200 results for “Plastic Planet”

Why you should attend ADE Green

Ruben Baart
October 1st 2019

ADE Green returns for the seventh consecutive year to the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. Once more, Amsterdam Dance Event organizes this leading event to ignite sustainable action, innovation and social change through the (electronic) music industry. The result is a tasty mix of local heroes and global game changers that unite to answer pressing questions from within the music industry — and beyond.

To give you an idea, the conference asks whether it's possible (and how) to keep your ecological …

This cool artificial reef was just deployed in Sydney Harbor

Vanessa Bates Ramirez
July 16th 2019

Earth’s oceans have seen better days. They’re inundated with plastic waste, both whole single-use plastics and tons of plastic microparticles that find their way back into our food and drinking water. Their water temperatures are rising due to climate change, causing coral bleaching and other harmful phenomena. Overfishing has depleted multiple marine species.

Organizations and individuals around the world have leaped to action to try to reverse some of the damage human activity has caused the oceans. The Ocean Cleanup …

Why some plastic packaging is necessary to prevent food waste

Manoj Dora and Eleni Iacovidou
June 13th 2019

There has been a surge in awareness of the damage that plastic pollution does to our planet in recent years. It has spurred a number of campaigns to remove single-use plastics from our daily lives. This extends to food packaging, with a Waitrose supermarket in the city of Oxford recently launching a package-free trial.

Many people bemoan the large amount of packaging that supermarkets use, particularly for fruit and vegetables, most of which have their own natural protection. Nonetheless, a …

The world’s plastic problem is bigger than the ocean

Christopher J. Preston
December 10th 2018

As you read this, a strange object that looks like a 2,000-foot floating pool noodle is drifting slowly through the central north Pacific Ocean. This object is designed to solve an enormous environmental problem. But in so doing, it brings attention to a number of others.…

Your Next Nature guide to Dutch Design Week 2018

Meike Schipper
October 15th 2018

Over time, our bodies, our food and our environment have become more and more subject to design. As designers, we hold the responsibility and have the unique chance to envision the world - in order to decide which future we want. Because if not us, then who?…

The Ocean Cleanup heads for the Pacific

Van Mensvoort
September 9th 2018
The Ocean Cleanup claims its device could cut the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in half in five years.

Interview: Designer Shahar Livne is geomimicing the future of plastics

Kelly Streekstra
April 18th 2018

What if plastics one day become a rare commodity that we desire and mine from the depths of the earth’s crust? By that time, plastic would be a rather different material. Shahar Livne offers a fast-forward to this next nature, by artificially geomimicing metamorphisms. She shares with us her speculative material: the “lithoplast”.

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

Damian Carrington
April 17th 2018

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.…

The Great Pacific garbage “patch” is now three times the size of France

Ruben Baart
March 26th 2018

Mon dieu! The swirling pile of trash in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an exponential rate. A recent study has estimated that the mass of the garbage island is four to sixteen times bigger than previously thought, and is now three times the size of France. …

Edible packaging: Seaweed could replace plastic in disposable packaging

Jack Caulfield
February 19th 2018

What to do about the plastic planet? The seas are steadily filling up with plastic, and it's vital to find ways to address the problem. One way to do this is to move away from plastic usage towards more sustainable, eco-friendly materials. And that's just what Indonesia-based company Evoware wants to do. Their proposed alternative? Seaweed.…

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ADE Green returns for the seventh consecutive year to the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. Once more, Amsterdam Dance Event organizes this leading event to ignite sustainable action, innovation and social change through the (electronic) music industry. The result is a tasty mix of local heroes and global game changers that unite to answer pressing questions from within the music industry — and beyond.

To give you an idea, the conference asks whether it's possible (and how) to keep your ecological footprint in restrain when you pursue an international career, or book artists from abroad and organize events in different part of the world.

Sure, the rise of electronic dance music has helped to reduce the amount of equipment and band members being flown around the globe, but the biggest contributors to the industry’s carbon emissions remains touring and festivals — and not to mention audiences flying in. So what’s being done about that?

Elon Musk for one, thinks we should be using lithium-ion batteries for electric flights?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx3auTD85Fw

And what about the use of plastic during events? For years now, festivals, cup-suppliers and drinks brands are collaborating to create a circular cup system and create awareness among visitors. What are the lessons learned and how could the system be improved and expanded? ECO Coin anyone?

What it comes down to is this. There is an urgent need for a more sustainable music and event industry, but in order to establish such a thing, we need new ideas. These ideas then need a platform, an audience, and a network opportunity to be dealt with. It's exactly this that ADE Green is providing this year.

And if you’re already organizing a conference that flies in a lot of people — at least dedicate some time to sustainability.

