If nature doesn’t need trash, neither do we

Natural systems evolve to be closed-loop and waste-free. Human ones should take a cue from nature. By Clare Miflin on Grist.

Now that summer has faded away so too has the persistent stench of garbage piled on sidewalks and left out in the sun in major cities across the country. But trash itself isn’t going anywhere.

Managing waste in our cities is a daunting environmental challenge. We dump our trash bags outside, attracting rats and degrading the quality of public space. We collect this refuse with noisy diesel trucks that pollute the air and endanger communities; and we burn or bury the garbage in distant places, contaminating land, water, and the atmosphere.

But waste is not present in nature; it is a human design flaw.