Lauren Erica Davis, 2/20/2012
1. Statement of Problem: In modern cities a lot of waste is generated, most of which
could be cycled back into useful materials which could be reused, but because of bad planning
and lack of awareness, it is thrown into landfills, sewers, rivers, etc., and pollutes air,
water, land etc. If a majority of waste could be reused then we could have less negative impact
on ecosystems, oceans and the environment in general.
2. Separation: categories of human waste generation:
- Household: food, water, electricity, human waste, yard waste, burning fossil fuels for heat and cooking, fertilizers from lawns and gardens pollutes waterways
- Manufacturing: water, dyes and other pollutants into water ways, air pollution
- Businesses: many different businesses generate many different types of waste from packaging material to organic material (in the case of groceries stores)
- Construction: construction materials are discarded, use of machinery which runs on biofuels which cause air pollution
- Schools: water, electricity, food, human waste, chemical waste from labs etc.
- Transportation: air pollution, use of combustable non-renuable resources, pollution of oceans and waterways
- Electricity generation: major cause of air pollution, and damage to ecosystems due to dams in waterways.
- Farming: major source of water and ocean pollution.
3. Focus: I will focus my project on minimizing household waste since it is a major source of waste production, but with properly designed living areas waste reduction could be simple and easily managed.
- Water: Showers, washing clothes, washing dishes, toilets, are the main sources of water wastage in residence.
- Human Waste: has a lot of nutrients which are wasted and can be sources of water pollution
- Food: kitchen scraps
- Heat and cooking: generate air pollution when hydrocarbon fuels are burned.
- Electricity: can be a source of pollution when coal is burned to generate electricity.
- Garbage: paper, plastics, glass, anything that is thrown into landfills.
5. Possible solution: The purpose of this project will be to design an apartment building which will greatly reduce waste in all these areas.
- Water: water saving appliances and shower heads; foot pedal sinks for brushing teeth
and shaving. Regular maintenance to check for dripping faucets and running toilets. Waste water recycling.
- Human Waste: compostable toilets can be used to recycle human waste into usable fertilizer for non-food plants.
- Food: food scraps can be composted to be used as fertilizer for food plants
- Electricity: all electricity for the building will be from renewable sources such as
wind and solar. All heating and cooking will be electric so no fuels will be burnt.
- Garbage: all garbage will be sorted by residence into recyclable, compostable and
non-reusable materials. Donation bins will also be available on site which local charities
can come and collect for clothes and other reusable materials. This will greatly reduce the
amount of garbage going to landfills.
6. Four step process:
- Understanding the problem: data should be collected on the monthly/annual electricity usage and garbage disposal of the average household per person to see how much waste reduction is possible.
- Devising a plan: alternative methods of dealing with waste will be looked into
- Carrying out the plan: based on alternative methods an apartment complex will be designed which utilizes space, and all possible waste reduction methods.
- Looking back: Plans will be presented for regular peer review so that other ideas can be suggested and incorporated.
7. Future work:
More information is needed on:
- solar energy collection
- compostable toilets
- wastewater recycling
- garden composting
International Living Building Institute
living buildings - voice-over Powerpoint from the International Living Building Institute.