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 ZERO WASTE - INDUSTRIAL RESPONSIBILITY

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تاريخ التسجيل : 16/01/2012
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مُساهمةموضوع: ZERO WASTE - INDUSTRIAL RESPONSIBILITY    الثلاثاء أغسطس 13, 2013 3:38 pm

Introduction
The two major reasons we have become a toxic, throwaway society are that taxpayers subsidize the extraction of virgin materials that compete with recovered (or secondary) materials, and taxpayers assume the burden of disposing whatever products and packaging industry chooses to market. Hitherto, however, taxpayers and local government have had little say in the production of things that become waste. The Zero Waste strategy requires that this connection be made.
Producer Take
Producer Take Back, or Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for waste, holds manufacturers, and specifically brand owners, responsible for managing their products and packaging at the end of their useful life. When brand owners have physical or financial responsibility for their products and packaging at end of life, they have a built-in incentive to use less toxics, make more durable and recyclable products, and reduce excessive packaging.
EPR was first mandated in Germany for packaging in 1991, and is now being applied to packaging and other product sectors in most of the world’s industrialized countries. A notable exception is the United States. EPR policies in Europe have led to company recycling rates close to 90% and high recycled content, as well as an emphasis on reusable and returnable packaging. The policy has spread to other countries as well, including Canada and nations in Asia and Latin America. Often, U.S.-based companies follow EPR requirements in other countries but do not replicate the programs in the United States.
Examples of EPR programs in the United States and Canada include:
Deposit Systems for Beverage Containers. Deposit systems transfer the costs of recycling from taxpayers to consumers and beverage manufacturers. Deposits are not only fair; they work. In the ten U.S. states with container deposits, recycling rates average 80% for containers covered by deposits, compared with far less in non-bottle bill states (for example, around 10% for plastic soda bottles in non bottle bill states). In Canada, where the beer industry invested in refillable glass bottles, 97% of bottles are returned to the producer for refilling.
Take-Back Programs for Toxics. British Columbia’s Product Stewardship laws require producers to take back household chemicals such as paint, thinners, pesticides, fuels and medicines for recycling or safe disposal. Millions of gallons of these toxic chemicals are collected at industry-funded depots at no cost to local communities. The costs create incentives for producers to keep toxic leftovers to a minimum.
Local Take Back to Retail. Ottawa, Canada, and Washington County, Minnesota USA, have implemented successful programs targeting problematic wastes not covered by curbside programs, as an alternative to taxpayer funded Household Hazardous Waste programs. Retailers like the program for its free publicity and opportunity to get return customers. These are examples of voluntary Retailer Responsibility programs that can complement other Producer Responsibility programs.
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Any organization, business or individual can promote Zero Waste by altering buying habits. Many government agencies and companies have already adopted preferences for recycled content products. Many are now moving to broader, environmentally preferable purchasing programs seeking to reduce resource use, cut air and water emissions, or achieve other environmental goals. Purchasing practices can target:
• materials purchased for manufacturing products and packaging;
• products purchased for use within the organization;
• packaging for products and materials delivered to the organization; or
• products specified through contractors, such as direct mailers, billing agents, printers, copier companies, office products retailers, architecture and construction companies.
Examples:
a) U.S. Federal Agencies. As a result of Executive Orders in the 1990s, federal agencies are taking the lead in buying recycled paper and other recycled products, as well as products that include features such as reduced toxics and reduced energy needs. [38]
b) King County, Washington USA is a national leader in buying environmentally preferable products and has an excellent website. Likewise, the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center has excellent resources on its website.]
4.4 Product and Packaging Design
Many companies have been innovative in redesigning products, whether to reduce costs or to meet government incentives or requirements. Some have redesigned packaging to minimize materials. Others have redesigned products for ease of reuse and recycling. Still more have transformed the concept of their products to eliminate waste. Extended Producer Responsibility encourages manufacturers to design products for easy disassembly, to minimize the cost of manufacturer responsibility for recycling. A few examples include:
Interface, Inc. (Dalton GA, USA) This maker of commercial carpets is changing its focus from providing a product to providing a service, leasing carpets to customers and taking back old carpet and tiles for refurbishing or recycling. Interface also pioneered the practice of installing carpet in tiles, so that only high wear places need to be replaced when worn out.
