As the growing issue of waste was exacerbated by the pandemic, the search for solutions is open to creative ideas. In this article, Supriya Sen shares design principles that have worked in other societies to regenerate the environment.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, when I read last week about ongoing public consultations by NEA on whether “plastic carry-bags in some NTUC grocery outlets in Singapore should charge 5- 10 cents/ bag from mid-2023…” onwards. (link).
Like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic … or throwing bits of candy into the maw of a charging, hungry tiger to stave him off from gulping you down in one bite!
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Meanwhile figures show that the pandemic has led to further huge generation of medical waste worldwide.
This is unreasonably burdening existing systems, already staggering to manage their BAU waste.
On the one hand, we have learned how to separate medical and hazardous waste from other waste. My argument is that we need to further separate “technical waste” from “organic waste”- operating each in their own closed loop systems with ultimate aim being a zero-waste, zero-water, zero-carbon society.
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, as we hunker down in our own homes and neighborhoods, trying to battle wave after wave of variant striking country after country- it is this: Our consumption habits, production habits, and waste-generating habits in every sphere of activity has trashed the environment; and society as a whole is paying the price. There is an urgent need to redesign our systems, policies, and individual and collective behavior to actively reverse and regenerate.
On the waste management front, instead of finding ways to manage the growing amounts of plastic waste, solutions should aim to generate less waste at the outset. But as we have also found out in battling this pandemic- digital traceability tokens, software and process can be feasibly applied to ensure separation and non-mixing of different categories. In my view, this is not an option, but an urgent necessity!
Key points include:
- “Cradle to cradle” cycles of nature
- Bio-effective design
- Redesigning the production metric and the consumption theme
Read the full article, Waste generation – at our own Peril, on LinkedIn.