Waste is not easy to talk about, it's not sexy, it's not cool, it’s the opposite of all of those things. It seems like a waste of time to talk about waste… but it is very important part of our lives. Could you imagine if all of the garage truck operators and cleaners went on strike tomorrow? It would be chaos. Garbage on the streets, piling up everywhere.
So the question becomes, how do you make waste something people want to talk about? Is there anything interesting going on in this space? Seriously… if there is, tell me because I genuinely want to know, send an email, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you look at the supply chain, this link defines reverse logistics as - the process of moving goods from their typical final destination for the purpose of capturing value or proper disposal. Reverse logistics for most people is most relatable when you think about the last time you had to return something to a store. Like a pair of jeans, you bought but then had to return (and the store then had to process) or buying a car and finding out it's a LMN... Reverse logistics as a blanket term covers the logistics involved after you take hold of the thing you bought.
If you break it down, waste comes in a lot of different forms like waste from works in progress like waste water when processing apples, end of life goods which can be reused or have their components broken down like an aeroplane engine or a car. Then you also have recyclable waste goods like cardboard and then compostable waste like food, then there's "consumer waste" if you want to call it that. And emissions could also be thought of as waste too.
With this in mind, when you look at waste you look at sustainability because it’s not enough to look at how cleanly you produce the power to run the facility, you also need to consider the waste produced by the product which is made by the plant.
For example, when Tesla's battery plants get up to speed, being run (to some degree) on solar power is one thing but looking at what to do with the batteries once they have reached the end of their life is another. In fairness, though the mass production consumer electric vehicle industry is still being developed and these questions I'm sure are in the pipeline to be addressed correctly.
We need to look at waste because if we don't we limit our ability to look at where waste ends up; oceans bins, landfills, processing plants, compost bins. Some of those are good, some are bad. If we want to have an Earth, we need to figure out how to make, store, ship, use and dispose of goods in the right way.
The great thing is that we have never been better placed in all of human history to do so, we have the technology, the means of connectivity, the repositories of information, the political and cultural support to push this topic from the bottom of the bit in which it sits now, to the top of the pile.