What? ADE Green Conference
When? 18 October 2019
Where? DeLaMar Theater, Amsterdam

? Get a closer look at the full program here.
?️ Tickets for ADE Green can be purchased here.

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Earth’s oceans have seen better days. They’re inundated with plastic waste, both whole single-use plastics and tons of plastic microparticles that find their way back into our food and drinking water. Their water temperatures are rising due to climate change, causing coral bleaching and other harmful phenomena. Overfishing has depleted multiple marine species.

Organizations and individuals around the world have leaped to action to try to reverse some of the damage human activity has caused the oceans. The Ocean Cleanup is using a two-kilometer-long screen to collect plastic waste. Origin Materials aims to make a new type of plastic that’s sustainable and renewable. The 5 Gyres Institute’s mission is to end plastic pollution, which it calls a global health crisis.

Last week another effort joined the ranks: a purpose-built artificial reef in Sydney Harbor. The result of a three-year partnership between the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the Sydney Opera House, and the government of New South Wales, the reef was made by Reef Design Lab and consists of eight one-meter-tall pods, each containing three steel and concrete hexagonal structures. Half the units also have triangular tiles extending from the hexagons’ cores.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj6oo8_VR-A

The reef was installed along the sea wall of Sydney’s world-famous Opera House. Over a thousand miles north sits the Great Barrier Reef; larger than Italy and half the size of Texas, it’s the world’s largest coral reef system, and it’s struggling. After mass bleachings caused by unusually warm water in 2016-2017, scientists found an 89 percent reduction in new coral growth.

Bleached coral doesn’t mean dead coral. Warm temperatures cause coral to eject the algae that live in their tissue, hence the change from colored to white. It’s possible for coral to recover, but it usually takes up to ten years—and that’s if no further bleaching occurs. Reefs in the Caribbean have also been affected in recent years. As in any ecosystem, cutting out one link reverberates up the food chain and impacts other species; in this case, the diversity of the fish populations near affected reefs drops, as does the reef’s overall ability to carry out the functions necessary for it to survive and thrive.

The hope for the artificial reef in Sydney is for sea life to take up residence within its structures, thus encouraging and hopefully restoring some of the area’s biodiversity.

“It’s amazing, after only a few weeks the pods are already attracting the interest of the types of species we hope will be drawn to this new habitat such as leatherjackets, bream and octopus,” said UTS Professor of Marine Ecology David Booth, who led the project. “We will continue to monitor the reefs and adjacent sites to document change and how effective adding small fish habitat structures is in enhancing fish life on seawalls. We hope it is a model for other cities on harbors.”

Artificial reefs aren’t a new concept by any means, and in fact, many of them around the world are far larger than Sydney Harbor’s—picture a decommissioned oil rig, aircraft carrier, or ship sunk to the bottom of the ocean becoming a teeming hub of marine life.

Where does the teeming marine life originate from, though? There’s been some debate about the effectiveness of artificial reefs at actually growing fish populations, rather than simply attracting them to a new location from the surrounding area. One study by marine scientists found a modest increase of 6.5 kilograms of fish per 10 square meters of artificial reef.

Artificial reefs also aren’t doing much to solve the larger global problems of ocean contamination and rising water temperatures (and they’re not meant to). While any effort to help the environment should be applauded, it’s crucial that we focus as much (or preferably more) on preventive solutions—such as cutting carbon emissions or reducing plastic waste—as we do on reactive ones.

In the meantime, we’ll see how the marine life in Sydney Harbor fares with its newly-provided living option.

This article is republished from SingularityHub under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image Credit: Alex Goad.

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There has been a surge in awareness of the damage that plastic pollution does to our planet in recent years. It has spurred a number of campaigns to remove single-use plastics from our daily lives. This extends to food packaging, with a Waitrose supermarket in the city of Oxford recently launching a package-free trial.

Many people bemoan the large amount of packaging that supermarkets use, particularly for fruit and vegetables, most of which have their own natural protection. Nonetheless, a major reason that supermarkets use so much packaging is to protect food and prevent waste – particularly with fresh food. Removing plastic entirely from our food supply may not be the best solution when it comes to protecting the environment and conserving valuable resources.

Food supply chains are complex networks with lots of parts. In Europe alone, 12m farms produce agricultural products which are processed by around 300,000 food and drink companies. These are then distributed by 2.8m food retailers and food services, serving around 500m consumers.

Food typically travels from the fields where it is produced to a storage facility for processing. It is then stored until it is needed. Then it’s packaged, transported and distributed to shops, where it is marketed, before being bought and consumed. This takes a varying amount of time, depending on where it is farmed and how long it stays in someone’s fridge or cupboard.

Plastic packaging is used in the food supply chain because it supports the safe distribution of food over long distances and minimises food waste by keeping food fresh for longer. A 2016 review of studies on food waste found that 88m tonnes of food is wasted every year in the EU – that’s 173kg per person and equals about 20% of food produced. Minimising this wastage is crucial for environmental protection, as well as food security.

