From Waste to Riches

garbagology

At the confluence of greed and excess lie waste – lots and lots of waste. Over 3.5 million tonnes of garbage are produced every day, the majority of which comes from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members. That’s enough garbage to fill more football stadiums and Olympic size swimming pools than anyone should ever care to calculate, and this number is only expected to grow. ‘Business as usual’ projections show that by the year 2100 “solid-waste generation rates will exceed 11 million tonnes per day — more than three times today’s rate” – and this isn’t estimated to be peak garbage. The growth in garbage production will be driven by population growth, economic development and urbanization which are commonly linked with increased consumption and energy use.

Trash is essentially a by-product of affluence; the wealthy OECD countries on average produce 2.2 kg/capita/day whereas a region like South…

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