PROJECTS

Here are some examples of practical ways that the principles of Zero Waste can be applied to a number of situations,  products and inefficient designs.

In each case, I extract the function and find a way to satisfy that function with no discard, or at least minimized discard. In no case do I search for a way to make use of a waste product.

My hope is that by creating better designs, which last a long time and are personally satisfying, older, wasteful, shoddy, conventional products will be edged out, will be made obsolete, and new, Zero Waste designs will take over. This page is intended as a plan for a small part of the future.

         The old world is crumbling and we still have no idea of what the new world will look like.
         If you don’t have a plan, you become part of someone else’s plan.
         We must decondition our minds from ten thousand years of bad behavior.
Terrence McKenna, The Taxonomy of Illusion
 

Some people object that the planned obsolescence model really works and is more effective than products built around robust design. They talk about market share. In response, I point out that we are not competing on the basis of seeking a 75%, or 50%, or even 20% market share. Starting out, a 1% market share is the goal, and the market rules for that are quite different and more welcoming of innovation.

Rogers presents a famous curve of innovation showing how early adopters begin the process of adopting new products or other innovations:

Rogers curveRogers curve legendThe distinction made above between innovations and settled markets is not unknown in the business world.

John Curl in discussing the building of cooperatives as a superior way to organize our economy has this to say:

Ours is essentially a non-violent rebellion…. We need to build the new world and to the degree we are successful, the old system will collapse by its own weight. I think a generation will rise to the challenge and create a better world for our great grandchildren.”

This is the model I put forward also.

 You may notice that in the list above there are a number of fairly specialized items, which you personally may not be technically familiar with. That probably means that you should probably not look to do a coruscating, top level job with redesigning those products for their highest reuse potential. If you want to work with electronics, it is not enough to be well intentioned. You need to be, or have the help of, someone with a deep and broad knowledge of electronics. Otherwise you will miss obvious possibilities. The same thing obviously goes for chemicals, or plastic parts. But it also goes for simpler things like paper. If you want to work with paper (including as a recycler) you should expect to read everything you can find about paper and eventually become an expert. You should know where your paper comes from, what fibers are used, what chemical treatment is used and what special properties your papers have.

Pretty_embroidery

Some more lightweight projects (but fun to think about):

The world is what you make it!” - song by Paul Brady

Here is one approach to a Zero Waste design for a small bridge across a river. What does this example teach us? Could we expand the concept to build a Golden Gate Bridge? Could we build furniture or cabins using this concept? What else can we learn from this?

Bridge Design

16 Responses to PROJECTS

  1. Dalton Manville says:

    This is a very good site! My weblog may have many words, but your blog is better. My compliments!

    Thank you Dalton – Paul Palmer

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  5. Jorge Gantt says:

    Thanks for this. We all love a bargain and your advice helps.

    Thanks Jorge. I wish I know how I helped to get you a bargain though. PP

  6. Verdie Teaford says:

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  9. Maribel Warmbrod says:

    Pretty insightful post. Never thought that Zero Waste was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this subject clearly and you’re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up

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  12. elektronik says:

    Great Post. Really it will help lot of people. Thanks for the post.

  13. Alleen Strausser says:

    Hey…my very first comment on your site. I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would pop in and drop a friendly note. It is great stuff indeed. I also wanted to ask..is there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

    Alleen: I put out a monthly newsletter. I can add your email address to that subscription list. – Paul

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