Reducing waste

More than 50% of food waste takes place in households and nearly 20% is wasted during processing. Plastic packaging may be a necessary evil to reduce this high level of waste in both areas. A number of factors must be taken into account when determining how useful plastic packaging is in the food supply chain, as it has the potential to preserve food and prevent its wastage.

For example, the use of just 1.5g of plastic film for wrapping a cucumber can extend its shelf life from three days to 14 days and selling grapes in plastic bags or trays has reduced in-store wastage of grapes by 20%.

Plastic protects and preserves the freshness of a lot of fruit and vegetables. Shutterstock

A lot of food is air freighted, so prolonging its shelf life has important benefits for the environment. It minimises waste and conserves all valuable resources involved from farm to shelf. Recent estimates from Zero Waste Scotland suggest that the carbon footprint of food waste generated can be higher than that of plastic. Specifically, 456,000 tonnes of food waste produced in Scottish households were found to contribute to around 1.9m tonnes of CO₂, three times higher than that of the 224,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated.

Plastic packaging maintains food quality and safety. Food that is naturally wrapped in its own skin and can be safely transported and consumed without the need for single-use plastic packaging often draws attention. But research shows that these products appear to be sustainable only where short food supply chains exist. When food is transported from further away, as a lot is, plastic can play an important role in protecting it from becoming waste.

Furthermore, plastic packaging is more flexible and lighter than alternatives such as glass and card. This reduces transportation costs and the carbon emissions that come with them.

Possible solutions

Simply removing plastic from food packaging is not as sustainable as one might think. There are lots of cases where plastic packaging can be beneficial at reducing waste. But food sellers need to think of ways to reduce and reuse the plastic where possible.

To reduce the amount of plastic that is needed, short food supply chains must be developed, as this involves very few intermediaries between where the food is farmed and where it is bought and consumed. It may mean switching to more seasonal diets. Farmers’ markets, community-based growers and basket delivery systems helps connect consumers to where their food is produced in ways that can also help reduce food packaging and waste.

The challenge here is how it can be scaled up in ways that are economically feasible. Most sellers will have economic concerns that influence how they use plastic. It is often not just used for preservation but for marketing and the desire of retails to get people to buy more (think, multipacks), which can lead to waste.

Another solution is to develop a more circular economic model where plastic is reused and recycled a lot more. This makes economic as well as environmental sense.

Work is also being done into new, bio-based packaging that can perform the same role as conventional plastic in terms of protecting food and preventing food waste – and could also be biodegradable. But a lot of questions remain as to whether bio-based plastics are actually sustainable in the long term, especially if vast amounts of resources are needed to produce them.

Until a sustainable packaging alternative is developed, big retailers will continue to rely on plastic to protect food from going to waste. Plastic itself is a very useful material. We need to use it more effectively and more sparingly in some cases but we shouldn’t get rid of it altogether.

This article is written by Manoj Dora, reader in Operations & Supply Chain Management, Brunel University London, and Eleni Iacovidou, Lecturer in Environmental Management, Brunel University London. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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As you read this, a strange object that looks like a 2,000-foot floating pool noodle is drifting slowly through the central north Pacific Ocean. This object is designed to solve an enormous environmental problem. But in so doing, it brings attention to a number of others.

There are an estimated five trillion pieces of plastic floating on and in the world’s oceans. The massive pool noodle will move through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, driven by the wind and currents and picking up the plastic it encounters along the way. Ocean Cleanup, the organization that developed the device, promises “the largest cleanup in history.”

If it works, the device – blandly named System 001 – could make a dent in the enormous amount of ocean-borne plastic. But once that plastic is collected the options are not good.

That’s where an environmental ethicist like me starts thinking about where this plastic will end up next. The ocean is better off without it, of course, but the plastic problem has many more layers than it first appears.

The struggle of sorting

Recycling plastic is only possible if it can be meticulously separated into its various chemical types. What people generally describe with the single word “plastic” encompasses seven main types of materials – the ones used to make soda bottles, trash bags, cling wrap, shopping bags, yogurt containers, fishing nets, foam insulation, and non-metal parts of many household appliances.

Recycling each of these types, which you might know by their acronyms – such as PETE, LDPE, PVC, PP and HDPE – requires a different chemical process.

That’s why many household recycling programs ask residents to sort their plastics – and why communities that let people put recyclables of all types into one big bin employ people and machines to sort it after it’s collected.

Sorting won’t be easy with the plastic in the ocean. All the different kinds of plastic are mixed up together, and some of it has been chemically and physically broken down by sunlight and wave action.

