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Symposium 2014

Background Paper - Shifting the Waste Management Paradigm

The Challenge

Trying to put a value on the global waste market is difficult, but looking at one country can help to give a sense of scale: in India alone, waste is a two billion US dollars industry. The percentage ...

Trying to put a value on the global waste market is difficult, but looking at one country can help to give a sense of scale: in India alone, waste is a two billion US dollars industry. The percentage of waste recycled varies wildly from country to country and from region to region. The ability to recycle waste depends at the very least on political will, municipal financial ability, societal awareness, and the established infrastructure to support those efforts.

Negative environmental impacts are symptoms, not the disease. The core problem is that we are squandering resources at an unsustainable rate. We are consuming resources instead of using them, where “consuming” means using once and then having nothing of value left, and “using” means applying a resource to a purpose and then still having that resource.