Friday, June 27, 2008

Organic Manure and Humanure (links)


Here is an inspiring documentary about breakthroughs in protecting the environment by transforming waste back into food/raw material, we can watch tomorrow.
Brief Description about this documentary:
In the early 90s, the American "green" architect William McDonough and German "green" chemist Michael Braungart teamed up to realise the Waste = Food principle in man-made products. They replace the old maxim "Cradle to Grave" with the new principle of "Cradle to Cradle", meaning that all products must be completely biodegradable in the biosphere and serve as food for the natural organisms there, and that all non-degradable material must be able to be used as high-quality raw material for new products in the techno-sphere.

They took their ideas regarding global waste problems to the Ford Motor Company, NIKE and the rapidly developing China. They helped Ford transform their heavily polluted manufacturing sites into green areas that are safe enough for children to play in. Due to their encouragement, NIKE has designed toxin-free running shoes that can be completely recycled. McDonough and Braungart were also invited to China to develop China's first ecologically sustainable model village.


I am currently reading Cradle to Cradle. It is a very interesting book.

Any links for organic waste disposal and humanure? (posted on an Asha group)

Found a free book on Humanure for those interested -

Quoting Sanjeev from his post on another list -

Fundamentally, the concept of organic "waste" is an urban bane. It is
not necessarily an issue in rural India and even in places that it is,
the solutions are not necessarily what we get forced to use in the
cities (or locations with very limited space, no organic recycling,

There are a couple of solutions that have worked in the field:

1) one, are dry composting toilets.
2) gobar gas plants are capable of not just taking animal waste, but
humans one as well (through how the slurry is treated before it can be
used in the fields is different).

Humanure is a tricky subject to work on, because fundamentally it is a
taboo topic in our society. To work in this area requires
understanding of issues and conditions at a broad level. The two
biggest issues to solving the problem may not be the implementation,
but being able to look at the problem at a larger scale than making it
someone else's problem i.e. being able to think beyond what we have
seen all our lives (fighting against our conditioning that tells us
that what we have done is the only "good" way). Then, if we able to
work out a solution, being able to work with others to use it. This is
difficult in a village as people are looking up to us to understand
what is the "the good life" which is automatically interpreted as a
good city life with amenities including flushing your problems down
away from your habitat.

Here's a really interesting article on composting. We just set up areas in our backyard to compost this weekend and the reduction in waste is a little astounding. This guide has definitely helped answer a lot of questions. We didn't use a specialized composting bin or anything just metal stakes and chicken wire.

Putting organic waste (from the kitchen) down the garbage disposal also poses another set of issues, since it takes so much more water to grind it up and then this slush has to be treated to extract the water from it. No idea where/how the remaining waste is disposed.

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