Much of it is now in tiny pieces called microplastics, suspended just below the surface. The first difficulty, but by no means the last, will be sorting all that plastic – plus seaweed, barnacles and other sea life that may have attached itself to the floating debris.

Recycling or downcycling?

Ocean Cleanup is working on how best to reprocess, and brand, the material it collects, hoping that a willing market will emerge for its uniquely sourced product.

Even if the company’s engineers and researchers can figure out how to sort it all, there are physical limitations to how useful the collected plastic will be.

The act of recycling involves grinding up materials into very small pieces before melting and reforming them. An inescapable part of that process is that every time plastic is recycled, its polymers – the long chemical sequences that provide its structure – become shorter.

Generally speaking, lighter and more flexible types of plastic can only be recycled into denser, harder materials – unless large amounts of new virgin plastic are added to the mixture.

After one or two rounds of recycling, the possibilities for reuse become very limited. At that point, the “downcycled” plastic material is formed into textiles, car bumpers or plastic lumber, none of which end up anywhere else but the landfill. The plastic becomes garbage.

Plastic composting

What if there were a way to ensure that plastic was genuinely recyclable over the long term? Most bacteria can’t degrade plastics because the polymers contain strong carbon-to-carbon chemical bonds that are different from anything bacteria evolved alongside in nature.

Fortunately, after being in the environment with human-discarded plastics for a number of decades, bacteria seem to be evolving to use this synthetic feedstock that pervades modern life.

In 2016, a team of biologists and materials scientists found a bacterium that can eat the particular type of plastic used in beverage bottles.

The bacteria turns PET plastic into more basic substances that can be remade into virgin plastics. After identifying the key enzyme in the bacteria’s plastic-digestion process, the research team went on to deliberately engineer the enzyme to make it more effective. One scholar said the engineering work has managed to “overtake evolution.”

At this point, the breakthroughs are only working in laboratory conditions and only on one of the seven types of plastics. But the idea of going beyond natural evolution is where the ears of an environmental philosopher go on alert.

Synthetic enzymes and bacteria

Discovering the plastic-eating bacterium and its enzyme took a lot of watching, waiting and testing. Evolution isn’t always quick. The findings suggest the possibility of discovering additional enzymes that work with other plastics. But they also raise the possibility of taking matters into our own hands and designing new enzymes and microbes.

Already, completely artificial proteins coded by synthetically constructed genes are acting like artificial enzymes and catalyzing reactions in cells.

One researcher claims “we can develop proteins – that would normally have taken billions of years to evolve – in a matter of months.”

In other labs, synthetic genomes built entirely out of bottles of chemicals are now capable of running bacterial cells. Entirely synthetic cells – genomes, metabolic processes, functional cellular structures and all – are thought to be only a decade away.

This coming era of synthetic biology not only promises to change what organisms can do. It threatens to change what organisms actually are.

Bacteria will no longer just be naturally occurring life forms; some, even many, of them will be purpose-built microbes constructed expressly to provide functions useful to humans, such as composting plastic. The border between life and machine will blur.

The plastics polluting the world’s oceans need to be cleaned up. Bringing them back to land would reinforce the fact that even on a global scale, it’s impossible to throw trash “away” – it just goes somewhere else for a time. But people should be very careful about what sort of technological fixes they employ.

I cannot help but see the irony of trying to solve the very real problem of too many synthetic materials littering the oceans by introducing to the world trillions of synthetically produced proteins or bacteria to clean them up.

This story is republished from The Conversation by Christopher J. Preston, Professor of Philosophy, The University of Montana under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Over time, our bodies, our food and our environment have become more and more subject to design. As designers, we hold the responsibility and have the unique chance to envision the world - in order to decide which future we want. Because if not us, then who?

This weekend, the Dutch Design Week 2018 opens in Eindhoven. In more than a hundred locations across the city, it presents the work and ideas of more than 2600 designers to more than 335,000 visitors from home and abroad. The Next Nature guide to DDW18 captures how technology is helping shape our world into a better, healthier and maybe even more next natural place. Here are 5 projects that you should not miss:

Chronic Health

As we increasingly seek to be healthier and happier, the boundaries between cure and enhancement are fading. We reach out to technological inventions and their possibilities to stretch the boundaries of human life. The exhibition Chronic Health: If not us, then who? by the Embassy of Health explores the future of healthcare and stimulates collaboration between health professionals, policymakers, patients and designers.

As part of the exhibition, Next Nature Network presents a speculative design proposal for an artificial womb in collaboration with Máxima Medical Centre (MMC). This unique collaboration is part of an ongoing research by Next Nature Network into the impact of technology on the the future of biological reproduction, intimacy and relationships under the working title REPRODUTOPIA; how will we make babies, experience intimacy and build families in the future? In the future, artificial wombs could replace incubators as they mimic the natural environment of the female uterus. But what will these 'hatcheries' look like?

