Failed Systems Create Waste

While shopping at my local grocery store this week, I was confronted by a member of TESCO’s staff who would not accept naked fruit. Everything had to be bagged to be weighed. When I mentioned the fact that he wasn’t thinking about the environment, he said: “only foreigners care about the environment.”

It was one of many failed systems.

One that Ray Anderson, former CEO of Interface flooring, addresses in his book Confession of a Radical Industrialist:

[..] And it was more than just one industry’s fault, too. It was the entire linear, take-make-waste industrial system. Fundamentally, it was a way of thinking about the world that assumed unlimited resources, unlimited energy, and unlimited space. It assumes sources that were able to provide whatever we wanted, and sinks (the oceans, the air, the land) able to absorb whatever poison we might send its way.

At TESCO, the failure(s) were a bit different in that (at the very fundamental level) began with a process that requires waste (plastic bags) for it to function (weighing fruit and veg). A system whereby a firm (in this case TESCO) for one reason or another does not consider this a problem (environmentally or financially). In which the employees themselves are neither trained nor empowered, and consumers are left with the burden to either accept the “policy” or go to another store and engage in another broken process.

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