Herman Miller (Zeeland MI, USA) In manufacturing office furniture, Herman Miller used to receive molded plastic chair seats in single-use cartons containing shells in bags, separated by chipboard sheets, placed 56 to a double-sided corrugated box. After unpacking the seats and assembling the chairs, Herman Miller was left with 30 pounds of packaging for every 56 chairs. The company developed, with its vendor, a protective rack that stores 90 seats in the space that previously housed 56 and can be reused 80 to 100 times or more.
Comprehensive Zero Waste Business Approaches
Businesses pursue Zero Waste, in addition to redesigning products, by:
• Re-evaluating products and services to create the greatest consumer and environmental value, within economic feasibility;
• Minimizing excess materials and maximizing recycled content in products and packaging;
• Finding productive uses for, reuse, recycling or composting over 90% of their solid waste;
• Reducing procurement needs, then specifying products that meet Zero Waste criteria;
• Establishing easily accessible repair systems, as well as recovery processes for packaging and products.
Examples:
Collins & Aikman, Dalton, Georgia, USA. These makers of automotive fabric and trim sent zero manufacturing waste to landfill in 1998. Waste-minimization and energy-efficiency programs boosted production 300% and lowered corporate waste 80%.
Xerox Corporation, Rochester, NY, USA. Xerox instituted an Asset Recycling Management program in 1990 as a cost saving rather than an environmental initiative. It is an example of a win-win voluntary EPR initiative. In 1997, it saved the company $40 to $50 million and resulted in the remanufacture of 30,000 tons of returned machines. According to Bette Fishbein of INFORM, Inc., it is an approach that can serve as a model for many companies, though it may only be profitable for high-value products. Even Xerox has found that for lower-value equipment such as fax machines, the ARM program generates net costs rather than savings.
Xerox corporation, Venray, Netherlands. Venray is the manufacturing headquarters of the Xerox corporation in Europe. There, Xerox operates a massive ‘reverse distribution service’ to recover old copying machines from 16 European countries. They reuse these machines or reuse their parts, or recycle their materials. They are only sending 5% of the returned materials for waste disposal. In 2000, this operation saved the company $76 million in reduced production costs and avoided disposal costs. This operation will be the subject of a future video: On the Road to Zero Waste. Models of Industrial Responsibility.
ZERI Breweries, Africa, Sweden, Canada and Japan. The Zero Emissions Research and Initiative (ZERI) Foundation has helped design breweries that utilize 40 different biochemical processes to reuse everything, including heat, water and wastes. A digester transforms organic wastes into methane gas for steam for fermentation. Spent grain is used to grow mushrooms. Alkaline water supports a fish and algae farm.
Fetzer Vineyards, Hopland, California, USA. Fetzer recycles paper, cardboard, cans, glass, metals, antifreeze, pallets and wine barrels; composts corks and grape seeds. Garbage was reduced by 93% in the past several years, with a goal of no waste by 2009.
THE NEED FOR GOOD LEADERSHIP
When we examine successful cases of Zero Waste, it is clear that leadership has come from all the areas of business, government and non-governmental organizations. We can anticipate even more leadership from the business community because reduction in waste here is indelibly linked to economic benefit.
When we look at communities that have achieved major breakthroughs, we find the key to their success is the fact that the government was prepared to work with community activists to design their programs. This was the case in Canberra, Australia, which first introduced the ‘No Waste to Landfill’ concept in the mid-nineties, and the province of Nova Scotia, in Canada, which has diverted 50% from landfill in just five years. The message is a simple one. As far as a genuine sustainable solutions are concerned, the future belongs to those in local government who put their faith in people, not ‘magic machines’.
CONCLUSION
We would not wish to imply that achieving Zero Waste, or even getting close, is going to be easy. While simple in principle, the execution of these systems requires a lot of hard work, perseverance and creativity from the organizers in the community and in industry .We believe that adopting the Zero Waste goal as a local government or industry policy is the best way to get started. It forces the paradigm shift. It transforms the task from getting rid of waste to saving resources.