Chronic Health takes place at Innovation Powerhouse.

Augmented Nature 

A next generation high-tech biologging tag on a whale.

Due to our destructive human behavior, we are now living in the 6th mass extinction. As the damaging human behavior appears immutable, a team of designers and engineers from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London proposes an animal centered design approach. "[It's] an approach in which success is measured in biodiversity and humans acknowledge that they're part of the animal kingdom." The innovative project Augmented Nature manufactures animals to prevent man's best friends from mass extinction.

Augmented Nature is on show at Klokgebouw, Hall 2.

Frankenstein 

DDW18 is centered around the statement that we design our future: because if not us, then who? Perhaps the answer lies in artificial intelligence. Will algorithms design our future for us, with us or against us? The Frankenstein exhibition questions our responsibility over the technological systems that we create, and it speculates on the influence of the non-human other. The boundary between creator and creation, and thus the difference between the born and the made, may disappear. To date, the consequences are unknown. Will artificial life outsmart us in the future?

The exhibition Frankenstein (open all week) is part of the Frankenstein Symposium, moderated by our editor-in-chief Ruben Baart. The symposium takes place on October 22th at Natlab.

Robot Love

World's first six-handed massage with a human touch. Meet the Shiva Therapist.

In the extensive and interactive exhibition Robot Love, artists, designers and scientists explore the relation between humans and robots. What happens when humans and machines are fusing? Robots often cause fear to be overruled, fear to lose our jobs, or a feeling of anthropomorphobia. Still, society seems fascinated by them. In a way, Robot Love poses the crucial question: what excactly does it mean to be human - instead of a machine? Among the works are the Shiva Therapist from our HUBOT office, the film Renderlands of speculative architect Liam Young and the tickle massage project by Driessens&Verstappen.

Robot Love takes place at the Melkfabriek.

Clean Revolution

Insectology, Atelier Boelhouwer

Reducing the amount of waste, minimizing the use of non-renewable sources, closing the production cycle; the future of design is crammed with sustainable challenges. Clean Revolution presents a collection of Dutch designers who seek to transform trash into treasures and contribute to a circular economy. The exhibition is the perfect opportunity to spot innovative thought, and gain insight into modern-day design challenges. It features the work from Teresa van Dongen, Boyan Slat, Shahar Livne, and Lightyear - to name a few.

Clean Revolution is on show at Veem, Floor 3.

Visit the Dutch Design Week from 20-28 October in Eindhoven. Want more? Follow us on Instagram, here we feature the most inspiring #nextnature projects at DDW18 in the coming week!

[post_title] => Your Next Nature guide to Dutch Design Week 2018 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => dutch-design-week-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-14 15:25:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-14 14:25:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91432 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 91086 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2018-09-09 16:02:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-09-09 15:02:57 [post_content] =>

It’s launching time for The Ocean Cleanup, the ambitious project that aims to collect plastic from the island of plastic three times the size of France drifting in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.

The nonprofit organization, founded in 2013 by then-18-year-old Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, has raised a whopping $40 million ahead of its launch. It intends to gather floating ocean plastic by way of a 600-meter long floating plastic arm, similar to a dragnet, and is expected to scoop up plastic bottles, bottle caps, bits and pieces of plastic containers — anything that may float or just be under the surface. Every few weeks, a garbage truck-like ship will float by to collect what the tube has gathered.

Ocean Cleanup claims its device could cut the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in half within five years. However, plastic pollution experts are skeptical on the expected effects, as they worry about how the installation may kill marine life, while being unable to catch smaller plastic particles.

Surely, doing nothing isn’t helping marine life either.

[post_title] => The Ocean Cleanup heads for the Pacific [post_excerpt] => The Ocean Cleanup claims its device could cut the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in half in five years. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-ocean-cleanup-heads-for-the-pacific [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-07 12:45:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-07 11:45:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91086 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81354 [post_author] => 1510 [post_date] => 2018-04-18 11:35:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-18 10:35:27 [post_content] => What if plastics one day become a rare commodity that we desire and mine from the depths of the earth’s crust? By that time, plastic would be a rather different material. Shahar Livne offers a fast-forward to this next nature, by artificially geomimicing metamorphisms. She shares with us her speculative material: the “lithoplast”.We sat down with Shahar Livne, an Israeli-born designer who graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. This week, she is showcasing her work at the Milan Design week. We spoke about her research into metamorphism as a design tool, and how this led her to envision the future of plastics. 

