Gov. Jay Inslee and First Spouse Trudi Inslee attend a panel at Sweden's Norrsken Foundation to discuss "green transitions" in Sweden's industrial and aviation sectors to move towards more sustainable practices and to reinvest in communities formerly dependent on extractive industries.
The effects of consumption increasingly confront humanity. About 27% of greenhouse gases come from vehicles and transportation. One million species are threatened with extinction. Garbage is swirling in gargantuan ocean patches. The planet has lost 11% of its tree cover since 2000.
The notion of a "circular economy" involves minimizing or repurposing waste. Innovative firms large and small are experimenting with circular methods to reduce waste and emissions, and even recapture profits. Gov. Jay Inslee's trade mission to the Nordic countries included visits to industrial sites practicing circular methods.
In Helsinki, Finland, excess heat generated by Microsoft servers warms water that is pumped into nearby homes for heat by the local utility. In Sweden, a research institute is testing an organic polymer within wood to create batteries. In Washington state, the state Department of Commerce’s new Industrial Symbiosis Program is helping firms find customers that could use their waste products.
When it comes to industrial waste, one company’s trash might just be another’s treasure.