Garbage as a resource

Energy & Sustainability
Garbage as a resource

(Image via ABC)

Tom Szaky sells people worm feces in thrown-away bottles. At Treehugger, he writes:

Garbage is America’s #1 export and possibly the biggest raw material source we have.

Waste is also a new idea – probably no more than 100 years old. It is an idea that came about with the birth of complex polymers and consumerism (brought on by the fad for disposable products in the 1950s). If necessity breeds innovation, then we are long overdue to find innovative ways to solve the waste issue

If enough businesses begin to use this undervalued material the demand for garbage will skyrocket. As we all know, when demand goes up then supply goes down, which in the case of garbage, is a very good thing!

For more on building with “garbage,” check out:

6 thoughts on “Garbage as a resource

  1. SKR says:

    Waste is not a new concept. If it were, we wouldn’t be able to find small scale depositions of potshards from ancient times. Were previous generations more frugal with their possessions? Yes, but that is because they were poorer. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t do something about waste patterns, just that this statement sounds hyberbolic and dogmatic to me.

  2. mrfixitrick says:

    A technology now exists to transform garbage into electric power and building materials.

    A plasma furnace separates substances into burn-able gasses and glass-like solids. The burn-able gasses are run through a turbine/alternator which supplies the power to the plasma arc and excess electricity back to the grid. Little or no emissions from the turbine, and even the CO2 can be compressed and re-used.
    Heavy metals are either processed, or made inert in the glass-like material left.

    We need one now in all the garbage dumps…and a mini-version for every home!


  3. zhutzell says:

    From the article:
    “As we all know, when demand goes up then supply goes down, which in the case of garbage, is a very good thing!”

    Are we sure that we all know this? Because that is not how economics works. In reality, when demand for something goes up, price increases, and supply also increases in order to meet the greater demand and restore the market to equilibrium.

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Luke Iseman

Luke Iseman makes stuff, some of which works. He invites you to drive a bike for a living (, stop killing your garden (, and live in an off-grid shipping container (

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