We should recognize that currently there is a considerable amount of tension between long-term goals and interim solutions. While the long term goal is to have no landfills, in the interim we need some kind of landfill to handle the non-toxic and non-biodegradable residuals. The worry is that these 'interim' landfills may get fossilized unless citizens keep the pressure on local officials to live up to their Zero Waste commitment. Similarly, there are some commentators who are uneasy about how much money communities are putting into curbside collection of recyclables, when they believe that ultimately the collection (and re-design) of their packaging should be industry's responsibility.
For industrial officials, in addition to reducing toxic use and resource conservation, it means searching for ways of getting back objects and materials from their customers so that they can be used again. If the huge Xerox corporation can take on the daunting task of recovering its used copying machines (which contain over a 1,000 parts) from all over Europe, and clean, repair their parts or recycle their material components, any manufacturer should be able to do it. Moreover, when manufacturers hear that Xerox is saving $76 million a year doing this, they should want to do it! Moreover, once companies take on such a recovery task, it then feeds into the need to design new products with this ultimate goal in mind i.e. to make them easier to disassemble and reuse their constituent parts.
For the local official, the new Zero Waste paradigm, transforms the old 'waste disposal' task from the distressing one of looking for new landfill or incinerator sites, to a much more exciting one of searching for entrepreneurs who can create viable businesses that utilize discarded objects and materials. This task is better both for the planet and the bureaucratic 'psyche' than attempting to locate a hole in the ground or a non-existent 'magic machine' that will make the problem disappear.
The Zero Waste paradigm also offers another challenge and reward and that is working constructively with citizen activists rather than dreading their appearance at public meetings!
Our experience has convinced us of several things:
a. However daunting the task may appear, the Zero Waste approach is moving our society in the right direction.
b. It is certainly far superior to a reliance on raw waste landfilling or incineration.
c. It will improve as more and more manufacturers learn to combine selling to the present with sharing our limited resources with the future.
d. As far as community responsibility is concerned. People are not the problem. Once they recognize that source separation is easy, that it is in the best interests of their children and those in charge have organized effective systems to handle the materials they separate, they readily cooperate to make the system work.
e. As far as the local economy is concerned the pay off is far greater than the dead end of landfills and incinerators. With the latter a huge amount of money is put into complicated machinery and most of it leaves the community, and probably the country, in the pockets of multinational corporations. Whereas, with the low-tech components of the Zero Waste program most of the money stays in the community creating local businesses and local jobs.
f. Finally, we believe that the Zero Waste approach is the one that is most likely to lead to questions on how we should be living on a finite planet.
Today, with so much that we do, we are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to! The average person's most concrete connection to this important realization is our trash. The way we handle our discarded material is a microcosm of the way we handle our planet. If we care about the planet we have to care about the way we treat our discarded materials
While the economic and environmental benefits of a Zero Waste goal are very clear, ultimately the issue is an ethical one. Alan Durning brilliantly outlines the ethics in his book How Much is Enough? He shows how a combination of slick advertising and too much time in front of the TV has trapped so many of us in a mindless binge of consumption. But the good news is that it is not making us very happy. Durning points out that while Americans are consuming in 2000 about five times more per capita than our ancestors in 1900, we are not five times happier. Meanwhile, the gap between our consumption patterns and the poorest fifth of the world’s population steadily increases. As Mahatma Gandhi so succinctly and wisely put it, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”
In short we have been seduced into believing that happiness lies in the series of objects we buy, rather than the relationships we nurture with our friends, our loved ones and our community. Thus in our view the antidote to over-consumption is community building.
If we are to succeed, the task of achieving, or moving towards, a Zero Waste society must be seen to be exciting, challenging and fun. If we approach it only with a sense of moral duty, and not with a sense of business opportunity, we will probably fail. If we approach reduced consumption with a sense of loss, rather than the opportunity to regain our ‘sense of community’ we will certainly fail. As far as having fun is concerned, We cannot think of anything quite as challenging, and as exciting, as having people in our communities, from businesses, from government and from activist circles, working together to create a community that is determined to share as much of their resources with the future as it can. Especially if we remember to celebrate often
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ZERO WASTE - INDUSTRIAL RESPONSIBILITY
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