Myths about sustainability with GAIA Ep. 7

Episode 7 December 07, 2022 00:35:58
Myths about sustainability with GAIA Ep. 7
The Recombobulator Lab
Myths about sustainability with GAIA Ep. 7

Dec 07 2022 | 00:35:58

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Hosted By

Jason Graham-Nye Chris Dominic

Show Notes

This week on The Recombobulator Lab we are excited to announce our media partnership with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) for their Zero Waste Month this January. Jason and Chris spoke to Froilan Grate, Executive Director of GAIA Philippines and Asia-Pacific Co-Coordinator for GAIA. 

Zero Waste Month has traditionally been a South East Asian event but this year GAIA is encouraging people all around the globe to get involved. Froilan speaks to the guys about GAIAs mission and about the events we can look forward to for Zero Waste Month. 

What is zero waste and how do we get there?

Froilan says Zero Waste is both a destination and a journey. The idea is to reduce the amount of waste produced by managing resources. The movement wants to reduce toxicity in the world by making goods without toxic chemicals and avoiding burning and burying waste. 

Is burning waste bad for the environment?

Burning waste can be on a small scale or a larger scale. Small scale burning, called open burning, is people burning their own rubbish. 

Incineration is when waste is burned on a large scale as part of a country or city’s waste management process. 

Froilan says that either way, burning waste is problematic. These are some of the issues with burning waste: 

1. Impact on human health 

Burning waste pollutes the air, releasing toxic dioxin chemicals into the air. 

2. The climate 

Incineration releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which contribute to climate change. 

3. Wasting finite resources

Resources used to make the products we use are finite. Burning these is a total waste of these finite resources. 

4. Waste of government or municipal resources

Building incinerators is expensive and they cost a lot to maintain. Typically governments will invest in incinerators and offset the cost over multiple decades. Making the initial decision to incinerate waste in a country means that country is committed to incinerating for the foreseeable future. 

5. Impact on livelihood 

There are far less jobs in incineration than there are in recycling. 

Incineration around the world 

Incineration has been “rebranded” around the world. Incineration companies refer to it as “waste to energy” processing. 

Japan

Jason spoke about his time in Japan and can remember since as long as he’s been going there that they have ‘burnable’ and ‘non-burnable’ bins. Incineration is deeply woven into societal norms there. 

Hawaii

In Hawaii they have a “waste to energy” system on Ohau. However, with the small population they struggle to produce enough waste to justify having the privately owned incinerator. This results in the city paying penalties. 

Europe 

In Europe a lot of countries are scaling down incineration. However, due to the high start up costs or contract agreements a lot of countries are locked into incineration for 20+ years. 

Waste colonialism

Aside from Japan, Asian countries don’t incinerate waste, yet. Incineration companies are targeting these countries now as their European business dries up. Froilan calls this waste colonialism. 

Jason notes that this is similar to what happened in Australia when they previously did not have regulations on car emissions. Companies like Ford and General Motors who could no longer use certain engines in North America and Europe started selling them in Australia. 

How waste ends up in South East Asia 

South East Asia and specifically Indonesia has to deal with waste from all over the world. This is for two reasons. 

1. The ocean 

The ocean has long term currents and these currents bring waste to the same parts of South East Asia, meaning they have a constant issue of waste washing up on their coasts. 

2. Waste is sent from other countries 

Countries around the world send waste to South East Asia for recycling. The waste is often not sorted and can contain a lot that cannot be recycled. 

GAIA Zero Waste Month 

The theme for this years Zero Waste Month is Zero Waste for Zero Emissions. 

As part of Zero Waste Month GAIA is organising:

For more information on these you can check out @zerowasteasia on Instagram and Twitter. 



