Waste Not Book Summary - Waste Not Book explained in key points
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Waste Not summary

Erin Rhoads

Make a Big Difference by Throwing Away Less

4 (48 ratings)
19 mins
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    Waste Not
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    The less you consume, the less waste the earth has to absorb.

    The idea of “zero waste” might sound crazy at first, but consider this: When a leaf falls off a tree, it’s broken down by microorganisms, which in turn sustain bugs that sustain birds that sustain . . . well, you get the picture. Nature itself is a zero-waste system. 

    Or at least it was until human beings came along. And while we got along with nature pretty well for millenia, during the Industrial Revolution, new technologies introduced mass production. So as we extract fossil fuels and raw materials from the earth to make new products, waste – often, toxic waste – is a major result. In fact, every environmental threat stems from human actions.

    And though things like using solar panels and recycling diligently can help, those efforts still use resources. That’s why it’s important to reduce consumption. 

    The key message is: The less you consume, the less waste the earth has to absorb.

    Everything you buy requires energy – not just when it’s produced, but when you throw it away. Just think about the impact of plastics, which can take more than 500 years to break down. Plastics don’t nourish the soil; instead, they clog it up – and they’ve now made their way into our food and our water. 

    Even worse, plastics now end up stuck inside the noses of sea turtles and in the malnourished bellies of Laysan albatrosses, who often mistake plastic for food. And while plastic doesn’t break down quickly, it does break up into microplastics. Along with the microbeads often found in face wash, those all end up in the ocean. In fact, in 2016, scientists estimated that Europeans consumed roughly 11,000 bits of microplastic in their seafood every year. 

    But what about recycling? Doesn’t that prevent waste?

    Not necessarily. A little recycling symbol doesn’t mean an object can be recycled indefinitely. Most plastic can only be recycled once before the end of its lifespan. And while paper can be recycled ten times, recycling is also a market-driven business, so stock can sit for a long time before anything is done with it. 

    Meanwhile, we continue to buy more stuff. In fact, we’re encouraged to do it. That’s because products are designed with planned obsolescence in mind – they’re meant to fail so that we have to purchase new ones. 

    But it doesn’t have to be this way. In the next blink, we’ll get into how you can start making small changes in your life to make a big positive impact on the world we live in.

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    What is Waste Not about?

    Waste Not (2019) is a practical guide to changing your consumption lifestyle in order to have a big, eco-friendly impact. Learn how to enjoy the conveniences of the modern world without leaving behind a pile of modern trash.

    Who should read Waste Not?

    • People who want to reduce their waste output
    • Parents looking to educate their kids about recycling
    • All those concerned with climate change

    About the Author

    Erin Rhoads is Australia’s best-known eco-blogger. Since 2013, she’s been documenting her zero-waste lifestyle on her Rogue Ginger blog, and she currently works as a waste reduction consultant. Rhoads has been a regular contributor to ABC Radio, BBC World Service, and the Guardian.

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