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On the weekend of June 14th and 15th, PhD Paul Connett gave a lecture on waste management and "zero waste" strategy in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Paul Connett is graduated from the University of Cambridge in environmental toxicology and chemistry. He has been investigating waste management for 28 years. The conference was entitled: «Waste management, reduce and classify. Waste incineration, a bad option. The zero waste, a future without garbage."
He gave a conference on Friday, where he explained the ten points of its «zero-waste» strategy, and on Saturday he participated in a workshop and answered some questions for Real World Radio.
He noticed that currently Uruguay was developing a huge incineration system that would bring no money to the country mainly because it is ran by European corporations. Moreover, it creates few jobs, which is also an economic problem. He also pointed the informal waste-pickers as some of the responsible.
«I would argue that the city of Montevideo should be putting its money into making the existing operations safer and more effective for the people involved», he said.
Our «European» consumption patterns, now emulated by developing countries such as China, are not sustainable anymore. He urged for a change, and waste could be the best «place to start» this change.
Basically, the ten points of this «zero-waste strategy» are: separation, door to door collection, composting, recycling, re-use of waste. The five next steps aim to reduce waste through political initiatives (taxes), economic incentives for citizens, waste separation facilities, a better industrial design and education through the creation of a Research Center, and, finally, backup and temporary landfills.
He gives the example of the city of San Francisco, which is getting 80% reduction of their waste coming from landfills. Finally, he called for a real «community responsibility» to manage our waste better and to have more sustainable cities and consumption. He argued that incineration has a higher cost than the zero-waste system in terms of transports and manufacture.
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