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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Recombobulator Lab with Jason Graham-Nye and Chris Dominic Speaker 2: Fall. Allergies, Jason Fall, fall allergies. I, I, I swear to God, the cover of my car, I have a black car and the car is like green and black. I, I had no idea that it was so bad. It was, I, I don't, so you're gonna hear me right now and you might think, oh, Chris is under the weather now. Now I feel fine. I sound terrible because of fall allergy. Speaker 3: That's, and do you know why, Chris? Dominic, do you know why? Why? Because when I moved to Portland, Oregon, and I met you, and we lived there for 10 years, I got an allergy for the first time in my life there. And then I'd never got an allergies before. And then I went to an allergy specialist and they did that p prick thing on your arm. And they said, oh, you are, you're allergi to grass. And I'm like, that sounds like I'm allergic to the environment. You Speaker 2: Moved to the wrong place. Do you, you know that the Willamette Valley is the largest, uh, place of grass seed. Yeah. Okay. All right. All right. Yeah, anyway. I know, I know. It's funny. It's bec I think you actually, before, I think we might even talked before you got the, the pin prick thing, because I remember my answer to you is the answer that I give to a lot of people when they moved to Portland, they're like, I don't understand why it's so bad. I'm like, okay, look around you, you've moved to a forest. So there you go. Anyway, Jason, what are we doing this week? Speaker 3: We are meeting with Fralin, who's the executive director of Gaia. And we're gonna talk about, um, and we are a media partner for Gaia. Um, and so we wanted to talk about zero waste month, which is January, which is next month. Oh my God. There's only 30 shopping days to Christmas. <laugh> 25. When did the big man. Anyway, um, uh, that's the purpose of our conversation today. In our episode, we're gonna hear from Fralin to learn more about, um, guy the organization, but zero waste a month activities and what's going on there. Um, so yeah, welcome Flo. How Speaker 4: Are you? Thank you, uh, Chris and uh, Jason, thank you for having me. And thank you for supporting the zero waste month celebration in January. Yes. 25 days to Christmas and last 28, 29 days for the year. So we're excited. Speaker 3: Fantastic. And, um, I'd love to understand more cuz I've seen zero waste events globally. I've seen different things in Australia and us. Is this a global month or is this a month in Southeast Asia specifically? Speaker 4: Uh, for the past five years, this has been a Southeast Asian thing, but over the, uh, past few years you've heard people that they wanted to make this a global celebration. So for the first time, uh, ever, we are working with our, uh, friends, partners and allies in other regions to try to make this a global celebration. And with your support, we're excited to make that happen. Speaker 3: That's great. So as you know, Chris is American. Chris is unfortunately American, and I'm fantastically Australian. And so our, our, our listenership is very much across two countries, but Chris is the data geek. And Chris, tell us where our, our listeners are everywhere, right? We've had some amazing, they Speaker 2: They really are. I mean, they're mostly in America and in Australia, but then there's a bunch in Canada in recently Brazil that happened recently. Not sure what's going on there. Maybe it's uh, maybe it's the World Cup. Speaker 3: Exactly. By the way, Speaker 2: That was me practicing a non-sequitur. I just, it's fun to practice Nonsequitors because No. Speaker 3: Okay. Speaker 2: No. All right. Back. Focus, Speaker 3: Focus, focus. Speaker 2: I'm back. I'm back on. Speaker 3: Okay. I'm curious. Zero waste is a concept. So I'm cheating cuz I'm kind of in the sustainability space. But Fralin speak to me like I'm a five year old child. <laugh>, what, tell me, zero waste seems like this idyllic sort of utopia. Like imagine if, but tell us more about it. Like how do we get there in five, in five minutes or less Speaker 4: <laugh>. Speaker 4: Um, I think that's one of the things that we want to change with a zero waste month is that people have a sense that it's impossible or it's hard to achieve. No. Or it's a long term vision. Uh, indeed, yes, it is a long term vision. No, but there are many communities in Asia, in other parts of the world who have been working towards this. So for us, zero waste is both a destination and the journey as well. No, it's the things that we do now that, uh, defines zero waste. So, uh, what is zero waste for us? In very simple terms, it's about managing resources, the way we use things without having the need to, um, use toxic chemicals in both its extraction, production use, and management after life. And making sure that whatever products we use are able to return to the system, that