By adopting a concept of a triple bottom line in our business practices, we aim to protect:
People: All individuals are treated fairly. No group is harmed, exploited, or unequally burdened by business pursuits.
Planet: The Earth’s natural resources (including the ecology, plants, or wildlife species) are not adversely impacted.
Profit: Fiscal or economic successes are not limited or unattainable by the pursuit of the other two values.
This concept is especially relevant in the growing global markets and developing industries in today’s society.
The Sandestin Declaration: 9 Principles of Green Engineering*
- Engineer processes and products holistically, use systems analysis, and integrate environmental impact assessment tools.
- Conserve and improve natural ecosystems while protecting human health and well-being.
- Use life-cycle thinking in all engineering activities.
- Ensure that all material and energy inputs and outputs are as inherently safe and benign as possible.
- Minimize depletion of natural resources.
- Strive to prevent waste.
- Develop and apply engineering solutions, while being cognizant of local geography, aspirations, and cultures.
- Create engineering solutions beyond current or dominant technologies; improve, innovate, and invent (technologies) to achieve sustainability.
- Actively engage communities and stakeholders in development of engineering solutions.
Reduce. Do I really need that?
Reuse. Can I or someone else make use of it in a different way?
Recycle. Can the materials be made into something new?
This rule is part of the waste hierarchy which is a process used to protect the environment and conserve resources through a priority approach. The aim is to get the most practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste. This approach also triggers other positive externalities such as resource savings, pollution reduction, and avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions, development of sustainable technologies and creation of jobs.
Waste reduction and waste prevention is all about reducing waste at the source. In terms of waste management, it is always the best option.
Waste is often due to the inefficient use of resources or bad planning. For example, buying food we don’t need on impulse or because there’s a special offer and then wasting it.
Reuse means using a product more than once, either for the same purpose (for example returnable glass milk bottles) or for a different purpose (such as old jam jars for food storage). Repairing products, selling them on or donating them to charity/community groups is also reusing!
It is preferable to recycling because the item does not need to be re-processed before it can be used again which saves both money and reduces the environmental impact.
Recycling is a way to manage waste materials once they have been generated if they can’t be reused. It prevents waste from being sent to landfill and makes waste into new goods or products.
Effective recycling requires us to separate waste according to different materials so that they can be recycled efficiently.
This can involve turning the old material into a new version of the same thing or into something completely different. For example, used glass bottles can be recycled into new bottles or they can be recycled road materials for use in construction projects.
A 4th R: Recover?