Circular Economy

Climate change is on everyone’s mind these days. How can it not be when it is 40 below in Chicago one day and the next week the temperature hovers in the 50s. The importance of taking care of our universe should be top priority from food waste to plastic that never disappears.

I am seeing more and more products devoted to recycling old materials to make furniture or fabrics or bottles. The circular economy isn’t new but the importance of thinking that way is now more important than ever.

I met someone the other night after a talk I gave who is committed to green creating single-use items that gradually decompose so that these products aren’t sitting in garbage piles for eternity. Her bags decompose in 180 days vs 1000 years. That’s smart.

Twelve years ago someone sent me a package of brownies from Vermont to get my take. The brownies came in a box loaded with those awful styrofoam pieces that keep things intact when shipping. There was a card that said that these styrofoam pieces should be tossed in the sink because they disinigrate with water. I couldn’t have been happier seeing those pieces melt in my sink. I told the founder to bag the brownies and make the styrofoam pieces but they were stuck on brownies. I told that story to the founder of Commit to Green, and she told me she’s already working on it.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    What’s the razor and what’s the blade story.And lesson to endlessly relearn.

  2. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Market forces aren’t going to work fast enough at this rate. We need to make non-dissolving styrofoam packaging illegal and provide grants, tax breaks, other incentives to produce the dissolving kind. Apply that to every great solution currently being innovated by well-intentioned entrepreneurs out there.

    1. Pointsandfigures

      actually, embracing the market works better and is sustainable over the long term. if you looked at energy markets, we’d build boatloads of nuclear plants to create clean cheap power for people.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Actually, there isn’t going to be a long-term if we don’t turn this around in very short order.

        1. Gotham Gal


        2. Pointsandfigures

          I’ll take the opposite side of that bet. We could do a Julian Simon bet.

          1. lauraglu

            Your gonna have to use your real name then.

          2. Pointsandfigures

            Easy to find. I am not Anon.

          3. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I’m not up for placing bets on my kids’ future. I prefer to go with de-risking it as much as possible and removing as many unpredictable variables as possible.Climate change won’t impact Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Ellison quite the same way it’ll impact my friends running a surf shop in Puerto Rico. So I’m not inclined to rely on the same forces that got us where we are today to get us out of it.

        3. awaldstein

          Agree.Free market dictums without long-term understanding of environmental and social lifeline responsibilities is in my opinion just bullshit. And yes I believe in free markets though not unbridled and not without responsibility

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen


  3. William Mougayar

    When we lived in Vancouver, built-in garbage incarcerators were standard as part of the kitchen sink. That lets you compact food rejects and helps in recycling / sorting garbage tremendously. I don’t understand why that practice is not more spread out.

    1. JLM

      .What is a garbage incarcerator?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. William Mougayar

        It connects to your sink and pulverizes organic materials and compacts it.

        1. JLM

          .OK a garbage disposal. It chops stuff up and sends it downstream. Most US building codes require them. You can get 2 HP ones.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. William Mougayar

            yup. i didn’t know how popular they were.

    2. panterosa,

      I liked the Zera food recycling unit but it hasn’t been made yet, and actually I’d like to know why

  4. panterosa,

    Kids need to learn enough science to solve for this, and hence why I am big on biomimicry.

  5. jason wright

    do the chemicals in the styrofoam end up in the water? out of sight is not necessarily out of mind (possibly quite literally when we next try a seafood dish). What i choose to do with my money is becoming far more impactful than what i might be allowed to do with my vote.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Down the drain. Organic