we don't have the resort to either burning them or burying them. I think those are two critical things. Now, if we're able to, um, manufacture and use a product without having to resort to adding toxic additives, plus without having to burn and bury them after then that is Speaker 3: Perfect. I understand that. Okay, Christopher? So Speaker 2: I was just thinking, no, the, the burn issue is probably going to be, I I think most of our listeners are in urban centers and there's not a lot of burning going, but I do know from, uh, visiting my grandfather's place back in the day, uh, he had burn day, right? I mean, like, that's the way trash went in the rural areas and, uh, is, is burning, um, a, a bigger problem than I think most Americans realize. Speaker 4: Indeed it is and burning as different manifestations in my part of the world, it's a traditional burning that we are seeing, you know, when people, um, gather ways in their backyard and, uh, burn them, we call them open burning. And that's quite prevalent in my, my side of the world. But over the past, uh, few years, no, with the issue of climate change, um, gaining momentum and people realizing the, the impact of burning waste, no, it's becoming less and less. So, uh, of course the reality is that in some places mm-hmm. <affirmative>, where, uh, waste management collection is not present, uh, unfortunately people have to resort to that. That's why we are really working with cities and municipalities in the region, not to establish zero waste program so that people don't have to resort to burning their waste. But, uh, building onto your first point, the reality is that open burning isn't the only way that, uh, burning waste is manifesting in, uh, the us in Europe, in Japan, in China. Speaker 4: There's another type of burning that I would say is even more dangerous. No, uh, you have incineration, which is basically centralized, uh, burning where you collect your waste, send it to a facility for, for it to be burnt. No. And that is still burning over the years because of the bad name that incineration has been getting. They've been creatively rebranding, calling it, for example, waste. But in, in, in, in most cases, this is still at, at the heart of it burning waste. No, they may try to recover a bit of energy from it, but at the end of the day, it's about burning waste. Speaker 2: Okay. And the downside, the downside of burning waste is that it creates more pollution. It, it, it increases, uh, I'm just, what is it? Speaker 4: So there are several downsides to it. One is on health impacts, you know, uh, you're creating pollution, uh, incineration. It's known to produce dioxins, which is very harmful to us. Uh, so, uh, human health impact is one. Uh, second is climate impact. We're producing more, uh, uh, greenhouse gas emissions by, uh, burning our waste. Third, we are not conserving resources in a world of finite resources. It just doesn't make sense to burn them, you know? Um, fourth, uh, it's a waste of public resources. Uh, to build it inc. Generation takes a lot of, uh, public money. No. Um, and to sustain it, to operate it, uh, costs municipalities and cities a lot of money, which could have been used for, um, social services. And lastly, impact on livelihood. No. Um, we've seen many incinerator displace waste workers and waste pickers. No, there are less jobs in incineration versus recycling. So in the different aspects of it, there's freely no sense no for, for any community or any city to, to go for incineration instead of a zero. Mm. Speaker 2: Got it. Thank you. From, and so Jason, uh, I'm gonna toss you in just a second, but just so you know, there's a story in the Washington Post today that I, there's no way you mean, probably, but it says that the Glen Canyon Dam, which is DAMing up the Colorado River, which gives a lot of water to the southwest of America and a lot of power to the southwest of America, is potentially going to get to Deadpool stage where it, it, they have to open up the gates and it won't make power anymore next July. Speaker 3: Yeah. Speaker 2: It's that bad. So it, the climate change issue is really hitting people who don't normally pay attention to these kinds of, it's hitting home a little faster now. Um, but anyway, with that to you, Ja Speaker 3: Just a couple of things. So from my background is in Japan, and I've lived there for many years, and I remember my homestay when I was 15 in the house, the sore separation in the kitchen was moto and Mona Moto, burnable Mona, not burnable. And I remember thinking, oh wow. Holy. So it's to that level, it's not just a thing over there. It's down to the households. And that was the first time I learned the word burnable <laugh>. So it's extraordinary. Um, the other great example is Honolulu Chris. So, Honolulu, Hawaii, huge amounts of waste. Landfill is full, Speaker 2: Incredible surf spots in on the North Shore. Incredible. Not Speaker 3: Full