1.1.1 Reducing waste: Improving our lives

reducing waste

Greens are committed to improving our collective well-being. Greens recognize that we need new measurements of our societal health and well-being. Greens know that the notion of unending economic growth is a dangerous illusion. We can do far more with far less. The central driving principle of Green Economic Policy is to improve well-being by increasing efficiency and eliminating waste.

Our society has embedded wasteful practices at every turn. We waste raw materials, waste water and waste energy. In fact of all the energy used by Canadians, more than half is wasted. Green economic policies aim to improve the efficiency of resource and energy use by a factor of four.

In their seminal book, Factor Four, Ernst von Weizacker, Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins concluded:

“The amount of wealth extracted from one unit of natural resources can quadruple. Thus we can live twice as well – yet use half as much.”

There is abundant evidence to support this contention. Improvements in labour productivity drove economic growth after World War II. We must now repeat the exercise as we improve the efficiency of resource and energy use.