Economic dependence on waste is perpetuated by managing waste primarily as an addiction to disposal, "how can we get rid of all this junk?" The 'waste hierarchy' (reduce, reuse, recycle, then dispose) that has been available since 1975 (European Union, 2008) is commonly quoted but in practice the bulk of effort and funding provides for continuing long-term disposal to ecosystems (by landfill, waste-burning and pollution). The waste hierarchy is being used backwards and no nation has yet attempted to create the incentives for an economy that grows from the work done to end waste dumping and implement circular economics. This is achievable with the concept of 'precycling' (O'Rorke, 1988) originally used for public waste education. Precycling is applicable throughout an economy (Greyson, 2007) and may be understood as action taken to prepare for current resources to become future resources. The 'pre' prefix emphasises that this cannot be arranged after something becomes waste; it must be done beforehand. The scope of action extends far beyond recycling, to creating the economic, social and ecological conditions for all resources to remain of use to people or nature. —
James Greyson on “precycling”. An interesting concept — how have the products we use been prepared to be wasted? It strikes me that most products are designed with their use in mind, but rarely is the entire product lifecycle part of the design discussion.
Greyson published a paper on precycling insurance as an economic mechanism to facilitate this behaviour.