"People are breathing easier as their cans once again fill and miraculously empty every week...Which means we've missed a huge opportunity here. We should still be asking the true question raised by all that smelly inconvenience: Why do we have garbage in the first place?"
The reason, he rightly goes on to explain, is that things are designed for the dump. To solve our problem, we need to be thinking of "cradle to cradle design."
Michael Braungart and William McDonough came up with the "cradle-to-cradle" concept in 1995 and copyrighted it in 2001 ~ but since then the amount of throw-away products and packaging in US waste has increased 20%. Here in MetroVancouver, our waste has grown 46% since 2000, five times greater than our population growth.
What's standing in the way of cradle-to-cradle design? Public policy.
Throwing things away is culturally sanctioned in our society. We take it as one of our basic civil rights that we will receive convenient collection and disposal of our throw-aways, provided as a free public service, just like education and health care.
If we want cradle-to-cradle design, maybe we should stop providing the grave?