long. Amazing. Thank you, Chris. Focus, my God, <laugh> all. Let's get you focused. Okay. Speaker 2: What, all Speaker 3: Right. I, I love Brolin. Your point around the rebranding. They, they have an incinerated that they call waste to energy, and it's in Honolulu and they just burn everything. And it's, they talk about the, the filters magically remove the bad things as they go up into the atmosphere. But yeah, it's, and, and it's a really perverse contract that the private company has with Honolulu, and that they have to put every ounce of waste in there to make it worthwhile, including mattresses and every these other stuff. Oh, like, it's, it's grim. So I think what you've said from is so interesting about that. I, I did have one comment. I feel like the global south, who are feeling the effects of, um, climate change more than anyone, in a way, here I'm in Indonesia, they, they have the second biggest, um, marine plastic waste is here in Indonesia. They don't produce it, but they receive it cause they've got such massive coastlines. And the way the jars work, I feel like in some ways the leapfrogging to a zero waste world could be faster in the global south. Cause they don't have to pull down all the other infrastructures. Like landfill is just so flawed. Is that true fraud? Or am I smoking crack? Does the global south have a chance to leapfrog the global north? Speaker 4: That's exactly the case. And that's our argument for why we in the global south should pursue zero weeks. No, we are seeing cities in America go bankrupt because of their investments in waste energy and incineration. We are seeing countries in Europe, uh, scaling down their incineration. Uh, but the problem with incineration is that because of the cost of investing in it, um, it's, you, you're locked down for, for the next 20, 30 or 50 years. So there's no incentive for you to reduce your waste, to redesign your systems, to reduce your waste. So, uh, that is what we've been telling cities and committees in Asia, is that before we're locked down, no, we don't have to repeat the same mistakes that, um, Europe or, or the US is doing. Unfortunately, as Steve mentioned, Japan has been all out on incineration. It has not been recognizing it as a mistake, both from a climate perspective. Speaker 4: But, um, Jason, what's interesting is that for Indonesia, for example, just to call, just to probably bring this to the attention of your European listeners, no, Europe has, uh, recognized that, um, inc. Generation and waste to energy is not a circular solution. Uh, and many countries have committed to scaling down their, uh, incineration, uh, investments. Unfortunately, what it means is that European companies are now going to Southeast Asia to sell their technology who are selling incinerator in Indonesia. It's a Danish, it's a Germans, you know, which is of course, again, like a clear example of double standard and waste colonialism in your countries where you Speaker 3: Oh, that's good Speaker 4: Climate. You are scaling down, facing out incineration. And what we are doing is investing, uh, in incineration, in, in Southeast Asia. If that is not waste colonialism, then I don't know what is That's Speaker 3: Waste colonialism. Yeah, waste colonialism is the word of the day. So in Australia, in Australia, for the last 10 years, we've had a very right wing climate denying, uh, government. Now it just changed. But right up to when they changed, we had waste colonialism because we had electric vehicles were not being supported financially. Our, our emission standards were reduced. So you could just have very polluting cars. So we were starting to see General Motors and Ford exporting all their combustion. The worst of the worst of their vehicles could be sold in Australia. And we're one of the last countries. Cause our emission standards are so bad. Now, that's just changed. But it was kind of sounded similar a little bit to what you were saying, where it's like these massive manufacturers like, well, where, where can we sell this stuff now? Oh, we'll just dump it in Indonesia. Um, wow. Speaker 2: Shocking. Hey, real quick, Jason, for the people who didn't listen to episode, uh, sorry, season one, episode three, where you define what a geier is. Yeah. That's also when you told me that platypus have like photoluminescent properties. But anyway, can you just in 30 seconds describe what a, a geier is so people can understand why that would be, have such an impact on a place like Indonesia or the Philippine? Speaker 3: So two things. Gaia is the name of, um, Lin's awesome organization, G a I A. And that is a word that talks about the world, is the original meaning a Gaia, which I think is also pronounced. Gaia is G Y r e. And I think there's six or seven gyres guys around the world. And they are plastic whirlpools of waste, and it's terrifying. Um, how big are they, Jason? The sizes of islands? They're huge and they're deep