zero waste, zero waste zone, history of waste

🗑 History of Waste 🛢️⁠

Throughout most of history, the amount of waste generated by humans was insignificant due to low population density and low societal levels of the exploitation of natural resources as well as industrial since a few decades ago.⁠

🧝‍♀️ Common waste produced during pre-modern times was mainly ashes and human biodegradable waste, and these were released back into the ground locally, with minimum environmental impact.⁠

⛏Tools made out of wood or metal were generally reused or passed down through the generations.(1)⁠

🏭 As the cities and towns grew, waste disposal became a major problem for state and local governments due to health concerns.⁠

🌊The practice of ocean dumping also became common in the latter part of the century and continued into the early 20th century.⁠

🥛Bottles for milk, beer and soft drinks were refilled, newspapers were collected for reuse as packaging, old clothes were handed down, repaired or converted into other items such as quilts, and broken furniture; toys, shoes and utensils were repaired.⁠

🥕Food waste was used for compost or animal feed.⁠

Early 20th Century⁠
🔥It was a common practice for many households and unit blocks to burn their rubbish including plastics in the backyard or in small incinerators.⁠

1970s⁠
🥤The introduction of disposable beverage containers by drink companies in the 1970s led to the end of refillable glass containers and deposit refunds.⁠

📈At the beginning of the 90’s, the amount of waste generated by each person (taking account of all economic activity) was about 1 tonne a year.⁠

♻️In the latter half of the 1990’s governments began setting increasingly ambitious recycling targets in response to community concern about pollution and the increasingly obvious waste of finite resources.⁠

2000 to now⁠
💵Today millions of tonnes of usable food worth several billion dollars is dumped each year.⁠

📈The amount of waste generated by each person, however, has now reached 2 tonnes a year.⁠

🌻🌎Zero waste and maximum resource recovery will become the defining principles of the 21st century.(2)⁠

Sources:
1) Wikipedia – waste management⁠
2) Wastenot.org.au⁠

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