Thursday, January 11, 2007

In permaculture the concept of waste does not exist. A waste is really just a resource that you don't need. In permaculture you match these resources with other systems that need that resource as an input. The idea is to create closed systems if possible to cycle energy, nutrients and minerals around. Chicken tractor systems are a simple example. Given the chance a chicken will, clean up fallen fruit, eat pest insects, deal with your kitchen scraps, weed and fertilse your garden then give you an egg for your trouble.

A new movement called Zero Waste is pushing for manufacturers to consider the full lifecycle of a product and it's packaging. The idea behind Zero Waste is simple: basically, nothing with a second use should be thrown away. And if something doesn't have a second use, it shouldn't exist. The Berkeley Ecology Center, a West Coast leader in the Zero Waste movement, puts it this way, "If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production."

Like permaculture it's simple and logical but the majority of us aren't doing it because we are so used to a society that has enough energy to create waste, transport it away and dig big holes to put it in.