Adventures in Ethical Consumerism

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Towards global sustainability

It wasn't so long ago that most people in Britain felt there was no point in recycling our waste since nobody else did it and it was too inconvenient anyway. But people showed an interest in recycling, and slowly we have seen the introduction of all sorts of facilities to make it easier.

Along the way, we had to realise that just separating our waste isn't enough. We learned that it's also necessary to buy recycled products in order to help industry close this particular loop of sustainability. Now, recycled products and materials are becoming much more common, and cheaper too.

This article, Paper Recycling Chase in Asian and European Markets by Pete Grogan, shows how the recycling movement has grown legs of its own. There is now so much demand for recovered paper - especially from "hungry tiger" China - it is driving the need to recycle more than ever before:

"The paper industry will need to encourage city governments not currently providing residential recycling services to their citizens to do so.

"Those providing lackluster programs will need paper industry encouragement and assistance to develop effective recovery programs. The industry will also have to develop creative methods for providing recycling services to small businesses that are presently underserved."

Carpet, Fabric & Apparel to Get Greener
is another article from which shows how consumer demand is driving industry, which in turn is driving more environmental practices:

"The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) has taken on the charge to make it happen. Their goal is to transform manufacturing and retail practices worldwide so that by 2015 sustainable products are available in 90% of the global marketplace. Daunting? Yes, but since the 100 largest companies account for more than 90% of the world's products, MTS believes its mission is attainable."

This initiative has serious potential. The MTS looks like more than just an industry mock-up for pulling the wool over people's eyes.


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