“Waste avoidance” is pretty central to what we do in the sustainability community: while I don’t think that addressing waste completely sums up our motivation as environmentalists, it’s the core issue for many of the challenges we face. Most forms of pollution, and all forms of resource overuse, come down to our unique ability to create waste (because, in a natural system, waste equals food), and our inability to figure out what to do with it.
Businesses seem to be figuring out – slowly, no doubt – that wastes are costs, and, thus, are working on ways to minimize or eliminate them. At the individual and family level, though, we still throw an awful lot of things away. While we greenies have often been concerned about waste produced by big players like the corporate sector, the waste each of creates individually represents throwing away our work time, our earnings, and other opportunities. So, even if the environment isn’t a big concern of yours, waste should be: that’s your life, or at least you time, going into the dumpster.
We’ve published a lot of posts on creative reuse here at sustainablog because we just hate to see good stuff get wasted (as well as watching people toss away their time). As such, we’re pretty excited about a new venture by green marketing guru Jacquie Ottman (aka “Junky Jacquie”), We Hate to Waste. It’s a pretty basic concept: “Waste Watchers” (i.e. toss of us who just hate to see good stuff go to waste) contribute blog posts, videos, pictures, etc., on their ideas and practices for eliminating waste, or getting more use out of it. While the site officially launched on Monday, Jacquie and her colleagues have been building up an archive of content on everything from food waste to air drying clothing to repurposing “obsolete” iPhone covers.
Don’t let the “basic” description fool you, though – as I’ve seen in our analytics, there’s a big demand for this kind of practical information on how to deal with the stuff you’d otherwise toss in the trash, or even the recycling bin. Jacquie’s brought a number of relevant organizations on board to sponsor the new site, including Carpooling.com, ClosetDash, Water: Use It Wisely, and Let’s Collaborate! (none of which would throw away their reputations or money on a slapdash effort).
I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas that bubble up at We Hate to Waste – if you’ve got those ideas, get in touch to share them. Take a look at what they’ve put together for their launch, and let us know what you think.