“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.” - Albert Einstein

Aquinas College

Waste Equals Food


Oberlin College’s Environmental Studies building features a Living Machine, "an engineered wastewater treatment system modeled on natural wetland ecosystems."
Photo by Ed Hancock, courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL PIX #11666)

There is absolutely no room for waste in a sustainable world. Nature operates in a system where the needs for million of species are met without producing any waste. Unused or excreted materials are food for other organisms. If we make our industrial processes mimic natural processes, there will be no waste.

In a sustainable business, products are manufactured to be disassembled easily after their useful life. All materials are classified as either technical or biological nutrients. At the end of a product's useful life, the manufacturer will take back the product and use the materials for further manufacturing. There is no waste. Waste is a liability and an expense for companies, individuals, and societies that should be designed out of processes.


McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC)

MBDC provides a clear, concise, and laudable explanation of "waste equals food" that is worth checking out!

Funded by the Steelcase Foundation of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Header photo by Carol Y. Swinehart, courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant Extension
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