- 12:20 pm - Sat, Oct 18, 2014
- 53 notes
Plastic bottles lend themselves to an elegant policy trick that can greatly reduce the environmental impact of all that guzzling. You might even have it where you live: It’s called a bottle bill.
Bottle bills require beverage retailers to collect a five-cent (or more) deposit on every recyclable bottle sold. The deposit is returned to the consumer when they return the bottle. Ten states, including California, Michigan and Massachusetts, currently have bottle bills in place.
Adding that tiny deposit—that little system of reward for those who consume responsibly—can have an enormous environmental impact. States with bottle bills recycle beverage containers at almost three times the rate of states that do not. In Michigan, which has the highest deposit rate in the nation (10 cents), the bottle bill has been credited with reducing total waste 6 to 8 percent a year.
More: How to Cap Plastic Bottle Waste
- 3:40 pm - Sat, Aug 23, 2014
- 203 notes
Here’s a fascinating — if not exactly uplifting — look at the economics, business, and design strategies that led to our throwaway culture came about: Modern Waste is an Economic Strategy « Discard Studies:
About one third of MSW [municipal solid waste] —food scraps, and to a debatable extent, yard trimmings—are present in pre-modern waste.
The rest of modern MSW are disposables: paper, plastics, aluminum, textiles, and packaging.[i] In 1956, Lloyd Stouffer, editor of Modern Packaging Inc., famously (and controversially at the time) declared: “The future of plastics is in the trash can” (Stouffer 1963: 1).
Stouffer’s idea addressed an emerging problem for industry. Products tended to be durable, easy to fix, and limited in variation (such as color or style). With this mode of design, markets were quickly saturating (Packard 1960; Cohen 2003). Opportunities for growth, and thus profit, were rapidly diminishing, particularly after America’s Great Depression and the two World Wars, where an ethos of preservation, reuse, and frugality was cultivated.
In response, industry intervened on a material level and developed disposability through planned obsolescence, single-use items, cheap materials, throw-away packaging, fashion, and conspicuous consumption. These changes were supported by a regimen of advertising that telegraphed industrial principals of value into the social realm, suggesting the difference between durable and disposable, esteemed and taboo.
American industry designed a shift in values that circulated goods through, rather than into, the consumer realm. The truism that humans are inherently wasteful came into being at a particular time and place, by design.
There’s a ton of great info in this piece, it really is a good read. The over-arching point is that the shifts are so massive that we can’t solve them via individual behavior-change (recycling, etc.) alone; we need policy-level solutions.
I half-agree: Yes, we need policy-level solutions, but we’re more likely to get there by way of individual-level action, behavior change, and engagement. Which is what this site encourages.
- 12:20 pm - Fri, Aug 22, 2014
- 113 notes
Food waste, by production stage and food type Click to see larger image. Katie Peek, via.
How The World Wastes Food, on Popular Science.
Every year, the planet loses nearly a third of its food—a staggering 1.4 billion tons. That’s according to a 2011 United Nations study that assessed food networks in 152 countries. The researchers’ results reveal where in the food-supply chain farmers, engineers, and consumers might more effectively get comestibles into mouths.
- 12:20 pm - Tue, Aug 12, 2014
- 126 notes
In order to improve the quality of the water and the riverbeds at the same time, the local community [In Jakarta] and many volunteers collected waste of the Ciliwung River and re-used it to strengthen and broaden the riverbeds where people are living.
This way frequent floods are prevented from destroying the lives of the poor people — quite an inventive way of dealing with trash. Meanwhile, many other movements have emerged and organizations are involved with the revitalization of the living environment alongside the river.
Read more here: Building On Trash In Jakarta — Pop-Up City
- 11:37 am - Mon, Mar 17, 2014
- 63 notes
A groundbreaking and innovative project is set to tackle issues of agricultural waste and lack of housing in Africa.
Professor of Architecture and Design Theory Bachelor Architecture Charles Job has collaborated with the Bern University of Applied Arts to acquire a research project that aims to develop building materials from agricultural waste products for affordable housing in Nigeria.
The ultimate goal of the research project is to provide a series of prototype case study houses that are informed by local building traditions and can be integrated into the local community. With this goal in mind, the research project aims to use locally-sourced agricultural waste materials such as corn cobs, rice husks and groundnut shells as a sustainable alternative to cement, as well as a more cost-effective alternative to imported timber products for the construction of low-cost houses. Using these materials further reduces the pollution released by the incarnation of corn, rice and groundnut residue.
The “Occasional Table” is the first prototype on which Jobs hopes to continue and extend the research project. The tables are simple interlocking shapes, each made from a different recycled agricultural waste material. The tabletops are attached to the supporting legs with strong magnets to simplify production, transport and self-assembly. The table reveals how the material can be applied to various designs including walls for low-cost housing.
More: Urban possibilities | Design Indaba
- 12:20 pm - Thu, Sep 26, 2013
- 114 notes
Right now we’re working on the Waste Project, with tables and chairs and other things that we make from waste material left over from our own production. This project started in 2000, but we’re still working on it on many different levels.
One of the new things is a Waste Waste 40x40 series—so it’s made of the waste of the Waste Project. Instead of the leftovers determining the size and the image of the product, we cut everything down to 40-by-40-millimeter blocks.
It’s a totally different approaching to using the leftovers, and we’re using almost everything because it’s a very small size. And that provides beautiful new objects.
(via Piet Hein Eek on Making Furniture from Waste, Building the Perfect Work Environment, and Why Designers Should Be Generalists - Core77)