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July 02, 2008

Heidi Sanborn: Pay now, or Pay later in a throw away world

SanbornI slid into the the Zero Waste conference last week, just in time to hear Heidi Sanborn talk about the Product Stewardship Council. She gave a terrific presentation on the growing problem and cost of household waste and who is responsible, the manufacturers who make the throw away stuff or the taxpayers who must manage the thrown-away stuff?

I couldn't take notes fast enough. The WHOLE presentation is on http://www.caproductstewardship.org/. If you scroll down, you'll see it at the bottom of the page where you can download the whole thing. It puts climate change pollution into a whole new light. Even if you don't think Global Warming is real, our massive waste problem sure is.

Per_capital_waste_2 But that's just the beginning of the problem. The bigger problem is that WE pay for it on the front end as consumers AND the backend as taxpayers - and that system could bankrupt most communities.

Heidi believes that putting the burden of creating a safe and recyclable product on the manufacturer's shoulders is the answer. But if you were a manufacturer, where do you start and how do you do it and stay competitive with someone else who carried the same product line?

The more I know, the more I'm impressed with how the SMaRT Sustainable Product Standard works to solve pollution problems in air, water, earth and the atmosphere, BEFORE it hits the landfill.

Heidi, with 17 years in integrated waste management, has seen all the solutions come and go.  Check out her presentation. If you weren't motivated to buy less, or buy sustainably before, you will be after you see it. The section on pharmaceuticals is especially eye opening.   



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