Here's a fantastic video covering the needs and goals of the Zero Waste movement. Sadly, and perhaps not surprisingly, most of the progress to the zero waste goal is occurring outside the U.S.
Tekla Perry posted this fantastic audio report for IEEE Spectrum magazine, based on our summer Repair Café event in Palo Alto. She beautifully captures the energy of the event and the wide mix of people, interests and stuff brought in for repair. Thanks Tekla! http://bit.ly/1acZgta
We had our fourth Repair Café in Palo Alto yesterday and enjoyed a surprise visit from Silicon Valley legend Dan Kottke. Dan is known as 'Apple employee number one' and was a major contributor to the Apple I, Apple II and the first Macintosh computers.
The story goes that Sunday Walter Sedricks was walking down the street in Palo Alto with his 1980s-vintage 512k Mac headed to the Repair Café. Stopped by a curious Kottke who wanted to know what he was doing, Walter told him he was headed to the Repair Café to get it fixed. Unable to help himself, Dan told him he was the guy to do it.
So Dan went home, got his own original Mac and returned to the Repair Café to troubleshoot the other one. Needless to say, this visitor couldn't have had a more able repairer on the job. After all, Dan's name is embossed inside the back wall of the Mac - I know because he showed us! Thanks for helping out, Dan!
Great article in the LA Times (run also in today's SF Chronicle) on the growing infrastructure supporting the repair, reuse & sharing economy.
A new consuming philosophy: Reuse, remake, refrain
Plenty has been written about businesses like AirBnB and Relayrides (which I used for the first time recently) to help individuals make money off their idle assets. And there seem to be more and more ways for us to find useful homes (even temporarily) for stuff we don't use much or at all (see Freecycle, Yerdle...) But the increase in corporate America's participation in this trend is encouraging. Lots of shameless commerce, no doubt, but some companies seem to be taking this seriously. There are some very creative new businesses evolving - like jeans rental company Mud Jeans - that tap consumers' growing sensitivities about our over-consumptive lifestyle. And I especially like the fact that Patagonia will be including repair instructions with some of its products.
Here's some surprising news: according to a recent article in the SF Chronicle, in 2012 Californians generated less garbage than ever before.
"Californians reduced the amount of trash sent to landfills to a record low last year, according to new figures from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. State residents and businesses together discarded an average of 4.3 pounds of garbage per day, which is down from 4.4 pounds per person in 2011. By comparison, the state dumped more than 8 pounds per person a day in 1989, the year the Integrated Waste Management Act went into effect."
Of course, this may be as much of a function of a lagging economy as better recycling and consumption habits. Organic waste now represents the largest part of our waste stream, spurring the growth of composting programs state-wide.