Today we did a photo shoot of compost.
When we told people what we were doing, we got the same reaction: a scrunched up nose and a confused look. You want a picture of compost?
But look. Isn’t it beautiful? This, of course, is fresh compost. And while it may be the most photogenic stage of composting, I find the whole process beautiful.
Isn’t it amazing that God created our food so that those parts we don’t consume turn right back into dirt and provide nutrients for the next generation of food? What an amazing designer!
Perhaps we could take a cue for him and design our products the same way, so that the non-consumable parts become fodder for the next generation. Some companies are already doing this. It’s called extended producer responsibility, the concept of manufacturers taking responsibility for the disposal of the waste they create. In fact, you’ve probably participated in this process when you take back empty ink cartridges for the manufacturer to refill.
Experts say that if we’re ever going to become a zero-waste society, companies are going to have to start buying in to this concept. So what can we, as consumers, do? Let’s take a look at what a bunch of kids in California did. Frustrated that the plastic in their old markers wasn’t even recyclable, Green Team members from Sun Valley Elementary School created a petition at change.org asking Crayola to take back their old markers for repurposing.
Crayola’s response was that they aren’t set up that way. But the effort wasn’t a failure. Another marker company, Dixon, decided the kids were on to something and have now set up their own take-back program.
If kids can have that much of an impact on the way manufacturers do things, certainly we can too. Start by signing their petition (they’d still like to get Crayola on board). Then think of other products that could benefit from this kind of process. Share your ideas here. Maybe we can start a petition of our own. In the meantime, start taking advantage of the original extended producer responsibility program—compost!