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Jon Wharf's picture
Nov 18, 2020 - 17:59

It seems there is a missing component to considering the desired level of waste minimization, which also applies into the hierarchy selection process. The general principle of reducing waste and disposal is fine but should be informed by the energy requirement of reducing or moving between steps in the hierarchy of waste treatment. If it takes say 50 kWh energy to avoid a waste (per instance) that would use 10 kWh and 0.1m^2 in disposal, that might not be a step worth taking. The energy difference might be bring greater benefit applied elsewhere - maybe even just as additional energy supply to society at large.

I am also suspicious about the "endless" nature of "minimization", in the wrong PR hands.Obviously stretch goals help innovation - until they don't, because they're not feasible. But we should understand what is acceptable, not merely say "it must be as small as possible". So meet some objective criteria per unit energy, and get applauded or otherwise rewarded for continuing to do better. There isn't a zero waste system, and we shouldn't punish energy producers for waste that is at realistically acceptable levels.

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