product's end-of-life in mind when they make it, giving thought to how it might be reused, fixed, or recycled when they're choosing materials. But everyday consumers have their part to play too.

Environmental Impacts

Driver's first tip is don't buy it if you don't really need it. Avoid products that are single-use, like plastic bags or bottled water. Even if something can be recycled, it's best to cut down on anything that creates waste, as recycling isn't without its own environmental impacts. "If you need to buy something, just think about the lifetime costs of it," Driver said.
She suggested buying things that can be repaired - wooden-handled garden tools instead of plastic, for example - and spending a bit more on items like clothes, choosing quality garments that will last longer, rather than cheap items that need replacing every year.
Buying unpackaged fruits and vegetables is a big one too. The driver said it cuts down on plastic from packaging and bags, but it can be cheaper for the consumer, as loose items often have lower per-kilogram costs than packaged goods. She said buying loose items means you're more likely only to buy what you need. 

Reuse, Recycle

Anything you do own, in terms of plastic containers and bottles, reuse as much as possible. "Reuse it until it's not reusable anymore and then recycle it," she said. Glass jars and more durable containers can be better in the long-term, however. The driver said places like Bin Inn or organic co-ops would let you bring your own containers to be refilled to avoid relying on single-use bags or containers.
Products like beeswax wraps for food and sandwiches are available as an alternative to plastic wrap that only gets one use before it's tossed in the waste. Biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes are a more sustainable option than their plastic alternative.

Recommended: Recycling Or Deposits On Bottles And Cans: The Netherlands

Food Waste

The driver said where people often came unstuck was thinking they had to change everything at once. She said a better approach was to take it a step at a time. "Like composting, for instance. If you put all your veggie scraps in the bin, think about if you could compost it," she said. Worm farms, compost bins, and bokashi are all popular systems. 
She said the Nelson Environment Centre was happy to advise people on managing their food waste based on their living situation. Bokashi systems work well for apartment-dwellers or those without gardens, for example. 

Recommended: Dumpster Diving: Hobby Which Combats Food Waste

Recycle

If nature's processes can't break something down, isn't able to be reused, and can't be repaired or repurposed, the last option is to recycle it. The driver said the Environment Centre took old electronics, including cellphones, and couldn't use the parts to remake new devices and recycle them. The new government was going to look at ways to charge a levy on vehicle tires to help cover the cost of recycling them at their end-of-life, she said. 
She said both central and local governments had a role in providing a framework for manufacturers to be responsible for end-of-life management for products and give incentives necessary to encourage companies to think about "product stewardships."

Recommended: Big Tiny House A Made Of Recycled Materials

In Kaikōura, the council realized its landfill was nearly full and didn't want to dig a new one, so it has been encouraging zero waste practices. Auckland Council has also been setting up community hubs to teach residents how to repurpose things and encourage them to think differently about waste. Because for consumers, Driver said, the first step was to look in their own bin.

"Think of what's the biggest thing you've got in your bin, in terms of volume or weight, and think about how you could reduce that."

Before you go!

Recommended: Solar Panel Recycling: Photovoltaics Rebirth

Like to write your article about waste in the oceans?
Send your writing & scribble with a photo to [email protected], and we will write an interesting article based on your input.

Circular Economy, Recycling And Zero Waste

Nelson Environment Centre's (New Zealand) Karen Driver said the idea was to create a 'circular economy' for products and waste. Rather than something being made, used, and dumped in a landfill at the end of its useful life, it's about repurposing it, so parts are reused, not thrown out. Recycling And Zero Waste "To achieve zero waste properly, you need everyone in the chain thinking about it, but it really comes down to the design of products," Driver said. Manufacturers and product designers need to have a product's end-of-life in mind when they make it, giving thought to how it might be reused, fixed, or recycled when they're choosing materials. But everyday consumers have their part to play too. Environmental Impacts Driver's first tip is don't buy it if you don't really need it. Avoid products that are single-use, like plastic bags or bottled water. Even if something can be recycled, it's best to cut down on anything that creates waste, as recycling isn't without its own environmental impacts. "If you need to buy something, just think about the lifetime costs of it," Driver said. She suggested buying things that can be repaired - wooden-handled garden tools instead of plastic, for example - and spending a bit more on items like clothes, choosing quality garments that will last longer, rather than cheap items that need replacing every year. Buying unpackaged fruits and vegetables is a big one too. The driver said it cuts down on plastic from packaging and bags, but it can be cheaper for the consumer, as loose items often have lower per-kilogram costs than packaged goods. She said buying loose items means you're more likely only to buy what you need.  Reuse, Recycle Anything you do own, in terms of plastic containers and bottles, reuse as much as possible. "Reuse it until it's not reusable anymore and then recycle it," she said. Glass jars and more durable containers can be better in the long-term, however. The driver said places like Bin Inn or organic co-ops would let you bring your own containers to be refilled to avoid relying on single-use bags or containers. Products like beeswax wraps for food and sandwiches are available as an alternative to plastic wrap that only gets one use before it's tossed in the waste. Biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes are a more sustainable option than their plastic alternative. Recommended:  Recycling Or Deposits On Bottles And Cans: The Netherlands Food Waste The driver said where people often came unstuck was thinking they had to change everything at once. She said a better approach was to take it a step at a time. "Like composting, for instance. If you put all your veggie scraps in the bin, think about if you could compost it," she said. Worm farms, compost bins, and bokashi are all popular systems.  She said the Nelson Environment Centre was happy to advise people on managing their food waste based on their living situation. Bokashi systems work well for apartment-dwellers or those without gardens, for example.  Recommended:  Dumpster Diving: Hobby Which Combats Food Waste Recycle If nature's processes can't break something down, isn't able to be reused, and can't be repaired or repurposed, the last option is to recycle it. The driver said the Environment Centre took old electronics, including cellphones, and couldn't use the parts to remake new devices and recycle them. The new government was going to look at ways to charge a levy on vehicle tires to help cover the cost of recycling them at their end-of-life, she said.  She said both central and local governments had a role in providing a framework for manufacturers to be responsible for end-of-life management for products and give incentives necessary to encourage companies to think about "product stewardships." Recommended:  Big Tiny House A Made Of Recycled Materials In Kaikōura, the council realized its landfill was nearly full and didn't want to dig a new one, so it has been encouraging zero waste practices. Auckland Council has also been setting up community hubs to teach residents how to repurpose things and encourage them to think differently about waste. Because for consumers, Driver said, the first step was to look in their own bin. "Think of what's the biggest thing you've got in your bin, in terms of volume or weight, and think about how you could reduce that." Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Panel Recycling: Photovoltaics Rebirth Like to write your article about waste in the oceans? Send your writing & scribble with a photo to  [email protected] , and we will write an interesting article based on your input.
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