The Green Deal
The Green Deal has raised the sights to make the EU sustainable. It is a massive and exciting challenge, and covers every aspect of our daily lives, how we eat, how we live, how we travel.
One element deserves more attention and that is consumer behaviors and preferences. We have already seen the dematerialization of the economy at a remarkable rate since the Club of Rome sent up warming flairs in the 70s.
The end point of sustainability will be the end of the consumer society and the waste makers as we know it. It will trend towards durability of devices, to consumption being more about functionality rather than material use. For instance if you live in a city and have Uber, you do not need a car.
You may in the end have a subscription to mobility and no longer the proud owner of a large capital item that depreciates in value faster than the rust can rot the chassis.
Clothing may be rented for a season and then returned to be recycled, and no longer stocked in the attic until the moths have predigested it before disposal.
Packaging will become non-toxic and fully recyclable, so food and drink will arrive in forms that have a value and are not thrown away. Examples exist such as deposits on soda bottles.
Ultimately the “tectonic” shift is going to be expressed in consumer preferences and behaviors that will do most to reduce waste and enhance recycling. The consumer is the key actor and needs to have the right incentives and choices.
Dirk Hudig – 27 January, 2020