Zero Waste - Better Than Recycling
Better than recycling waste is to not generate any.
Full recycling of all waste – trash free is a tremendously important issue and a worthwhile goal. Some have gone completely 100% recycling of all their waste, such as the Danish island of Bornholm.
A better step to recycling though is to not produce any waste to start with. This eliminates the demand for transportation and storage of waste, which gives off harmful CO2 emissions as it is transported & then decomposed. It also cuts back on the need for natural resources and raw materials for replacement.
Not disposing of waste to breakdown and decay stops the unwanted generation of excessive CO2 emissions. This harmful discharge into the atmosphere is a large contributor to green house gases leading to the acceleration of detrimental global warming and climate change.
In the building industry, the best way to not generating waste, which is usually by disposing of buildings and their components before the end of their life/service cycle, is to restore and extend their life span. With the simple and practical step of restoration and overall extension of their use, we can stop the generation of tremendous amount of waste. In essence, recycling buildings and their parts to help minimizing CO2 emissions.
A perfect example of this is with roofs. In the past, once roofs hit their service life cycle and start to fail, they are torn off, sent to a landfill, and replaced with the same type of material that they are replacing. It is estimated that 20% of building waste in landfills is from roofs - roofing that now is easily restored and preserved.
Since we are talking about protecting the environment, we want to safeguard that same environment by using products that are favorable to the natural world and ecosystems as we protect buildings by defending them from early breakdown, disposal and decay.