Go Lean To Eliminate Waste


 Go Lean To Eliminate Waste

Waste is an unfortunate side effect of any living organism, and the human race is no exception. From the bodies we produce to the material we consume, it's everywhere. But not all waste is created equal: some costs much more than others to produce and dispose of, while some has larger consequences on our environment.

If you're interested in learning how go lean to eliminate waste from your life and reduce your carbon footprint, read on for lots more information!

This post was written by John Doe from Go Lean Incorporated.

"Waste is an unfortunate side effect of any living organism, and the human race is no exception."

The total amount of waste we produce every year across the globe is truly staggering: 7.5 billion tons from around 5.3 billion people. That's enough to fill up the entire state of Nebraska with trash! And recently, the EPA found that waste generation had increased by 13 percent in just six years.

And if you think about it, this isn't such a surprising revelation when you consider our ever-increasing consumption. We've been told that we need to consume more if we want to have equality and quality of life (which I think is a load of bunk), but with that comes waste. While we may not care that much about our own lifestyles, the impact of our actions trickle down to environmental concerns, and can often be rather serious.

Here are some examples of how wasteful our culture is:

1) Windows, Windows, Windows. Collectively installed by business around the world in nearly half of all buildings worldwide, windows constitute a whopping 40% of a building's total energy budget! They're also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and are responsible for up to 16 percent of the total electricity used in buildings over the course of a year. In other words, when you look out your window at all those beautiful buildings throughout the world – this is why.

2) Automobiles. Cars are a full-on epidemic in the U.S., with over 245 million registered vehicles on the road! And each one of those represents an incredible waste of space, time and money. On average, a car costs over $8,000 per year to own (this takes into account insurance, gas, maintenance and repair costs). That's an incredible amount of money just to get from point A to point B once or twice a day!

Not only that but we also consume so many other things like oil and other resources in order to make cars (e.g., rubber for tires), drive them (e.g., massive amounts of electricity), and maintain them (e.g. mechanics). We also pay police officers to direct traffic, maintain roads and ensure that traffic laws are being followed, not to mention the cost of emergency services when accidents occur. It's no wonder that in just one year, the average person will spend over 5,000 hours in the car!

3) Alcohol. All alcohol companies have to do is make a profit off their product, but this isn't so simple. Many mass market brewers produce billions of cans and bottles each year, which contributes to over 1 billion pounds of aluminum waste annually (from just one type of packaging!).

Cigarette butts (from cigarettes containing tobacco) are another popular form of waste. But the real concern here is that they cause fires, both from intentional tipping and unintentional through extreme heat. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter found on beaches and other inland areas, and cause thousands of fires in the U.S. each year.

While mass producing alcohol seems to be a winning economic strategy (the beer industry alone generates over $250 billion per year in gross revenue, to say nothing of wine and spirits), it's a losing game for the environment. Reducing waste can be accomplished by either designing for less waste or changing consumer behavior – what will you choose?

4) Food Waste. According to the EPA, Americans left 133 billion pounds of food in the trash in 2012. That's just from one year! And it doesn't stop there…

At any given time, 1/3 of all refrigerators in the U.S. contain spoiled food – which is a loss for both consumers and retailers, as a full fridge sells 20% more product than an empty one (and thus costs less per item as well). Only about 2% of this wasted food is composted or recycled.

This also represents a financial loss for everyone involved, from farms to grocery stores and all the way up to our bellies. One billion pounds of food waste is thrown away each year, costing over $70 billion in lost revenue and packaging materials. Composting food waste is one way to reduce these costs, as it can be sold for up 35% profit (plus the health benefits of creating compost).

5) Water Use and Pollution. The EPA estimated that Americans collectively used over 50 trillion gallons of water in 2012 – or almost 1,000 gallons per person! But that's no surprise considering that 90 percent of all bottles, cans, and containers are not recycled. And if you're wondering where all this water goes…over 70 percent ends up in the sewer system.

Of course, what does this mean for our water supply? Well, it means that we're adding massive amounts of pollutants to the water that we depend on. This is a global issue, but is particularly problematic in developing nations like China and India where the pollution can directly affect drinking water supplies. Conservation can be as easy as reducing your own shower time by 10 minutes per week, or adjusting the thermostat and turning off appliances when they're not in use (make sure you minimize humidity by leaving dishes to air dry too!).

6) Energy Waste. It's a fact that the average person uses over 1,400 gallons of water just to flush their toilet. And the numbers don't stop there: we also used over 500 gallons of water for showering and bathing in 2012, and another 400 gallons for laundry. Energy is also a major concern – particularly when it comes to air conditioning.

In fact, according to the EPA, household air conditioning is directly responsible for 13% of all electricity consumption in the U.S., or about 3% of our total energy budget.


In this article we've highlighted just a few of the most obvious ways in which we waste our resources as a society. But considering that there are over 7 billion people on this earth, it's safe to say that there has never been a better time to rethink our habits when it comes to consumption and materialism. So next time you go shopping…stop and think about what you're buying. It could make all the difference.

Image Credits: Shutterstock/Siqiao; Design for Use; The Cool Hunter; Eurostat; Devin Brown; LifeCycle Images Inc.; Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee; Soft Drink Turkey Can Project (Wikimedia); Gwen Pearson (image) / CC BY 2.

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