and they go, they're not just sitting on the surface, they go down. But the real problem with, it's not just Indonesia, A lot of these are countries in Southeast Asia. They're island, it's the world's waste just washes up on their shores. Correct me if I'm wrong for if I've completely massacred this story, just correct me, but I'm pretty sure that Yeah, I know in parts of Indonesia, they just wake up one day and they just have the world's saches and diapers sitting on their shores. That's my understanding. Fralin, correct me Speaker 4: <laugh>. That's that's so true. Uh, but it happens in two ways. One is the, uh, by the ash waves and the Chis. So we've seen that, you know, like products that sold in Indonesia and not sold in the Philippines. When we do beach clean ups and we do brand audits, we are seeing brands that are not being sold here. So that's one clear example. But in the case of Indonesia, we have another way. You know, if you go to Suraya, for example, uh, again, another example of waste colonialism and waste trade, you know, uh, there are communities there that have been rummaging through, uh, piles and piles of garbage that have been sent there. Know, and the guise of recycling Australia used to be, uh, a major culprit. You know, we've used to send your plastic waste to Indonesia and other Asian countries for recycling. But what you see in when we visit these committees are a lot of this are single use, no plastics that are not meant to be recycled sas, no multilayer packaging. Speaker 4: So that's another way where, uh, a place like Indonesia would see products that are not sold there. And they're coming from, uh, two places. But the first part that you've, you mentioned is very true. In fact, uh, there's an ongoing treaty negotiation right now in ua, you know, and they are talking about, uh, similar treaty that would address plastic and, uh, plastic pollution. And what was very interesting for me while following that in the news is that the, uh, island state of Tova has been very vocal in this, because they're saying that with their size, no, they're not supposed to get that much plastic. But being an island in, in, in, uh, in middle of the ocean, the amount of plastic that the waves have been sending their way is scandalous. And, and definitely these are not something that was used in the island. Uh, some have been traveling for several thousand miles, but they end up, um, in, in the island of al. So really plastic is an example of how waste doesn't, uh, respect boundary, you know, uh, it used in the US Australia or, or Europe, but then end up seeing it in, in, um, Africa or, or Asia sometimes via direct means of way street, but sometimes via the movement of the gyrus. Speaker 3: Got it. Got it. Um, I did wanna ask a question that you must frustrate you a little bit on, which is, um, which is when you look out into the world and you read the general media, is there a, is there a myth about waste and waste management that just infuriates you, that you'd like to just clarify for our listeners? Is there one big myth that you keep hearing, which is like, that's so wrong. Why do people think that? Speaker 4: I think that's a very hard question to answer, not because I don't have an answer, but because I have several that it would be hard to choose, uh, one, Speaker 3: This is a top 10. Give a throw, Speaker 2: Throw a few out. You don't even have to throw 'em out. Speaker 4: Throw a few. Um, one, um, when they say that waste or plastic pollution is a global south problem, know that it's countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, China that's been contributing to this, and that really is infuriating. No. Uh, there was a report about seven years ago that came out, which identified Asian countries as primary source of plastic pollution. Thankfully, the organization who supported, uh, bringing out a report rescinded the report. Um, so in case you, you haven't heard Ocean's Conservancy, who's been leading the ocean, the inter coast clean up, uh, put out the reports time the tide seven years ago, which helped promote this narrative around 10 Asian countries, no responsible for marine plastic pollution. And, um, two year, uh, last this year, you know, they've reached out to us to both apologize and, uh, resin the report know, because the basis and the recommendations that, uh, came out of the report, it's not, it's, they realize it's not something that they could stand by. Speaker 4: You know, the report, again, uh, push a narrative and also put forward false solutions like incineration to address marine plastic pollution. So what I've been telling people is that, yes, the issue of waste, the issue of marine plastic pollution might be very visible in my part of the world, in the Philippines and Indonesia. But the reality is that we are only seeing the symptoms. We're not seeing the causes. The causes are not here. These problems started in the boardroom of