Business, based on growth, loves the ideas of a circular economy and recycling because both promote more — more consumption, more material stuff, more growth — but may keep us on track to unsustainability, global warming, plastic, etc.
I’m a big fan of increasing efficiency, but recognize that it is not the same as decreasing total waste. You can make a system more efficient while increasing total waste.
The city of Charlotte contacted me about their Envision Charlotte program, which is one of the larger and more public American environmental initiatives.
I told them I’m cautiously optimistic and can’t tell if what they’re doing in the long run will decrease total waste. I’m not saying it won’t but since few people get the difference between efficiency and total waste, few people are working on reducing total waste. I can’t tell their focus from the outside.
They put me in touch with Amy Aussieker, their Executive Director, and we had a fantastic first conversation where I said the above and she was game for recording a conversation here. I admire her putting herself out there publicly.
You’ll hear my first time challenging someone on these issues. I’m not sure where it will go, but I appreciate her openness and thoughtfulness. I hope I balanced my competing interests for the listener.
Read the transcript.