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Summer Journal

Volume 32, Issue 2

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:26

Anticipating the Trash Crisis of the Future

What will happen to the plastic bag you threw away with lunch today? Will it sit in a landfill, clog a municipal sanitation system, or end up in your seafood? Concern over this question has helped spur the rise of the new and rapidly growing cultural trend of people aiming to live ‘Zero Waste’. The momentum of this movement has been fueled in part by an international recycling crisis between the United States and China, as described in this slightly grim article, Is this the End of Recycling?

Seeing images of injured marine animals or aerial footage of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, shows us just how much damage this unsolved problem can cause. We can collect data from events that are occurring today to predict trends in consumption and waste reduction. We can track pilot programs of composting and trash reduction and honestly evaluate the results.

All of this sounds negative, but there is a lot of good news! More and more people are prepared to take drastic action to solve the waste and recycling problems that our country will face in the future. Like business strategies used in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, the Zero Waste movement tries to anticipate a future problem and attempt to mitigate its effects before they happen. To do this, we must rely on tracking real data as it occurs and test our solutions, before they become critical to operations.