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Roland Van Der Meer

To Waste or Not To Waste

How is it that nature never seems to waste a thing? Anything and everything nature creates lives, dies and is reborn as another thing. It is the nature of things. People, on the other hand, seem to think we can make something, use it, and throw it away without any regard as to where it goes – as long as it disappears.

What I find amazing is the value of waste is now becoming as important as the initial good that is created or grown. It is estimated that people produce over 256 metric tons of organic waste in North America. Organic waste disposed of in a garbage pile eventually rots and then vents methane into the environment. Methane is 20 times more destructive to the environment than carbon. Nature would never let this happen! Nature takes organic waste and reuses it for animals, bugs, and bacteria to digest the essence and then repurpose it into a new form. How amazing.

We can do the same. There are many potential uses for this waste stream, including capturing the gas in the landfill, scrubbing it and selling it as green gas. We can also divert the waste to create compost, put it into an anaerobic digester, or feed it to several insect types to create new protein sources. The list of potential uses is endless. Waste is a valuable commodity. Let’s start to redirect it to its highest and best use. Surprisingly, when the application is well-designed, engineered and financed, it can be very profitable!

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