The Butterfly Effect refers to how one infinitesimal action can have a huge effect on the course of a much larger event. The example I’ve heard in reference to this theory (it may be closer to fact than theory) is that the effects of a butterfly in Thailand flapping its wings could determine the severity of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Of course it’s probably impossible to prove how a butterfly could affect climatic conditions halfway around the world, but I believe that change is brought about with one small action.
Another way of looking at The Butterfly Effect is not by how one small action could change everything but rather how changing one small item can change everything, and by “small” item I’m referring to something that’s practically invisible to us because we take that item for granted.
Wood pallets are a product of a mechanized world. They’re a universal device that allows the shipment of goods to be expedited. And they’re an outdated solution to our 21st century society. Here are some of the not-so well known facts about wood pallets (as listed on this article from the World Changing website):
– Approximately 40% of hardwoods harvested within the U.S. is for wood pallets
– They must be fumigated before shipping internationally
– One quarter of all wood residing in landfills are wood pallets
– The recycling rate for wood pallets is about 10%
– About 2/3 of wood pallets are used only once before being discarded
One product that appears to be a viable alternative to the wood pallet is a product developed by EcoDuro called Engineered Paper Pallets. Another option for integrating the wood pallets that already exist is to build a house (or maybe a shed).
I’d like to think that we as a society are at the end of the “one and done” culture that bred our disposable mindset. I feel like a fool every time I purchase a product where the packaging is discarded once the product is removed, especially when the packaging is perfectly fine to be reused. A lot of energy, time, and resources went into creating that packaging just so that its life cycle can be a few minutes once purchased.
There are a lot of disposable products that can no longer be allowed to exist. The greatest asset these items provide is the opportunity to create something that works better and is aligned with our 21st century society. There are so many other products like wood pallets that are begging for change. Just look around. There’s a potential fortune to be made for making what seems to be an insignificant item better.