Detritivores are creatures that consume decaying matter. Detritivore designs use abundant waste products to make scalable technology solutions. Unlike loftier concepts of zero-waste design such as Cradle to Cradle, Detritivore design accepts that the world is already loaded with discarded and broken technology. Detritivore designers need not create a recyclable or even non-toxic product, since the materials already exist — we merely try to squeeze out whatever functionality objects may have left.
The Public Lab Spectrometry Kit is a detritivore design. It consumes waste products and uses them to search for other, more dangerous wastes. Pipe cutoffs, obsolete webcams, and optical discs are sufficient to make a functioning spectrometer. The central component, the diffraction grating, is made from CDs and DVDs, disposable media with extremely precise grooves. Long after the media written onto these discs decays into illegibility, they will still function as diffraction gratings, splitting light into a rainbow that can be quantified and used for material identification.
(via ‘Detritivore’ Design: How to Use Trash to Create Scalable Tech Solutions- Mathew Lippincott | Discard Studies)
Over the past two decades governments around the world have been experimenting with a new strategy for managing waste. By making producers responsible for their products when they become wastes, policy makers seek to significantly increase the recycling-and recyclability-of computers, packaging, automobiles, and household hazardous wastes such as batteries, used oil motor, and leftover paint-and save money in the process.
This strategy, known as extended producer responsibility (EPR), is the subject of a new special feature in Yale University’s Journal of Industrial Ecology. The special feature examines the use of EPR across diverse scales-from countries to provinces and states-and investigates work underway in the U.S., the European Union, Canada, China, Brazil and the State of Washington. The application of EPR to e-waste is a particular focus of the research in the special feature.
The Journal of Industrial Ecology is a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal, owned by Yale University, published by Wiley-Blackwell and headquartered at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Articles in the special feature are freely downloadable for a limited time at: http://jie.yale.edu/EPR
(via Shifting the Burden of Recycling: Yale Journal Explores the State of Extended Producer Responsibility | Discard Studies)
A number of converted shipping containers are going to be offered as temporary accommodation for homeless people in Brighton, UK. Planning permission has been secured by the Brighton Housing Trust for five years to help ease the city’s housing need.
BBC News reports that the thirty six studio homes, which will be linked by walkways, are going to be installed in a former scrap metal yard.
More: Shipping Containers Repurposed To House The Homeless | Design on GOOD
Our archive of container-related projects is here.
The stone cutting industry in Mahallat, Iran is a big business - in fact, it accounts for almost half the city’s economy. Unfortunately, the cutting process produces a lot of wasted stone that can’t be used. Tehran-based Architecture by Collective Terrain wanted to do make use of this “unusable” stone, so they built an apartment building out of the remains. Apartment No. 1 in downtown Mahallat is a contemporary stone building with eight 3-bedroom apartments set atop a street-level retail space.
Last week in my Design Observer guise I wrote about a project that I think will interest Unconsumption readers: Jill Stoll’s “Random Acts of Mail Art” (artisinalpostcards.tumblr.com):
Based in New Orleans, she described herself as “a disenchanted artist,” who loves the process of making more than the process of, say, hustling for gallery contacts. (She has, however, shown work in a variety of media at a variety of venues.) The postcard collages are partly a way of finding creative uses for materials that had accumulated in her studio — photos, magazines, various paper types, and “abandoned art projects” of past students. “Artists are hoarders,” she explains.
Surely this is a useful creative challenge for Stoll. But her quiet project is also a lovely example of what I’ve previously referred to as “dancing about ruins:” transforming undervalued, easily overlooked materials at hand — and here I would include not just her leftover magazines and the like, but the lately-unloved postal system, too — into something striking, special, memorable.
If you want to receive one of Stoll’s repurposed-material cards, or have someone else receive one, go here.
The rest of my D.O. piece is here: Jill Stoll combines artistic ritual, creative reuse, and the postal service as connector.: Observatory: Design Observer
Many of us have all but ditched physical media like CDs and records.
But that doesn’t mean your physical media can’t be repurposed, as this creative San Francisco resident, captured by writer and editor (and Wired Angry Nerd) Chris Baker on Instagram, shows.In addition to potentially revealing the owner’s musical tastes, it looks like the CDs also double as reflectors for added visibility.
Guitar designer and builder Jimmy DiResta has turned an AK-47 assault rifle into a completely functional guitar for rapper Wyclef Jean.
(via AK-47 Assault Rifle Turned Into a Functional Golden Guitar)
We’ve covered lots of repurposing and reuse projects involving speakers, but agree that “Hamburg’s Soundpauli company has [its] own quirky aesthetic.”
More here: More Repurposed Speakers: Soundpauli - Core77