I think the root cause for issues of waste accumulation is a very determined approach to continuous production. The problem lies in the fact that we consider waste to be outside of the systems cycle. It is either considered useless or nowadays used as a commodity instead of thinking of integrating it in the ecosystem.
Cradle to Cradle as a process maximizes use of a material by identifying biological and technical nutrients. It is an important distinction to call them nutrients and not waste because every material discarded from the cycle has the potential of feeding another cycle. If I were to trace the pattern, it would be a generative algorithm which continuously keeps on getting fed and growing. Also like every other cycle, I think we have lost control or touch on the mechanisms of systems cycle in nature. Waste produced now cannot be reused or refilled into nature’s processes because it has been manipulated in such a way that renders it useless and in most cases contaminated/hazardous.
Landfills today are more of a way to shun away the huge quantities of waste just because maybe we do not want to see the huge amount of waste we are producing each day. It has no thought behind replenishing the soil, or has any foresight to it. Waste could be equated to food earlier, but I think today people are not knowledgeable of it. It is a literal interpretation of waste. I think probably it is our culture that has to be blamed. We measure everything by its superficial longevity (the stuff that we can see – expiry dates; recyclable vs non-recyclable materials; degradable vs non-degradable), instead when the solution should be to think of methods to increase longevity. I think it is absolutely fine to categorize waste and maybe it is the first mini step but one needs to be smarter; much more intelligent about it.
McDonough, William, and Michael Braungart. 2009. Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. London: Vintage. – Pg. 92