white privileged folks who made the decision to sell products and packaging in our part of the world, despite knowing that we don't have the infrastructure, we don't have the resources to manage them, that's the first problem. The second problem is even if we have the infrastructure and the resources to manage them, some of these products are actually by design, not meant to be managed. Speaker 4: Look at Saches, for example, Nestle Pro and Gamble, Unilever has been using this as one of their primary mode of delivering their products in, in Asia and Africa and Latin America. But it's not meant to be managed. How do you manage sa It's multilayer. It's single use, it's small size from the technological, uh, aspect of it. It, no, it, it's not meant to be recycled. Definitely not meant for reuse. No. And because of the size, waste pickers and waste workers don't even have the incentive to collect them because the system has no way of, of reusing them now. So that's the first problem that, um, the world is thinking that we are too poor to care. We are too poor to manage our waste. But I have hundreds of examples in the Philippines, in India and Indonesia that shows that when you give people the tools, they're actually able to manage our waste. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we have a, a city like San Fernando in the Philippines that was able to divert 80% of the waste, and that's higher than San Francisco. That's higher than the best cities in, in Europe. So given the right tools, we are able to manage our waste. However, some ways are beyond management by design. They are not managed. No. So that's the first problem, first misconception. The second misconception is that we can recycle our way out of plastic. No, for most of you, Speaker 4: You have your bins, you put your waste in your blue bins or whatever the color is for your recycling waste, and you assume that magically it gets recycled, you know? Well, I have news for you, what happens in most of those, uh, blue bins is that they're being sent to our part of the world for recycling. But the reality is, for the past 50 years, less than 10% of plastic has ever been recycled. Recycling is, has a rule, but it's not a silver bullet. It's not something that would solve all our waste. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, just because you're able to, you feel good. I've done my part, I've put it in my blue bins. Well, it doesn't mean that it actually gets recycled work with your local collection systems. Speaker 2: Yeah. Iro and I, I noticed, go ahead. I, I, that, that was awesome. I'm, what I'm trying to do is chime in on this issue of recycling, because one of the things I noticed on your website, the zero waste hierarchy 8.0, recycle and composting is actually the fourth thing on the list. It's below rethink, redesign, reduce and reuse. But I don't think that's the way a lot of people think of things. And at least in America, I think people think that the solution for the most part is recycling. Speaker 4: That's quite interesting. Um, Chris, because I think for all of us, we've memorized our three Rs in our early, early school year. Right? What, what we don't realize is that it actually is, there's a logic to the sequence. It's reduced, reuse, recycle. No. So even in the previous, um, three R system, recycle isn't top of mind. No. First we have to reduce and then reuse. And then we've, uh, we, we taught the pyramid and we've added rethink and redesign because it should come, uh, before mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we, we actually use the product, we rethink our relationship with the product, and as much as possible, we design it so that, um, it's meant to be reused or, um, later can be recycled. No. So yes, uh, very much so. Uh, it would be good for us to, uh, um, revisit our three Rs and now our five Rs and realize that recycle isn't the first answer. Speaker 4: And we've seen that. No, we've seen how that's laid out because again, the data showed us that in the past 50 years, less than 10% of plastic has, has ever been recycled. No. So, um, it, it's higher for other materials like, um, uh, the metals and the paper and the glass. No, but, uh, it would be a mistake to think that recycling could save us from this plastic pollution crisis. Recycling has a role, and waste pickers and waste workers around the world have been, um, contributing a lot to it and also have been helping them, um, earn and come from it. No, but, uh, the way recycling works right now, we have a lot of things to do to improve in it. And, um, but, uh, it would be foolish to assume that recycling alone, uh, would be solving our plastic crisis. So, just to finish, um, Jason's question a while ago, I think the third probably that, um, I'd like to highlight is that we can, um, we can get energy from waste again, uh, European companies, Japanese companies have been very creative in rebranding Inc. Speaker 