A culture of wasteful consumption has created an open-ended cycle of goods produced from finite natural resources and non-degradable byproducts. The method of extraction for these raw materials takes up a great amount of energy and precious resources, which negatively impact our surrounding environment. When we consider that most of these raw materials can be recycled saving in resources and environmental impact, why are we still so heavily reliant on raw material?
With only a small percentage of products finding their way to recycling plants, a majority of products are discarded improperly, unnecessarily contributing to landfill and reeking havoc on our oceans and natural environment (see Fig 1). This is also giving false pretense to consumers who often believe the material will go back into manufacturing.
Majority of industry currently views discarded raw materials, as a difficult resource to inject back into production. Equating the use of recycled materials to a costly and timely task that reduces product quality and consistency. Manufacturing companies are therefore perpetuating wasteful consumerism by not making products with recycled materials and designing for single use.
"Can post-consumer waste create a commercially viable product that will sequester the material in continual recycling?"