Over the last three days, I have learned a lot about supply chain management. I did not know much about supply chain management and how to handle the supply chain in a sustainable manner. I learned the difference between linear and circular supply chain and the different types of waste management that comes along with them. The videos we watched made me think a lot about where all of the waste goes and especially about how waste gets dumped onto third-world countries that don’t have the infrastructure to handle it. It isn’t fair to these countries- especially when plastic products are pushed onto unsuspecting communities who did not ask for this large company intervention.
I also have learned a lot about circular and linear economies and how that affects how waste and how this can be done sustainably if handled properly. In a circular economy, there are bits of products that are remanufactured and simply used to reduce waste overall by simply not creating as much- this is essentially a cradle-to-cradle approach. Cradle-to-grave mirrors the linear economy where there is a plan for all portions of materials from inception to disposal. The main goal of cradle-to-grave is to eliminate waste in a responsible way.
Cradle-to-Cradle is by far the more sustainable option and it goes hand in hand with industrial symbiosis which is where different industries communicate with one another and find ways to use parts of a material that do not normally get used. This is a great way to be sustainable because it finds creative ways to use all portions and create less waste. So many things are useful in ways not seen at first glance and it just takes a different view point to see there is a different and better way to do things that is helpful to the environment as a whole.
Being in Greece has given me a very different perspective on consumerism and how obsessed the US is with buying stuff and how influential it is to the rest of the world and how it can negatively affect smaller countries that cannot compete with the US on that level. We are offered so much immediate convenience in the US that other countries simply do not prioritize, These countries have so much history and creative ways to preserve their communities in sustainable and environmentally conscious ways. The EU is such an influential force is incredibly helpful in helping keep countries accountable for their actions. Hopefully, the US can take a page out of Europe’s book and prioritize ways to use the new three rs and be a sustainable world leader.