4: Generation as waste to energy. No, but Chris, I'm not sure which part of Japan you've stayed. No. What was interesting was when I visited Tokyo Hill to see about, to learn about this facilities, and it was the, the vendors who have told me this now that in, uh, 19 or 2030s in metro Tokyo, they have about 19 incinerator there. And as you've said, their waste system is about what could be burned and what should not be burned. So they've been burning a lot of waste. But even in Japan, where, um, braining is almost a way of life, in those 19 incinerators in Tokyo, they produce less than 1% of their energy. So you are producing a lot of this greenhouse gas emissions. You are throwing away. You are burning away so much resources only to produce 1% of your energy. It just doesn't make sense. So it is a, uh, misconception. It is a lie to say that we can sustainably, um, get energy by burning our way. So those three Speaker 2: Things from, what are some of the things that seem to be working the best these days? What are some of the things that, that, uh, give us hope for the future? Cuz uh, you know, it's a little, it's it's a little dark in the environmental space these days. We're trying to lighten things up a little bit. What, what, what, what do we have to look forward to? Speaker 4: There is plenty of things to look forward to, and that's why we're celebrating the zero waste month in January, because zero waste is the solution. And it's, it's good to highlight that because it's happening in so many places now. Yes. With the recent coop with, uh, the climate emergency, with, uh, so many things happening right now, it sometimes is tempting to just feel disheartened and this solution. No, but the reality is that so many good things are happening, number one, no, uh, I think you, you've been involved in the environmental space for the past few years and, um, 10 years ago, the common narrative is, uh, what can we as individuals do? No, uh, it's about say, you know, to plastic bags, um, saying no to straws or, uh, disposable plastic cups, for example. And all of these individual actions are great, but what people have realized right now is that we need to have systemic shape, you know, and we need to call out, uh, the real accountables, the, the real people who are accountable and responsible for, for this, you know? Speaker 4: So over the past five years, there have been a recognition of the role of corporations and then calling them out and making them do their part. No, aside from just individual actions. So I think that is a clear sign of hope that we more and more are realizing we need to do systemic change. Corporations have to do their part, governments have to create national policies. And with the global plastic treaty happening right now, that is another clear example or a clear, um, sign of hope. No, uh, if you're able to do the tribe, if you're able to avoid the mistakes of the Paris Agreement and the climate negotiations that could actually, um, provide a clear path for art, for, for us, and really addressing the plastic pollution crisis, no, it's off the good start. It's recognizing the role of waste pickers and waste workers, recognizing that the problem with plastic is its entire life cycle, not only in the end, in the, uh, um, downstream, and it, it is focusing on, uh, reduction no, as, as, as a clear, uh, necessity to address, uh, plastic pollution. Speaker 4: Second, uh, or third rather, uh, that would give us hope is that many communities in Asia and in Africa and Latin America are accomplishing amazing things. You know, either in, uh, building zero away system or in piloting, uh, projects like, uh, refu and reuse, for example. Or in addressing problematic products like, uh, uh, sanitary pads and, uh, diapers. There's so many stories, uh, of these, um, uh, success stories of these efforts on the ground. And that is what we're hoping to bring out in the zero waste model, both to recognize the problem, but also not to just focus on the problem, but to highlight the, the work that people have been doing on this front, and to see where successes have been happening. Speaker 2: Oh, that's exciting for Island. Uh, Jason, I, I couldn't help but notice that Farland talked about the problem of diapers. Do you have anything to say about Speaker 3: That? None at all. I dunno what you're talking about. Um, oh, just my life's work. Um, yes, diapers are a big problem. And in the global south, it's, you know, in Indonesia, only 20% of babies are in diapers, but 1.5 million diapers go in the water every day. So, wow. It's the only growth left in town. If you're a big diaper company, you're looking at India and Indonesia, they're growing at about 13%. So it, they're coming. And so we feel like there's a race on to get in there and do systems change and figure out a different solution. Anyway, I could bang in for years about that, but I won't. What I do wanna do, Fralin, as we, um, get