Guest Post - The End of Garbage

Aug 26, 2014 4:40 PM ET

In nature, nothing goes to waste. The excrement of one species (forgive me if you are reading over breakfast) becomes food for another.

Why can’t we design the industrial economy to be like nature?

This isn’t a new idea. During the American Revolution, iron pots were melted down to make armaments. I take notes with a pen made out of recycled bottles. The gospel of “natural capitalism” or “cradle to cradle” has been spread by  such pioneering environmental thinkers as Paul Hawken and Bill McDonough.

Lately, though, I’m pleased to report, the idea of eliminating waste is gaining traction among big global companies, which increasingly are talking about — and acting to bring about — what is called the circular economy.

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Marc Gunther is a veteran journalistspeaker, and writer whose focus is business and sustainability.

Marc is editor at large of Guardian Sustainable Business US and a contributor at FORTUNEmagazine. He’s also a husband and father, a lover of the outdoors and a marathon runner.