From waste to fortune

Michael Pawlyn’s TED talk mentioned the three changes we need to bring about with biomimicry. The first being radical increases in resource efficiency, secondly shifting from a linear, wasteful, polluting way of using resources to a closed-loop model. The third would be changing from a fossil fuel economy to a solar economy. To build a greenhouse he studied pollen grains and radiolarian and carbon molecules helped us devise the most efficient structural solution using hexagons and pentagons. Using less steel, more sunlight could get in meaning the building wouldn’t require as much heating in the winter as well as making it lighter. He also mentioned the linear-to-to-closed loop idea. In ecosystems waste from one organism becomes the nutrient for something else in that system. Using biodegradable waste from the local area can be turned into heat for a greenhouse and electricity. Fish farms can be fed with vegetable waste from the kitchen and worms from the compost and supplying fish back to the restaurant. The more vegetation we lose, the more that’s likely too exacerbate climate change and lead to further desertifications. I love the idea of closing the loop and using a waste for something that can be turned into something different throughout the life cycle. Nature can survive well on it’s own and we need to learn how to apply that to our lives.


Industrial ecology and closing the loops in commerce reading form Benyus suggested using waste as a resource, Traditionally, manufactures haven’t had to worry about what happens to a product after it leaves their possession. In Europe companies have to take back refrigerators, washers, and cars when they are no longer of use. These recycle laws mean manufactures recycle their projects and packaging. I think it’s important to have the government tell manufactures to recycle their projects, especially refrigerators, washers, and cars because most of those parts can be used for a lot of things. It’s important to think about where something might end up at the end of it’s life. Similar to animals we need to gather and use energy more efficiently. Animals use the least amount of energy to find water so they can save it when they are hunting or doing another activity. I think it’s important to understand energy, in our diet via calories, and electricity in our home. When we eat we put energy into our bodies and when we don’t use all of it through exercise it turns into fat. We don’t want to waste energy. The third one I liked is using materials sparingly. I like how organisms build for durability but don’t overbuild. They fit form to function; building exactly want is needed, with the bare minimum of materials and fuss. I think some things are over designed and have unnecessary materials. It’s important to give the individual what the need but you don’t want to give them more upkeep than necessary.


I recycle as many things as I can in my house. I reuse a lot items in my house as well. We reuse jars to plant herbs in and use food waste to get the plant started. Energy is something I need to work on, the AC isn’t consistent in all the rooms in my house so some rooms tend to be warmer than others. I closed all my vents and open my windows to keep my room at a nice temperature, but my roommates prefer a different temperature. My biggest issue is food waste. I’m learning how to cook and with that come trial and error and some items don’t turn out well at all. I do shop at thrift stores often, with fast fashion most of the clothes are still current and I like giving them a second life.


My favorite Life Principle is Evolve to Survive. The world is always changing and its important to step back and look at what as worked and has not worked in the past to move forward. Evolution isn’t a perfect process and there will be mistakes but they can guide you into new forms and functions. Finally doing research is important to alter and create new options.


The Cradle 2 Cradle activity was to change the design of a metal bed frame inspired by the waste-food metabolisms. My Learning Community suggested 3D printing the bed frame. I think another idea would to find a waste and learn how to change it into something that can be used. The age-old style of the bedframe would stay the same, wood slats below the mattress and 4-5 legs to keep it up off the ground. It should be a low maintained item.

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