Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reusing as a Cycle

Reusing is not only important; but it is natural. In nature, a resource is used and then left behind. What is left behind is a resource for something else to use. The same happens again and again in a never ending cycle. In places like the United States, resources are turned into products. Typically, the products are used and then discarded. There is no cycle here. One of the ideas presented in the Michael Pawlyn: Using nature's genius in architecture Ted Talk is that there needs to be a shift from this sort of resource use, what Pawlyn calls linear resource use, to a cycle of reuse similar to what happens in nature. Watch Pawlyn's Ted Talk to learn about the reuse cycle, what Pawlyn terms a closed-loop model of resource use, and his other opinions on what other changes are needed to be a sustainable society.

About Michael Pawlyn

Pawlyn is an architect concerned about sustainability.


Pawlyn's Ted Talk is presenting his own opinions and ideas as a professional. He seems to be well educated about the topics he presents. Material covered in the Ted Talk is informative and well supported with facts and examples.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sweden imports trash from Norway for heat, electricity

Sweden imports trash from Norway for heat, electricity is an interesting news article by Charlie Wells of NY Daily News that I happened upon today. According to the article, "In a country [Sweden] where only 4 percent of waste goes to landfills, officials have had to start importing trash so they can keep making heat and electricity." That's amazing! This article is definitely something to check out. For those doubting the 4% statistic, the information in Wells's article is solid. Eurostat, "the statistical office of the European Union," verifies that less than 5% of Sweden's waste goes to landfills in Municipal waste statistics.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Plastic Bottle Projects

A huge amount of waste generated results from the use of disposable plastic bottles. According to makemagazine, " Americans throw away 2 million plastic bottles an hour." Why not put this astounding amount of waste to use instead of sending it to landfills? The YouTube videos Weekend Project: 2 Liter Bottle Recycling, Make a toy car out of a plastic bottle | recycle | re-use | Africa, and Freestyle Friday Episode 20. ...Plastic Bottle = Vase & Flower give some quick and easy reuse ideas for plastic 2 liter bottles. Some projects are suitable fun for kids. Just be sure to provide supervision and adult assistance when needed so no one gets hurt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pet Toy Projects: Trash Toys, Home Made Bird Toys, and Home Made Tunnel Toy for Ferrets

Pets provide ample opportunity for reusing household waste. Like small children, pets can be entertained for a long time with just product packaging. They are also more than happy to play with your trash; but, only allow them to do so if it is safe for your particular pet(s). My dog (a black lab mix), for instance, loved plastic bottles: unscrewing the lid, getting treats out of them, playing fetch with them, tearing the label off, etc. Cats seem to love playing with boxes, packing paper, plastic bags, and milk jug rings are toys. Any pet-safe trash your pet shows interest in is a potential toy. Check out these YouTube videos for more complex reuse ideas: Bird Care: How to Make Bird Toys and Ferret Toys: Homemade Toys for Pet Ferrets.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shipping Container Homes

Porta-Bach. Photo courtesy of TreeHugger.
Steel cargo containers are used to ship products all over the world. Though they are made sturdy to withstand rigorous, repetitive use, they eventually wear out. Retired shipping containers have to be disposed of some how. Or do they? Old shipping containers can actually be reused as prefabricated building materials and be made into homes.