It is nice that the city of Missoula is adopting a Zero Waste Initiative. Unfortunately, waste is inherent to our economic principle of ever-increasing profits.
Equilibrium in such an economy is not just a matter of money-in, money-out; there must also be a demonstrable level of surplus money which increases on a steady basis.
In order for that to happen, an insatiable appetite must be generated to drive that economy. In such an environment any effort to reduce waste will amount to nothing more than a shift in the form of waste, not a reduction of waste.
Our economy cannot exist without generating enormous amounts of waste and as profits increase, so does waste. Zero waste initiatives won't have any effect on that.
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If sustainability is really the issue, we'll have to decide what it is we want to sustain and what we're willing to give up to accomplish that.