Within the modern world, there is a great deal of waste stemming from the industrial processes used to provide basic necessities as well as consumer durables. Due to the great rise in economic wealth and prosperity throughout the world, the amount of waste that is generated has increased significantly, and poses a serious problem to the sustainable development of the economy. This waste is harmful, as it pollutes the local area through the leakage of toxic chemicals that occurs within landfills and garbage dumps. As such, this pattern is unsustainable and shows how the current systems squanders a great deal of resources. A number of entrepreneurs have made great strides in this are through the application of new technologies and methods to the recycling and upcycling strategies of dealing with waste. However, there are a number of ways that this waste can be reused to benefit consumers and the environment as a whole.
There have been numerous attempts by individuals to prevent waste and to use waste to a personal and community benefit. A number of UCLA students have turn to dumpster diving in an attempt to prevent the food waste that occurs within the supermarket economy. As customers will only eat the freshest looking products, items that are not as appealing are regularly tossed out and wasted despite the fact that they are still edible. While somewhat hazardous, other parts of the country have experienced similar occurrences.
Others have decided to turn the waste in positive items for the community though upcycling. Upcycling focuses on creating new uses for items. TerraCycle does this through a business model that involves individuals sending him the waste from their consumption, which he then uses to create items and knick-knacks for sale on the general market. This has proven to be highly successful, as there is a pent-up demand for the type of crafts and items offered by his organization.
Although dumpster diving is well-meaning and well-intended way to prevent waste in supermarkets, it has potential health consequences for individuals and is not a viable option to prevent such occurrences. Dumpster diving for food is not a solution, as this can cause various diseases due to the exposure of the food to such environments. However, it represents the waste that exists within the supply chain, and shows small steps that can be used to prevent food waste and benefit the local community. More importantly, it demonstrates an effort to stop food waste and how simply it can be accomplished.
While freeganism has its own downfalls, the upcycling of products from waste to use is a viable solution to the problems of waste within Western countries. Reusing items in a beneficial way prevents them from being dumped into landfills, where they would be harmful and damaging to the environment. As such, this lowers the overall pollution of such items in the environment, and prevents further items from being consumed in order to create products.
Such entrepreneurship in this area is beneficial, as there are very few organizations that engage in this type of ‘green’ business model. The more individuals there are in this space, the greater the benefit to the environment as a whole. As such, innovation in recycling and upcycling should be actively promoted in society.
While waste management and recycling are critical areas in the fight against pollution and waste, a number of organizations and individuals have undertaken the goal of waste management through innovative means. This involves the stopping of waste in supermarkets as well as creating new life for various items thrown out. As such, these movements represent the need for pollution prevention and a desire to benefit the environment within modern society.