Blog #4

In week five of lecture, we spoke about the waste=Food concept. There are two concepts along with this, one is called cradle to cradle, and the other is known as cradle to grave. Cradle to grave is the traditional production-consumption cycle that we use today. It is the idea that products are ours to experience until we are done using them and they are disposed. The concept of cradle to cradle is that a product is designed to function efficiently while at the same time designed in such a way that it can be broken down at the end of its lifecycle and that every part can either be upcycled or repurposed. We as a civilization have to get rid of the cradle to grave concept because it allows for the idea that the waste from our products does not have a harmful impact. Waste has to be eliminated completely if humans are going to adapt to the cradle-to-cradle system. There are three concepts or tenets that follow the cradle-to-cradle system. They are to one, use current solar income, two is to celebrate diversity, and three is that waste equals food. We spoke about how the concept from Industrial Ecology is similar because it states that we should use waste as a resource.

In waste equals food there are two metabolisms. There is a biological metabolism and a technological metabolism. Biological metabolism means that it is a sphere of natural processes. Technological metabolism means that there is a sphere of technical processes that occur. Finally, we spoke about the waste hierarchy. There are five steps along this chart. From the bottom up they are reject to landfill, recover energy, recycle, reuse, and reduce/eliminate. The chart is important because it provides us with the steps that we need to take together in order to aid the earth from the damage that we have caused it. Two important parts from that chart are recycling and reusing.

There is a difference between recycling and reusing. There is also a difference in the description of recycling that many people use. Recycling is the collection, separation, and reprocessing at the fiber, polymer, or granule level. Many people who do not know the true process think that separating the recyclables means that they are recycling when in fact they are only doing one part of the process. Reusing is the use of reclaimed materials as is. In reusing there is also no separating or processing, materials may be cut up to capitalize on the largest pieces before re-use, or goods are used again in the second-hand context. To practice these rules, we practiced a C2C activity in class.

Our C2C prompt was to create a store display or a store design that was sustainable, attractive, and used either two metabolisms (biological or technological) and finally that targeted women with an 80,000 salary. The exercise was difficult to myself, because it was hard to think of a store display that would use sustainable aspects in an attractive manner. The metabolisms were difficult as well because it is very hard to use just one and not both of them together as compliments. I learned that although this exercise was difficult, it is possible to do. There were many ideas that I did not consider until the grading process was done. A real brand that practices sustainability is Everlane. They are based in the USA and are at a moderate price range. They do not just hire any factory to produce their clothing, they do extensive research before finding companies to finally hire. They build relationships with their factory owners and make sure to touch base in order to make sure that their factories run and run productively and smoothly. They want to be there during the whole production process. I like that Everlane does not hide the original cost of what it takes to actually make their product. They also share the stories of their clothing. They have amazing aspects like quality and design, while being sustainable which ranked it very high for myself. At the end of the week, we had a design slam project.

The design slam was a prompt given to all of the learning communities. The communities were supposed to find solutions to these problems or prompts. My learning community is number three. The name of our design slam was “Shopping Clean”. Our motto was “So you can have a clear conscious”. Our problem was to create a strategy that balanced the basic philosophy of conservation and helps fulfill our roles as merchandisers. The goal was basically to create a way to attract customers while doing so in a sustainable way. Our community chose to design a store franchise that had close ties with its vendors. We chose to be extremely selective in our vendor choice and required a small criteria list that the vendors had to follow in order to be hired by us. The criteria list was that the companies could grow their own materials, use organic cotton, use natural dyes, use solar power in factories in order to conserve energy, pay workers fair wages, and help their local communities by holding drives or aiding in the recycling process. We related to Industrial Ecology the most because it describes the need to use materials sparingly, gathering and using energy efficiently, using renewable resources. We wanted to develop an idea that would help customers and companies to be more sustainable. There were two groups that stood out to me. The two groups were group number one. Their concept was to create a more sustainable boot. Most boots today are expensive and made from real rubber as well as leather. They suggested that the sole of the shoe be made from recycled plastic bottles and the leather portion be made with vegan leather instead. The second group that stood out to me was group number dollar energy. They wanted to spread knowledge and awareness of sustainability. They spoke of the concept that was to make schools feel more like home and that really stood out to me. Many kids live hours away and some live countries away and so making campus a place where everyone feels welcome can only benefit us and make everyone feel more like family. This way, everyone will be more motivated to want to be more sustainable together and to come together to create more solutions in the sustainability world.

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