Mission Zero Waste

Mission Zero Waste is the first step on our journey, our Quest to thrive as an earth-savvy, bio-wise town.

So how does a truly ‘bio-wise’ system function in terms of resources and waste. Here the forest is both our “mentor and our measure”. In a forest:
all waste is ‘food’ for something else i.e. nothing is wasted, all waste is a resource
resources are not used wastefully i.e. nature sips energy, sips water and shaves material use i.e. uses the least amount of materials and resources to get the job done efficiently AND effectively
multi-functionality is built into every design & every process and context is everything
fossil fuels are not required – the system is powered by current solar energy and individual organisms frequently tap into freely available physical forces to minimize their energy requirements
waste is upcycled, thereby creating more value and opportunity
* everything is designed for on-site disassembly at the end of its usefulness
* things operate in cycles – extract, transform and discard is NOT sustainable, but extract, transform, disassemble, put back, restore is
* processes tap into AND contribute to planetary cycles – e.g. the water cycle, nutrient cycles, atmospheric cycles
* all organisms are attuned AND responsive to change, adapting over the short term, evolving over the long term
* all waste is dealt with on a localised, decentralised and distributed basis
* contrary to popular belief, colloboration, partnerships, cooperation and sharing of territory and resources is the name of the game, not cut-throat competition;
self-organisation is the way to go
individual responsibility and meeting of own needs is the secret to optimized efficiency
* every organism, while meeting its own needs, is contributing to maintaining the conditions that sustain life e.g. helping to clean the air, clean water, ‘plant and seed the rain’, create soil, prevent erosion

All these principles, strategies, patterns and processes would appear to be guided by a few over-riding objectives: WASTE NOTHING, GIVE BACK AND ADAPT. Makes sense when you are on closed system, finite-sized planet where there are no imports and exports (aside from sunlight and heat respectively) and where change is the only constant. So it is fitting that our Mission Zero Waste is also driven from a particular mindset of a)wasting nothing ; b)actively regenerating and restoring AND c) viewing change and respecting limits as opportunities not obstacles.

When you consider that in a mature ecosystem like a forest there is no waste and no unemployment why would we not turn to it as our measure and our mentor and seek to emulate its patterns, processes and strategies? Mature ecosystems have evolved a functional wisdom over some 3.8 billion years and the result is a system that works, that is appropriate and that lasts.

Beetle on its own with icons

BioWise’s Mission Zero Waste is as much about water, energy and space as it is about solid waste. Mission Zero Waste involves:

1. Not wasting any of our water; turning waste water (stormwater and greywater) into a resource; recharging groundwater supplies; cleaning water

2. Not wasting electricity while also tapping into freely available energy sources, and converting waste energy into a resource

3. Not wasting any of the space we have – using space wisely to grow food, harvest rain, store rain, regulate temperature, harvest energy, promote biodiversity, promote a healthy lifestyle by developing pedestrian and cycles lanes

4. Not wasting any of our resources; turning all waste into a resource here in Knysna; working towards not sending any of our waste outside of our borders; using the least amount of materials; creating greater value through upcycling and cascading nutrients and materials