Material narratives through metamorphism

“I’m a material designer. I’m interested in the philosophical and cultural aspects of materials. I aim to use them to tell a story.” One of the many materials that may tell a story, are rocks. “Over time, rocks go through a lot of transformations inside the Earth.” One of these transformations, is metamorphism. “This is a natural process, resulting in natural rocks, through which I am uniquely able to tell a story.”The Earth’s history is told by the rock-layering of the earth’s crust. Humanity is uniquely present in that story, by leaving a global mark on our technosphere. The most prominent material-marker of humanity, are plastics.[caption id="attachment_81355" align="alignnone" width="640"] A lithoplast rock made by Shahar Livne[/caption]

Exploring plastics

“Plastic is the first man-made material that we have changed on a molecular level. Plastics are made from the natural material of oil, and were developed to imitate and enhance nature." “I drew upon an essay by Koert van Mensvoort, and was particularly inspired by the concept of Hypernature. I think plastic is a hypernatural material. With plastics, we’re able to model and control nature.”Plastics are made to be durable, and may survive much longer than we had imagined. There is no place in the world that is free from plastics anymore.” Despite our efforts of recycling, and cleaning up the oceans, plastics will most likely be a future fossil. Shahar dares to accept this scenario and explores what this future may look like.
"Plastic is a hypernatural material"
Nature is already taking plastic into itself. At some point, plastic hybridized with natural materials.” The first example of this hybrid material, are ‘plastic conglomerates’. These are nature-made-rocks that harbor pieces of plastic within them. These have gone through the earliest stages of the rock-cycle, similar to the process by which dead shellfish pressurize into limestone, making up the iconic white cliffs of England. However, it's possible that materials like rock or plastic stay within the earth’s crust for longer. This is when the natural process of metamorphism takes place. Under high pressures and temperatures, limestone may turn into marble, or charcoal turns into diamonds.“I wondered, could plastics last through the full rock-cycle? So, I started talking to geologists. They agreed that our plastics will most probably one day be metamorphosed.”“That vision of the future, is what grasped me. That’s how I got to my speculative material version of the future. A newly created material: the lithoplast.”
"Nature is already taking plastic into itself. At some point, plastic hybridized with natural materials"
[caption id="attachment_81362" align="alignnone" width="640"] Shahar shares: “I had never expected that people would be so eager to touch the lithoplasts. The moment they pick it up their faces are almost always fully surprised. People expect a heavy material like a stone, but plastic is a lot lighter.”[/caption]

Presenting the future of plastics

“To make the lithoplast, I’m geomimicing something that doesn’t happen in nature just yet.”“In natural settings, I expect that all kinds of plastics will metamorphose together with other minerals. To mimic this, I mix the plastics with minestone and marble dust. This distinguishes my method from 3D printing, where you can only use certain types of plastics and have to divide them yourself.”“To mimic metamorphism, I have access to a huge press. This machine can expose my mix to such high pressures and temperatures that the material completely changes. The material stretches, and becomes malleable.”Malleability is a celebrated characteristic of plastics; you can make it into any form you like. “However, the timespan for molding plastics in traditional methods, industrial plastics and 3D printers, only lasts a few seconds. This time-frame makes plastic inherently a machine-made material.”
"In the future, we may rediscover this beautiful material of our wasted plastics, and start mining them"
“What I discovered, is that through my method of metamorphism, the lithoplast stays malleable for much longer. We think this happens due to the mixture I use.  This unique aspect allows me to mold the material by hand - as if it is clay. This interaction with the material, is much more like craftmanship.” Her next-material may envision a goldsmith of the future: the plastic smith!Her work envisions a more positive view on our waste culture. “What I think will happen, is that we will reach a point where we won’t be able to make plastics anymore. At that point, we may rediscover this beautiful material of our wasted plastics, and start mining them.”“When I tell people that I’m not recycling plastics, but envisioning a far future with fossilized plastics in it, some people may get angry. I think that makes sense: many of us put a lot of effort into recycling our plastics, we simply don’t want to see our plastic waste become a part of nature. I want people to start thinking differently about plastics, on a larger timescale.”[caption id="attachment_81363" align="alignnone" width="640"] The malleability of the lithoplasts, allows Shahar to hand-make objects, like a craftsman.[/caption]

Milan design week

Shahar is excited to present her work during Milan design week. She’ll be doing two exhibitions as part of her metamorphism research. “Firstly, I’m invited by the organization of Ventura Future to exhibit in their collection on future materials and technologies. Here, I will be treating the lithoplasts like clay, and make vases with them, that either are ‘rough’ or really ‘fine’. So, the vases change in meaning from looking really natural to looking really synthetic.”“I’m also exhibiting with Dutch Invirtuals, a design collective. One of their exhibits is exploring the future of mining, and is part of the exhibition “Mutant Matter”. Here I will present the lithoplast like altars, to illustrate the idea that we could also be worshipping plastics instead of wasting them.”

