Throwing money to the trash.

"Matter is neither created nor destroyed, only transformed"- Lavoisier, law of conservation of matter. 

What do you think when you hear "Throwing money to the trash"? - Open question made in social networks. 
- "When you by something you never used" Lau Ganem, twitter 
- "Waste" Rossy Meade, facebook 

Ideas and concepts can be many, but basically we can reduce it here on Facebook and twitter compiled as "wasted resources", "payments made in vain," "low quality for price value."A few posts ago we published a video of how it separate and throw trash away here in Sweden. In many countries, including Mexico, there is an environmental education program (people know how to separate trash) but lacks the necessary infrastructure (the cities do not have suitable containers, burning plants, treatment plants, composting, landfills, etc. sometimes having huge landfills only). You can see that post here.

An interesting issue was in the air in this video: What about PET and aluminum? Why are they not tossed in the containers? Is there a special container for them? Why does the video not show what happened to that bag in a different cabinet even? The reason is that the PET and aluminum in this country, as in some other European countries, are returned directly to a module that provides an exchange value for each piece that is returned.Watch the video here.

The company that manages this process is Returpack. Look at their website in English here.
This should carry us to an interesting reflection on the value that has been given in different cultures in the trash. While in Mexico and other Latin American countries only one sector of the population, the pickers, are devoted to this activity, obtaining a very low price for the recovered material per kilo. In these countries (Europe and especially Scandinavia) the entire population can save their aluminumcans and PET bottles at home and receive directly, at a competitive price, value for this recovery. So here, you really think before you throw an aluminum can or PET to a public trash can, some people prefer to keep it until they get home and gather plenty enough to exchange. The people who are dedicated to search and retrieve materials from public trash cans, can without any problem, exchange them at a competitive price that gives them much more "than to have a soda". Would you mind if someone borrows some change from you, in return they give you an empty PET bottle? Not here. 

This even makes us think that environmental education that was years ago ("Throw the trash in its place") has evolved in some countries ("Separate organic waste from inorganic"), some a little more than others ("Separate by materials, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ")... But what I would have bet more on is to start to see garbage as fact, a resource that has real commercial value, for then we would give it a very different treatment and think a little more before tossing the things we no longer use away indiscriminately ("Recycle your materials here and get money back"). 

Some data on the treatment of materials: 
- Steel, aluminum and glass can be recycled again and again without limit without losing properties and quality. 
- If all were recycled soda caps, there would be enough metal to produce 2.200 new passenger cars per year. 
Source: Renova, Sweden 

How can we as a society, start pushing these proposals in our cities?There are many ideas to develop, here you can share yours. I'll start with a short list: 
- Trying to find the greatest possible use to the materials we throw away, such as recycling projects that we have shared in this blog. 
- Organize with several neighbors to gather and sell the recovered materials (newspapers, aluminum, cardboard, PET) and, for example, when carrying sell, use what you get for the improvement of shared road or building.- If through institutions, such as companies or schools, make agreements with companies that use these materials to buy the material they recovered to a suitable price, or exchange for services. Here you have to get creative. For example, doing a marathon to gather aluminum cans at school... change them in a soft drink industry for example with a donation of books and materials for students. In business, for example where there is a large consumer of paper, there could be bonuses to employees who use less paper and recycle more new paper. 
- Those who are designers by trade, could begin to devise new ways to use these materials in projects based, innovative and with great impact on society, but mostly systematized, to do something continuously discarded materials will also continue. Check out for example what these Swedish designers with waste paper and metal. 
- Ask the authorities to support infrastructure or systems that allow the separation of waste materials and the trade of recovered materials.The more we learn, the more we generate ideas. The important thing is to know that we are responsible for the objects when we buy them, and of the garbage and waste in our cities, when we stop using them. Begin to take a conscious view of the resources we have and stop literally throwing them away.

To close this article, I leave a link to a short story by Italo Calvino "Continuous Cities 1" (Leonia), from his book "Invisible Cities" a story that sounds like a dream ... hopefully one that does not come true.

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