William McDonough: 6 ways to move beyond zero-waste

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

“Why make something you can’t sell?”

This is the question William McDonough posited about waste during the 2014 Executive Sustainability Forum webcast, hosted on GreenBiz and presented Jan. 30 by Waste Management.

Traditionally, businesses have strived to reduce or eliminate the waste they produce. But McDonough, influential designer, architect, entrepreneuer and co-author of “Cradle to Cradle” and “The Upcycle,” thinks this is missing the point. Zero waste is “like going nowhere,” he said. Instead, the focus should be a “cycle of endless resourcefulness.”

Waste Management — which has partnered with McDonough to push for significant environmental aims — has shown how this principle can produce results. It recently worked with a Toyota plant in San Antonio, for instance, to turn waste produced at the plant into clean-burning fuel, which was then provided to another customer. In this way, the waste wasn’t just reduced or eliminated, but actively reused.

Moving beyond zero waste requires a wholesale rethinking on what waste is and how it should be addressed. To help with the transition, McDonough provided these insights.

Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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