A person once told me that he was sure much of our ecological crisis could be avoided if we asked “when you buy something, imagine where does it go when you’re done with it?” When we imagine the energy, materials and conditions that make our products we make decisions that are better for the environment and ourselves. Who among us wants to buy a factory-farmed, hormone injected, antibiotic laden chicken from thousands of miles away?
Imagining where our products go when we are finished with them is often not as easy as learning where they came from. This interactive info-graphic created by Natureworks (an offshoot of agri-business giant Cargill that is focused on creating low-carbon footprint products from sustainable sources) does a great job of illustrating the end-life of polymer-based products. While the current predominant methods are landfill, incineration and recycling, the eventual switch to organic polymers will enable composting to become part of the mix. Maybe you’ve seen the ads for one of their first products, the Sun Chips biodegradable bag.
Go here or more information on the new biodegradables.