There is no time to waste: consumption and climate costs
Our 21st century lifestyle needs cheap and fast products to keep up with our fast-paced life. We are currently creating and promoting these lifestyles based on an exponentially growing linear economy. But we have gone too far.
Our relationship with resources has shifted to the point where we no longer just treat resources as resources; resources! We do not realize the importance of the limited natural materials on the planet, which are used to create valuable products. On the contrary, we often see the satisfaction of profit and cheap. But consumers should not be blamed-our entire linear economic system requires the creation of disposable products, and the use of large amounts of energy ultimately results in waste, which continues to drive the profits of the big industry.
Our current economic model is centered on an extractive, manufacturing-waste approach, but it doesn't work. For the benefit of our planet and the people living on it, we need to rethink our resource methods and recycle them!
We must adopt zero-waste and circular solutions to our current resource-intensive processes, which should happen in all sectors of society. These changes must start at the policy level-led by EU policymakers, and then implemented by governments, municipalities, companies and communities. We must ensure that policies under the Circular Economy Action Plan and the European Green Agreement encourage reuse and zero-waste systems as absolute priorities, while leveraging best-practice waste management techniques. This is how we lived in the past, living in harmony with nature. With all the technological and social innovations that have occurred in the past decade-who can say that we can't prosper in this way again?
Changing our entire economic model is not an easy task, it does depend on bottom-up examples that prove that cyclic systems are possible. This is where the zero-waste business model and city-level commitments come into play. Innovative companies, community projects, and municipal government-led solutions all prove that zero waste is not only possible, but also economically and socially profitable. (See some examples of successful urban zero waste policies.) Seeing these solutions in practice help change consumer behavior and public opinion, and put appropriate pressure on policy makers to drive change.
This blog series examines the deep-rooted link between the climate crisis and our relationship with waste-highlighting how waste affects the climate throughout the supply chain, from plastic production to pollution, over-consumption to incineration and landfilling. Obviously, we must change our consumption patterns and reduce the use of natural resources through more product reuse and recycling as the last resort that cannot be reused. This will not only change the appearance of our natural environment, replenish resources and reduce one-time pollution, but also reduce our burden on the planet.
Shifting to a circular economy model based on zero waste and reuse practices will reduce greenhouse gas emissions during resource production and minimize the negative impact of waste disposal.
Without tackling waste, we will not be able to deal with climate change, and this responsibility lies with the EU’s policy level – that’s why we will continue to advocate for sustainable systems and redesign our relationship with resources to accelerate a just transition to zero waste. To seek the benefit of people and the earth.
Read more about our work in consumption and production here and our city and community plans here.
About the latest post
Italian company found illegal dumping of plastic and other municipal waste in Tunisia-03/03/2021 Why do we need a bloody European declaration-01/02/2021 Press release: Just Transition Fund gets rid of false waste management solutions, but will directly provide funds to round? -10/12/2020