Do we need Circular Thinking in Pet Waste Disposal Industry??
Dr. Charu Jain
It is astonishing to know that today the whole world is talking about ‘Circularity” or Circular Economy Thinking. CET is about redesigning products to make them work for the people and ecosystem it touches. It is about what goes in the manufacturing of a product and what comes out regarding waste which can be reused and recycled into the same system. The residue of one product manufacturing is the raw material of another. Ironically, we humans have forgotten that nature and ecosystems existed naturally in the same way historically. It is the post-industrialization era where humans explored the real power of natural fossil fuels and sources of energy to invest into industrialized production and unfortunately couldn’t think beyond that to identify what will happen to the output waste of these processes generate and how mother nature will react to it.
Post-industrialization era came with the petroleum age, where the most common by-product was Polyethylene, commonly known as Plastics, manufactured and used in various ways. Its flexibility, molding ability and reusability attracted humans so much that we ignored the essential feature of this polymer, i.e., decomposability.
Today we have mountains of disposed plastics in our oceans and lands. It is because plastic polymers are not natural to decompose and degrade into smaller molecules. Humans decided to dispose of them into mother nature's lap and waited for her to absorb them.
Unfortunately, as a result here we are today dealing with the fourth era of humankind evolution, i.e. “Plastic Age."
The biggest challenge in front of us today is how to deal with the waste disposal methods for plastic products. Sciences have evolved to convert and recycle polyester into various other products, but the Circularity concept in plastic products is yet to gain momentum.
If we create renewable and bio-based polymers with similar properties with compostable products that can readily decompose upon landfilling, break down
into small molecules easily and don't dispose of harmful chemicals in the soil and water, we can still fulfill our needs without harming mother nature.
Sustainable Innovational Thinking is required to bring this change!
System Change Thinking is required to change the ways we produce things!
From the consumer front, awareness is needed to carefully choose plastic alternatives that are bio based and renewable and can readily biodegrade such as “bioDogadable Bags." I recently came across these bags that are used for pet’s waste disposal. They also have other useful versions such as grocery bags and are completely biodegradable. Every bag I used for my pets and my home, gave me a sense of satisfaction that plastic waste is reduced significantly. If each household starts to act on and reduce their plastic consumption then our oceans, land, and air can nurture us for many more years and provide a cleaner environment for our future generations.