|Kamilo Beach, Hawaii|
Ron Jones, of Green Builder Media poses the question of what our construction industry can do to help address this plastic waste problem. This isn’t an easy answer, and doesn’t fit tidily into any of the LEED categories. Plastics are pervasive and can be very beneficial, for example in the many uses in the medical world. The very fact that plastics don’t break down and last forever is a good thing in that application.
The solutions will come from an awareness and thinking. The first green step is typically “reduce” or avoidance. For example, while reusable shopping bags seem to be quite the rage at the grocery store, I seldom see people bring in their own totes to Home Depot. I wonder how that plays out in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles County and Edmunds, WA – where plastic bags have been banned?
|Peter Lewis and the "Byfusion" blocks|
|Plastics to Oil Conversion|
Awareness is the first step, and decisions based on the knowledge of the problem. Solutions are many: clean jobsites, keeping plastics (or any debris) from being picked up by the wind or water, using plastic only where it is appropriate and minimizing waste or re-using pieces on the next site. As Dr. Eriksen states, we live in the Throw-Away Society of the Plasticene Era, but I am encouraged that we are entering a new awareness of the relative role of humankind within the world’s ecosystem. Perhaps this millennium will the emergence of the Symbiotic Era.
Thanks for Thinking.