Sunday, April 02, 2006

Review of Gone Tomorrow Screening/Heather Rogers Talk

I went to the Lucy Parsons Center last night to see Gone Tomorrow and hear Heather Rogers talk about both her book and movie. Here's a link to the original post about the event. I wanted to post about a few of the things she discussed. She lives in Brooklyn so I don't know if she'll make it back up here anytime soon but she was a very engaging and knowledgable speaker, definitely reccomend checking her out if you have the opportunity.

The movie Gone Tomorrow - The Hidden Life of Garbage is short(19 minutes) but delivers alot in that brief time. It is also interesting to note that the movie was Heather's first project and inspired her to write a book of the same name which, using over 225 pages, explores the same topic in much more detail.

Here were some points that really stood-out:
  • Industry generates 70 tons of waste for every ton generated by consumers(consumer waste accounts for less than 1.5% of waste!)
  • Only 22% of plastic bottles get recycled(there is a limited market for them)
  • Industry has framed disposable goods as a litter issue not a waste issue.
  • 50 - 80% of computers recycled in the U.S. end-up in China
  • Most recycled goods are down-cycled, meaning they are changed into something of lesser grade or use during the recycling process.
  • Capitalism needs garbage.
  • Most businesses externalize costs onto the environment
  • Green businesses either cater to high-end consumers or go out-of-business.
Solutions? You want something positive to take away from this and possibly act on??? OK...
  • A fundamental cultural change to one of reduced consumption(like the Compact but with everyone participating!).
  • Framing the waste issue as both a social justice and an environmental issue, then acting on it accordingly
  • Increased product durability, recyclability and servicability

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