The Zero Waste strategy is the next logical step to increase levels of productivity and efficiency. First we had Zero Defects (Total Quality Management), reducing the number of defects. Second came the concept of Zero Inventory (Just-In-Time Management), reducing inventory cost in the supply chain. This was soon followed by Zero Defections (Total Customer Satisfaction) improving customer loyalty. The last improvement strategy has been Zero Accidents (Total Health and Safety Management) focussing on increasing the quality of workers. All these mentioned four Zero strategies are aimed on increasing efficiency and improving process to reduce costs in operations and supply chain.
There is fourth evolutionary step possible, Zero Waste & Emissions (Total Productivity of Materials). This strategy views all input and output streams (nutrients and minerals) as value added products. It couples efficiency with effectiveness reducing operational costs per unit and as such eliminating any pollution throughout the process. Non used products (waste) are a cost, so it is better to use them all wisely. [Reference]
The Zero Waste Strategy
The Zero Waste & Emission strategy iterates along three cycles, Biology, Manufacturing and Ecology. Our industrial processes are based on inputs from Biological (from nature derived) products, an output Manufacturing process (to make what we need) and natural conversion principles guided by Ecological (the planetary boundaries of our spaceship) logic. These three cycles combined create zero waste economic business models. These business models are able to valorise what is available into cascading regenerative systems which are good for humans, nature and business.
The Biological Cycle is the nutrient and mineral cycle cultivated by the natural processes of our spaceship. The nutrients and minerals are the input of which life depends upon for food, clean water, biodegradable chemicals and building blocks for materials. The Biological cycle can be split into two parts, an upstream and downstream process part. Upstream is where the nutrients and minerals (like crops or minerals) are cultivated by farmers. Downstream is the process where these inputs are converted into outputs, products and by-products. The biological cycle requires that what is taken from the land is balanced with what is brought back.
Natural processes are effective integrated recycling and metabolic systems generating new valorisation opportunities (by cascading nutrients) from their output systems, with focus on Biology & Chemistry. A large biodiversity is one of the outcomes where all life interacts in a systemic web of life. It is therefore logical the biological cycle is a systemic cycle where the downstream and upstream part are interconnected for securing the next generation of crops.
The Manufacturing Cycle is the human fabrication process transforming inputs (nutrients and minerals) into outputs (products). The fabrication process is an efficient system of (re)using of water, material, energy and emissions to maximize the use of its inputs. The combination of both (efficient and effectiveness) results in constant cascading of the minerals and nutrients into value added products and as such effectuate the maximum possible outputs.
The zero waste economic business models are centered on Economics of Scope instead of Economics of Scale. Combining efficiency with effectiveness leads to value chains where all generated (by)products and emissions are converted into value added outputs. The focus on scope ensures using design principles of nature (Bionics or Biomimicry) to emulate the physics and chemistry.
For instance cooling water can be cooled again applying a vortex system and gravity. Water in a vortex naturally moves towards its natural state of 4degrees Celsius and is able to lose its heat in the process.
The Ecological Cycle is the system of our Spaceship functioning within our planetary boundaries. The cycle is defined by the basic laws and principles of Physics, Biology and Chemistry. They function primary under room Temperature, ambient pressure, water as solvent and use no toxins alien to our spaceship. The systems function effectively when they have access to clean water, healthy soil, healthy food and cheap energy sources.
Zero Waste Solutions
The most effective and profitable economic business system are found in the intersection of the three cycles (Biological, Manufacturing and Ecology). These Zero Waste Solutions are based on Zero Waste and Emissions strategies generation no waste and constantly cascade what is locally available provided by the three cycles within the ecologic planetary systemic boundaries.