ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Zero Waste and Zero Emissions: Sustainable Resource Management

Updated on June 13, 2014
Greasing the wheels of Sustainability with the Going Green Initiative.
Greasing the wheels of Sustainability with the Going Green Initiative. | Source

As the world’s population explodes exponentially, so to does our use of Earth’s precious natural resources. It is a fact that our natural resources are not infinite. We will eventually run out of oil, wood, clean water, and other resources if something isn’t done to curtail our out of control consumption. The concept of scarcity explains it very simply; our demands are infinite while our supply is not. So when we talk about sustainability, we are really talking about managing the use of our scarce resources in such a way that the future population can enjoy the same standard of living that we do today. True sustainability is equal to a zero emissions and a zero waste (Z-Squared) approach to the use of our natural resources [Eco-Cycle].

Zero Emissions

The concept of zero emissions means that the net outflow of emissions from a given system is zero. That is to say there are no negative impacts (from pollutants) to the environment creating by that system. The term emissions, as used here, is most often a reference to those nasty greenhouse gasses. In particular, we are talking about carbon dioxide. In terms of a system, this is defined as any man made process such as a manufacturing process or power generation.

Source

A great example of a zero emissions system is a new type of power plant that uses solid oxide fuel cells to convert natural gas into water and near pure carbon dioxide without actually burning it [Kraemer]. Another proposed method for power generation uses a series modified gas turbines to combust natural gas into water and carbon dioxide gas [Clean Energy Systems]. In both of these systems, the carbon dioxide is either sequestered or put to other uses. It must be noted here that almost all current and proposed methods to reach zero, or even negative, emissions includes the use of some form of carbon capture and storage (carbon sequestration).

Zero Waste

The concept of zero waste means that our manufacturing, delivery, and production processes use resources efficiently enough to prevent any material from entering a landfill. A zero waste process is also sometimes called a zero landfill process. Process managers, industrial engineers, and product designers must carefully choose the materials and methods that are used to create a product. All of the leftover materials generated from a production line must somehow be recycled or reused to prevent them from becoming part of a permanent waste pile. This includes thinking about the type, amount, and configuration of the product's packaging. Improvements in all of these areas can greatly decrease a system's waste and eventually bring it down to zero.

The idea of creating a manufacturing process or system that has a net waste of zero is not a new one. In fact, many great strides in this concept have already been made. This can most clearly be seen in today's automobile industry. For example, over the past ten years, the Honda Motor Corporation has reduced the amount of waste being sent to a landfill by over 97% for its North American manufacturing plants. Ten out of their fourteen facilities have already completed the zero waste objective. This is a major accomplishment for the automotive industry! It is even more interesting to note that they have done this without increasing the costs to the consumer.

Your money has more power than you think.
Your money has more power than you think. | Source

Z-Squared

When you combine the concepts of zero waste and zero emissions, the result is a truly sustainable way to manage our resources. Every person in this world has an important role to play in this. As a consumer, we a have choice on which products we buy and which companies we support. Sustainability is really in the hands of consumers, not the mega corporations or even big government. The best kind of vote is one made with a dollar bill; so be sure to think about what you are actually saying to the world when you make that purchase. As a voter, we also have the power to bring in the people necessary to make z-squared sustainability a reality. And finally, as business owners in the front lines of a consumer driven world, we have the responsibility of making this concept a reality. It is this kind of thinking that will ensure that our future children will have enough food to eat, fuel to burn, and materials to build with.

References & Resources:

Clean Energy Systems. Adapting Gas Turbines to Zero Emission Oxy-Fuel Power Plants. 2008. <http://www.cleanenergysystems.com/technical_papers/Adapting%20Gas%20Turbines%20to%20Zero%20Emission%20Oxy,%20Final.pdf>

Eco-Cycle. Eco-Cycle’s Ten Reasons to Recycle. 2006 <http://www.ecocycle.org/tidbits/ecocycletenreasons.pdf>

El-Hasan, Muhammed. 10 North American Honda Plants Reach Zero Waste Goal. July 14, 2011 <http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_18479959>

International Sustainable Development Foundation. Zero Waste Alliance. March 2011. <http://www.zerowaste.org/>

Kraemer, Susan. A Zero Emissions Natural Gas Plant? Scientific American. February 16, 2010. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-zero-emissions-natural-gas-plant-2010-02>

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)