Cruz, Discar, Ng, Parlan, Tabafunda, Trinidad
Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable—to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
An example of a general movement for sustainable development is RECYCLING
With the ever growing population of our world today, comes the growth of our trash accumulation as well, and with technological advances, we have produced more products that make use of non biodegradable materials. We have packaging that is made up of plastics and glass; after a takeout meal we throw away plastic utensils, styrofoam cups and plates and more plastic materials; women alone have numerous toiletries that are made of non biodegradable materials: metal tubes of spray, tampons and napkins, and glass and plastic containers for creams and lotions.
The following examples listed here are examples of recycling methods under sustainable development. It’s not just the regular sorting of trash and then having them shipped off somewhere they can be reused or remade into something else. These have a larger impact and are more efficient and effective in meeting our human needs and preserving nature.Our past methods for disposing non biodegradable trash are becoming obsolete. Eventually we will run out of landfills to place them in. Plain recycling won’t be effective on a large scale unless the majority practices it. And so mankind has come up with sustainable development to help with the problem. We have found a way to make trash useful, to take it and dispose of it while at the same time contributing to another need of ours, such as shelter, and preserving the environment we’ve already abused so much.
1. Unilever’s practice to use sachets to cement blocks
Laundry sachets have become a part of everyday living of basically every household in the country especially to the households living in the cities. In effect, these materials contribute to the accumulation of waste on dump sites. These materials even clog the canals of city streets when not disposed properly causing floods to rise faster during typhoon seasons. Before, it appeared that unlike other non-biodegradable materials that can be reused and recycled such as bottles and cans, these things having no more use, have no where else to go but to the dump. Today, it is now known that we can still find sachets and other flexibles (also known as laminates which are composite materials consisting of several layers of plastic, ink, and metal) useful by harnessing their energy content and use them to fuel forges that manufacture cement. Unilever have stepped up in collecting their produced sachets from the consumers through its promos.
How it works:
The flexibles, are shredded and ground into 16-mm pieces and then mixed with other ingredients, including liquid wastes that came from factories. These are then fed to the kiln that manufactures cement. The kiln/forge fires up at temperatures that range from 1,100 to 2,000 degree Celsius that easily decomposes the primary ingredients of the flexibles which are polyethylene (PE). These emit no toxic fumes but match the calorific value of coal. To put things into perspective, 1 kilo of the decomposed materials generates as much energy as 1 kilo of coal.
According to Unilever’s brand manager Jessica Inocencio, the collected 4 million empty sachets from February to May of 2013 from the company’s “Fiesta sa Surfresa” promo were able to produce 30, 000 hollow blocks. These were then donated to 30 public schools.
It took 4 months to collect a considerably large amount of empty sachets that were then used to make 30, 000 hollow blocks. If this was to be implemented in a national scale and we collected not just empty sachets but also other kinds of flexibles in a regular basis, then we would have conserved a large amount of fuel used in forges.
Why it is sustainable:
It is sustainable because sachets of laundry powders and detergents can be found in basically every household. We need not look further anymore because these things are constantly being produced already. We only need to collect and give these things to the proper companies and we would have already conserved fuel for manufacturing cement.
There’s no doubt that most of our population makes use of sachet packets for their products. Not everyone can afford the larger bottled versions of these products, and so they buy what they can. But most of these sachet users don’t dispose of their packets properly and cause clogs by contaminating sewer systems with the sachets. By using these sachets to help make cement blocks, we are both eliminating waste accumulation in the sewers and helping in a way in shouldering the fuel costs in creating cement blocks used for construction, hence providing effective and efficient sustainable development for our country.
2. Alfred Moser’s Liter of Light
Alfred Moser’s invention of using recycled plastic bottles as an alternative, free, and non-energy consuming source of light has been serving poor communities, especially in rural areas well.
How it works:
A 1 liter plastic soda bottle is filled up with a solution of purified water and bleach. The bottles are placed in roofs with half of it inside the house while the other half outside. A sheet of iron is placed in the middle of the bottle so that when placed in a roof (with a hole), the bottle would not fall/drop. The bottle then refracts light inside the houses for free.
This practice of using recycled plastic bottles to provide light is so simple that almost anyone, even by just simply using materials found in their surroundings, can create from scratch. Because it doesn’t use any form of electricity, using this technology reduces the danger of faulty electrical wiring that causes fires. What’s more, the bulb does not produce any harmful environmental pollutants.
Why it is sustainable:
Without the use of any real consumable energy like electricity, the bulb is sustainable. The bulb uses products that are easily replenished and can last up to a long time. Bleach, purified water, a recycled plastic bottle, and a sheet of iron, and sunlight can be used to light up an entire room every time there’s daylight for about five years. Though it’s not really practical to use during the night, because of its dependence on sunlight, it can be a very effective source of light in any place.
The solution of bleach and water only lasts five years, but then again that is not exactly a downside. Everything runs out eventually and needs to be replaced. But the fact that we were able to produce light in a room for almost no cost for a span of five years is pretty impressive. If you want to produce light for another 5 years, you just get another bottle (or recycle the same bottle) and create the very simple solution again.
Though it only works when the sun is up, it is still a pretty good way to save electricity. With this, we get to save money and electricity because of its use of natural sources. The biggest impact it has is its usefulness, efficiency and accessibility (cheapness).
3. The Eco-Brick
The idea of the Eco-brick was started by a group called Pura Vida Atitlán in the small village of San Marcos la Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala which was discovered by environmental activist Susana Heisse who promoted it to the rest of the world. It uses the plastic bottle and other non-biodegradable trash to fill up the bottle to be used an in-wall construction fill.
How it works:
A used plastic bottle is filled with compacted non-biodegradable trash. It is then either stacked horizontally and vertically on top of each other, fixed in place with wire and wire fencing, and then covered with cement. Another way of using the eco-brick is by placing them in rows horizontally with cement in between each eco-brick.
The small village of San Marcos la Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala was observed by Susana Heisse to have minimal trash. Eco-bricks are also used as projects in the Philippines to build libraries for public schools without having to spend as much money on cement.
Why it is sustainable:
With the increasing amount of non-biodegradable trash that we accumulate, we are running out of lands to dump our trash. The eco-brick gives a solution to this problem by decreasing the amount of trash and using it to build houses. This also decreases the need to spend money on cement by around 25%.
With our ever growing problem of trash accumulation and the damage already done, we can never truly cure the world of the problem we caused. At least not yet, but with technology like the eco-brick, we can begin to do so. The impact of the eco-brick on societies is two-fold, and both are good. For one, non-biodegradable trash that is taking up a lot of space in our world can be disposed of in more useful ways. They can now fill bottles, that are also trash, and be used to build houses. Now that trash doesn’t just waste space we could use for other purposes. One such other purpose is that of building houses. Trash and new useable spaces can occupy the same space, which is a very efficient aspect of the eco-brick. On top of all that, it’s cost-effective when it comes to both the bricks and cement itself.
These methods and others like it don’t seem to help if done by individuals. What would using one bottle for light or five or ten toiletry sachets as components for one brick do? However, if these methods are done in large-scale, there is no doubt of its impact on our society’s future.
There are a lot of ways to save our planet and maintain sustainable development. Sometimes we just need a little push and encouragement from envisioned people like the ones in the examples above.
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