The future of the lithoplast

In the future, Shahar hopes to publish her research on metamorphism in book form. Her graduation research will be a part of this. “This research will explore our perceptions on the natural-born and man-made, our cultural uses of plastics, and I’ll research the idea of craftsmanship.” Her favorite part of her designs, lies in the dialogue it invites. “I'm now developing a methodology on material research and design, whilst doing my residency at the ‘materials experience lab’ at TU Delft. I realized that what I like most about my materials such as the lithoplasts, is how I can ask people lots of questions with it.”“One of my favorite questions I like to ask people about my work is: 'If we are natural, and we are making plastic, then is plastic not a natural material?' Think about it.Thank you Shahar Livne, for sharing your viewpoints with us! We are looking forward to your exhibit in Milan, and the many more next-materials you may make. [post_title] => Interview: Designer Shahar Livne is geomimicing the future of plastics [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => interview-shahar-livne [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-20 10:53:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-20 09:53:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81354 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81346 [post_author] => 1605 [post_date] => 2018-04-17 08:36:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-17 07:36:53 [post_content] => Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process.“What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” said McGeehan. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.”About 1m plastic bottles are sold each minute around the globe and, with just 14% recycled, many end up in the oceans where they have polluted even the remotest parts, harming marine life and potentially people who eat seafood. “It is incredibly resistant to degradation. Some of those images are horrific,” said McGeehan. “It is one of these wonder materials that has been made a little bit too well.”However, currently even those bottles that are recycled can only be turned into opaque fibres for clothing or carpets. The new enzyme indicates a way to recycle clear plastic bottles back into clear plastic bottles, which could slash the need to produce new plastic.“You are always up against the fact that oil is cheap, so virgin PET is cheap,” said McGeehan. “It is so easy for manufacturers to generate more of that stuff, rather than even try to recycle. But I believe there is a public driver here: perception is changing so much that companies are starting to look at how they can properly recycle these.”The new research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, began by determining the precise structure of the enzyme produced by the Japanese bug. The team used the Diamond Light Source, near Oxford, UK, an intense beam of X-rays that is 10bn times brighter than the sun and can reveal individual atoms.The structure of the enzyme looked very similar to one evolved by many bacteria to break down cutin, a natural polymer used as a protective coating by plants. But when the team manipulated the enzyme to explore this connection, they accidentally improved its ability to eat PET.“It is a modest improvement – 20% better – but that is not the point,” said McGeehan. “It’s incredible because it tells us that the enzyme is not yet optimised. It gives us scope to use all the technology used in other enzyme development for years and years and make a super-fast enzyme.”Industrial enzymes are widely used in, for example, washing powders and biofuel production, They have been made to work up to 1,000 times faster in a few years, the same timescale McGeehan envisages for the plastic-eating enzyme. A patent has been filed on the specific mutant enzyme by the Portsmouth researchers and those from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.One possible improvement being explored is to transplant the mutant enzyme into an “extremophile bacteria” that can survive temperatures above the 70C melting point of PET – the plastic is likely to degrade 10-100 times faster when molten.Earlier work had shown that some fungi can break down PET plastic, which makes up about 20% of global plastic production. But bacteria are far easier to harness for industrial uses.Other types of plastic could be broken down by bacteria currently evolving in the environment, McGeehan said: “People are now searching vigorously for those.” PET sinks in seawater but some scientists have conjectured that plastic-eating bugs might one day be sprayed on the huge plastic garbage patches in the oceans to clean them up.“I think [the new research] is very exciting work, showing there is strong potential to use enzyme technology to help with society’s growing waste problem,” said Oliver Jones, a chemist at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and not part of the research team.“Enzymes are non-toxic, biodegradable and can be produced in large amounts by microorganisms,” he said. “There is still a way to go before you could recycle large amounts of plastic with enzymes, and reducing the amount of plastic produced in the first place might, perhaps, be preferable. [But] this is certainly a step in a positive direction.”Prof Adisa Azapagic, at the University of Manchester in the UK, agreed the enzyme could be useful but added: “A full life-cycle assessment would be needed to ensure the technology does not solve one environmental problem – waste – at the expense of others, including additional greenhouse gas emissions.”This story is republished from The Guardian. Read the original piece here. [post_title] => Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => mutant-enzyme [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-19 11:46:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-19 10:46:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81346 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81132 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2018-03-26 09:09:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-26 08:09:41 [post_content] => Mon dieu! The swirling pile of trash in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an exponential rate. A recent study has estimated that the mass of the garbage island is four to sixteen times bigger than previously thought, and is now three times the size of France.From its invention in 1907, plastic and plastic-derived chemicals have worked their way into the rungs of every food chain on Earth. Plastic might be the newest nutrient in the planet’s ecosystems, but so far, nature has yet to find a use for it.Watch the explainer below and learn more about the exponential growth of this plastic superpower. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=160&v=0EyaTqezSzs[/embed] The only sensible way to think of plastic is as a raw Next Nature material, waiting for its balancing counterpart to evolve.Nature changes along with us, and nature made by people is as wild and unpredictable as the old nature preceding us. Yet, in line with our position as catalysts of evolution, it seems sensible to endeavor to steer towards a balance that is considerate of our own interests and those of our fellow species. Designing plastic eating microbes, if we must.Have thoughts? Let us know in the comments below! [post_title] => The Great Pacific garbage "patch" is now three times the size of France [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => plastic-patch-france [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-17 11:38:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-17 10:38:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81132 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 79869 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2018-02-19 12:36:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-19 11:36:43 [post_content] => What to do about the plastic planet? The seas are steadily filling up with plastic, and it's vital to find ways to address the problem. One way to do this is to move away from plastic usage towards more sustainable, eco-friendly materials. And that's just what Indonesia-based company Evoware wants to do. Their proposed alternative? Seaweed.