to, to the end of our conversation here is zero waste months coming up. What can our listeners do? How can they get activated? How do they, how do they participate? How do they help? Speaker 4: Yeah. Thank you again, both for, uh, having me here and talk to talk about this and for supporting the Zero Waste month. We're really excited about this. Um, one, uh, how people could help is to learn about the, um, and do our part. Yes, we need systemic change, but individual actions still matter. Know, for me, it's a matter of integrity. Um, so it's been, what, 10 years, 12 years since I've last used a single plastic tag or a drinking straw or plastic cups. It hasn't changed the world much, but, um, at least I'm able to go out corporations because I've been able to, to do it. I could tell McDonald's that you need to face out your straws and your, um, disposable plastic cup because it's actually possible. No. So there are still space for individual actions. Um, second, don't just stay with individual actions. Speaker 4: No. Work with your communities. So, uh, the zero waste month is different components. We have the, uh, zero Waste Film Festival. Um, we have the International Zero Waste at this conference. Um, and uh, lastly we have the, uh, zero Waste Festival, which is a global celebration of, uh, zero waste efforts around the world. No. So there are hundreds and hundreds of activities. Um, we are launching the website in, uh, the next week. And, uh, in this website, you can, uh, go to, um, check and see what activities are happening in your city, in your country, and join them. No. And if there's none, we encourage you to organize your own activity. The zero waste month is for everyone. Uh, what we would love to say is that zero waste is easier together. Organize your own activity. No, uh, do a garage sale, do a, a webinar, um, do, uh, uh, a campaign or, or, or whatever. Speaker 4: But, uh, the idea for the Zero Waste month is, it's a place where all of us could come together, do small things, do big things, and all of those would matter because, you know, uh, again, easy, uh, zero waste is easier than together. So, uh, the website for the festival where you could, um, check out all the activities around the world, um, that might be near you if you could join, is a festival that Zero waste.asia, but you could just follow all our socials. Um, we have, uh, zero Waste Asia on Facebook, Instagram, and uh, Twitter. And here you'll, uh, get updates, uh, on, uh, what's happening. No, but again, uh, for us, zero Waste Month is about a celebration. Uh, it's both a recognition of the problem that we have, but also, um, it's a recognition of the amazing work that is happening around the world to address the problem and to help show that while Zero Waste is our, our vision, our destination, the journey right now is amazing and there's amazing work that's happening. Speaker 4: No, and just to, um, highlight the theme for this year, uh, next year's, um, zero Waste Month is, uh, zero waste for Zero Emission. No. What we have been seeing is that zero waste is a powerful tool to address climate No. In different aspects of it. Uh, organics, for example, uh, methane is a major problem is, uh, uh, one thing that we are seeing and, and, and Jason has been an integral contributor to that know when, uh, diapers are, are collected and sent to landfills, they produce, um, methane, and that's a major greenhouse gas, um, that we, we are seeing. And if we're able to address diapers and organics, if we're able to take them out of landfills, know we're able to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. So that's one. Second is on plastics. Plastics is a climate contributor in its entire life cycle? No, the moment plastics is extracted, uh, and the moment plastic is current in incinerator and waste to energy facilities around the world, it is contributing greenhouse gases. So just with these two things, if we're able to divert organics from our landfills and compose them, and if we're able to reduce the amount of plastic that we extract and use and burn, we are doing significantly, uh, in addressing our, our, our climate problem. So that's why we're trying to focus on the intersection of waste and climate for, um, uh, the zero waste month, uh, 2020. Speaker 2: Excellent. Thank you so much, Fralin. That's Jason. Anything to say on the way Speaker 3: Out? No, just that I'm super excited to the January for the zero month, uh, that's coming up. The fact that it's now global is super exciting and I'm looking forward to checking out the socials and the new website to see how we can all get involved. So thanks so much for your time today. We really appreciate Speaker 2: It. Thank you, Fri Speaker 4: Thank you Chris. Thank you Jason. Speaker 5: Thank you Speaker 1: For joining us at the Recombobulator Lab with Chris Dominic and Jason Graham. How's next time?

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