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Beyond just being me, I am a wife, mother and entrepreneur constantly on the hunt for new ideas on how to live my best life. Visit me at www.clementsinteriors.com.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One Man's Trash...

I'm struck by an article I found in Canadian Interiors Magazine.

Upon first read, I was impressed by the ingenuity and sheer strength of intent that InterfaceFLOR demonstrates in the pursuit of recycling post consumer waste or in their words "trash-industrial sludge" into a building material that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and best of all, eco-friendly.  My read on the article was initially purely from a designers perspective, and I gave kudos to any company who could recycle waste to make it useful.

As mentioned in my recent column in The Auroran, most of today's consumers are at least moderately concerned about knowingly adding to the problems facing our community landfills, and to that end are generally supportive of any efforts to recycle and reuse any material possible. 

To InterfaceFLOR's credit, they appear to be making every effort to meet their mission of reaching "a zero environmental footprint by 2020."  Moreover, they are "...a great example of how ingeniously this refuse can be reinvented into something highly functional, deceptively luxurious and beautiful..."

What I find interesting and perhaps ironic about all efforts made to recycle and reuse post consumer goods is that we find ourselves in 2012 trying to clean up the environmental mess we've created by processing and sanitizing our waste, making it somehow palatable to our sensitive constitutions while many countries (third world or otherwise) are reusing, let's just call it what it isgarbage in ways that most first world countries cannot even imagine.  Around the world and indeed right here in our own backyard, there are communities of people living in it, building their shacks with it, putting their underpaid children to work on piles of it and dare I say, eating it if necessary.

Consider for a moment the often controversial 'dumpster divers.'  According to reports, it's a growing trend in the United States and has for many become an acceptable and economically feasible way to procure food, whether for reasons of necessity or just because the habit of dumping perfectly good food is unreasonable.  By all accounts 'dumpster diving' points a decidedly judgemental finger at our propensity to waste what many find to be food suitable for consumption.  Can you imagine if an educated, gainfully employed but habitual dumpster diver born and raised in our society finds the food we waste palatable, the impact that same "waste" might have in affecting the lives of those in our world who are less fortunate?    

What particularly fascinates me is the wide range of acceptability within communities and across borders regarding product and food quality.  Perhaps if we North American's would widen our quality tolerance for the food, goods and services we purchase, we would find our landfills a little less crowded.

For me, and probably for the movers and shakers at InterfaceFLOR, the phrase "One man's trash is another man's treasure" has never been so telling.



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