Two birds with one stone

Indonesia is the world's second worst offender in terms of dumping plastic into the sea. 90% of their plastic ends up in the ocean. And 70% of that waste comes from food and beverage packaging. The problem, clearly, is a big one.Indonesia is also the largest producer in the world of seaweed. Seaweed farming is a big industry in the country, but its size has not translated to great economic conditions for the farmers themselves. Many of the producers of this major export live in poverty.Evoware hopes that their scheme could contribute to solving both of these issues. They want to work with the country's seaweed farmers to create biodegradable packaging from their produce. According to them, it could not only reduce plastic waste in the country, but provide a big boost to the livelihoods of Indonesia's impoverished farmers.

Going Green: Packaging you can drink

If that already sounds too good to be true, the packaging itself has its own practical wonders. Evoware isn't aiming to replace all plastic usage with seaweed. Obviously, it wouldn't be the right material for sturdier applications. Instead, they're focusing on smaller products such as food sachets and wraps, and packaging for other small products like bars of soap.For these purposes, they've created two varieties of seaweed-based material. One is biodegradable, and designed for use with non-food products. Unlike plastic, consumers don't need to worry about where it will end up after use.The other variety is the really interesting one. Designed for use with food products, it dissolves in warm water and is completely edible even in its non-dissolved state. Rather than pouring the contents of a seasoning sachet into your noodles, you can simply throw in the whole thing. You can leave your tea-bags in, since they'll simply dissolve anyway. And if you receive a burger wrapped in the edible material, you can either take it off or simply bite straight through.Evoware say the seaweed-based bioplastic doesn't taste like much. In fact it's almost tasteless and odorless. And apparently it's pretty good for you, too, containing high amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. So eat and drink away!A lot needs to be done to deal with plastic waste across the world today. But technologies like this, which create a synergy between environmental conservation and personal convenience, are always steps in the right direction. Can we solve environmental issues while continuing to improve the quality and convenience of our everyday lives? Anything is possible. [post_title] => Edible packaging: Seaweed could replace plastic in disposable packaging [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => edible-packaging-seaweed-plastic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-19 12:36:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-19 11:36:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=79869/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 122108 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2019-10-01 10:00:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-10-01 09:00:25 [post_content] =>

ADE Green returns for the seventh consecutive year to the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam. Once more, Amsterdam Dance Event organizes this leading event to ignite sustainable action, innovation and social change through the (electronic) music industry. The result is a tasty mix of local heroes and global game changers that unite to answer pressing questions from within the music industry — and beyond.

To give you an idea, the conference asks whether it's possible (and how) to keep your ecological footprint in restrain when you pursue an international career, or book artists from abroad and organize events in different part of the world.

Sure, the rise of electronic dance music has helped to reduce the amount of equipment and band members being flown around the globe, but the biggest contributors to the industry’s carbon emissions remains touring and festivals — and not to mention audiences flying in. So what’s being done about that?

Elon Musk for one, thinks we should be using lithium-ion batteries for electric flights?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx3auTD85Fw

And what about the use of plastic during events? For years now, festivals, cup-suppliers and drinks brands are collaborating to create a circular cup system and create awareness among visitors. What are the lessons learned and how could the system be improved and expanded? ECO Coin anyone?

What it comes down to is this. There is an urgent need for a more sustainable music and event industry, but in order to establish such a thing, we need new ideas. These ideas then need a platform, an audience, and a network opportunity to be dealt with. It's exactly this that ADE Green is providing this year.

And if you’re already organizing a conference that flies in a lot of people — at least dedicate some time to sustainability.

What? ADE Green Conference
When? 18 October 2019
Where? DeLaMar Theater, Amsterdam

? Get a closer look at the full program here.
?️ Tickets for ADE Green can be purchased here.

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