#147: Waste Recycling Redefined


Waste is a resource and the pollution that it causes is not only avoidable. If we treat waste as a resource it can lead to a better life for the people and the planet. — Dr. Shannon Bouton

Our waste is polluting the world. It’s poisoning our air, land, and water.

However, there are many people working on amazing solutions.

On today’s episode of Sustainable, I talk about the work McKinsey.org is doing to have a lasting and substantial impact on complex social challenges with Dr Shannon Bouton.

Shannon is the Global Executive Director of the Sustainable Communities Program at McKinsey.org, a charitable organization, founded by McKinsey & Company to have lasting and substantial impact on complex social challenges.

Before this, she worked at McKinsey & Co for 12 years as the Chief Operating Officer of the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.  

With a background in field biology, Shannon has served as an environmental consultant to grassroots non-profits in the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, and with the Army Corp of Engineers in the Florida Everglades.   

Her Ph.D is in natural resources and the environment and Shannon writes on topics such as sustainability, innovation and urban mobility.

Shannon shares how McKinsey.org helps create a positive impact for our environment. She talks about how to best address sustainability challenges that cities face around the globe. She also shares the actions we can take to reduce waste and how we can recycle both plastic and organic waste.

In this episode you will learn:
  • The inspiration behind McKinsey & Company in creating a non-profit
  • How Shannon ended up getting involved in sustainability and waste management work
  • The key differences in terms of how McKinsey.org is working vs that of McKinsey & Company
  • Sustainable community projects in Argentina and Bali and their waste problem
  • Generating revenue out of waste and recyclables to bring value back to communities
  • Creating instability in the market of recyclables through market-driven mechanisms
  • The unstable price and demand for recyclables
  • Key learnings from creating stability within the marketplace for waste
  • How waste and recycling has become a public health issue
  • The advancement of technology and the importance of scaling and scaling fast
  • Practicing self-care and preventing burnout
  • The discrimination against different parts of society especially for people who live in unknown areas
  • How sustainability and nature impacted and influenced Shannon’s life and work

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