Americans have often been tagged as a “throw away” society. In 2014, US citizens generated more than 258 million tons of solid waste. But, more than 34% of that waste was recycled. Beyond the community recycling efforts, there are some innovative ideas that communities are employing to reduce waste even further.
Organized as a pop-up community event, (and promoted on Facebook and community boards) citizens bring in broken items to be repaired by other local residents. Everything from computer trouble-shooting to furniture repair can be involved. Participants avoid throwing out an item, while learning a repair skill from their neighbor. More than 11,000 communities across the globe are registered for such events.
Waste No Food
Kiran Sridhar was stunned by the volume of people being served by his local food pantry. At the same time, he saw the volume of food being thrown away. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 40% of all food ends up in landfills. At the age of 16, Kiren create his Waste No Food app, Kiran tied restaurants, convention centers and stadiums to area food pantries. Now instead of throwing out excess food, the businesses simply post the availability of excess food on the app. Food pantries (within 20 miles of the donating entity and pre-vetted by WasteNoFood) receive the notice and elect to pick-up the items. More than 1,000,000 meals have been diverted from the dump since the app’s creation.
Technology advances are blamed for some of the electronic waste being generated. However, the same technology offers unique opportunities for preserving and enhancing our communities.