Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of waste. Why is there all this “stuff” that we believe has no value. How did we design our society to produce so much that has such a short life span. Shouldn’t the objects, buildings, and cities we build have the same value we place upon ourselves? In a recent lecture I attended the professor said something that many of us hardly think about: “Its simple, we are the only species that has ever created something so nonsensical as waste.” Ever since humans started constructing built spaces, we began to leave our mark. The introduction of design into the built environment was a large contributor to the trace we humans leave. However, design now has the opportunity to alter the society we have created to sustain a future for us.
With all this in mind, for my capstone project I decided to do a study on how to implement curbside composting and recycling in the Twin Cities. Waste Infrastructure in the Minnesota is enormous; every year 3.6 million tons of waste are sent to the landfill every year. To alleviate this problem, we must go to the root of the problem to alter our thought of what waste is and add value to objects, such as organic scraps and plastics, that typically are not seen as having worth.
Our class presented our project at a Sustainability Fair at Silverlake Park. It was interesting to talk to different residents about their waste, how they believe compost works, and what they hope to see in the future. It was a little frustrating to talk to residents who wanted to participate in composting, but simply did not have the resources to follow through. However, it reaffirmed that we must strive to work directly within communities to engage in the resident’s issues to best implement sustainable solutions.