Closing the Loop Together

Closing the Loop Together

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The only way we can achieve a waste-less world is to close the loop. How do you close the loop?
Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 11:56am


What if this chair I am sitting in should stay the same chair for a thousand years, or else become disassembled and its components used to make some other piece of furniture - but one way or another, is always in use as a resource. Or how about the computer on which I am now working - what if none of its materials should enter the waste stream after I replace it? Say the aluminum was designed to be recycled into a soda can, the battery to become another battery and the keyboard converted into one that’s even more high-tech, In such instances, we would refer to these materials as technical nutrients.

This closed-loop concept is one in which even toxic materials are never allowed to re-enter the environment, but everything is recaptured and reused. The only waste would be of an "organic" nature; scraps from food, leaves, plant trimmings, coffee grounds and tea leaves, which would be considered biological nutrients as opposed to technical nutrients. And guess what? This grouping of biological nutrients is the perfect recipe for a great compost that, after being heated to 180 degrees, can be reused in the garden to grow those perfect vegetables without synthetic fertilizers. In fact, the resulting crops would be so strong due to the organic material that most pest won't bother with it, because pests characteristically only go after weaker plants..

What a wonderful world that would be - " a world without waste," only closed-loop systems. In my mind, closing the loop is the most important environmental action we can take. We need to stand up and applaud any companies that start to think about this, such as Sony and Best Buy that are offering to collect electronic waste. And we need to be thinking about closing our own  loop on everything we consume. That’s why at greenopolis, we’re hoping we can entice large companies to join us in closing the loop on packaging. So stay tuned.

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