Waste
Waste

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How do you think the problem of waste generation can be solved by following the principles of permaculture?
How do you think the problem of waste generation can be solved by following the principles of permaculture?
Is it possible to live in the 21st century without producing any waste? In permaculture, any unused output is considered waste. If the output is unusable or dangerous, we probably shouldn't be producing it in the first place. If it is usable and we use it, it isn't considered waste anymore.
Permaculture aims to connect inputs and outputs so that different elements meet each other's needs. For example, if you save your kitchen waste and put it into a compost bin, you can make compost that can then be used to grow crops that you can eat. You save waste (kitchen scraps that produce methane in landfill sites and need transport to get it there), reduced external inputs (you don't need to buy compost), and increased yields (better soil, more crops, more worms.)
So the way to achieve zero waste in permaculture is by following the refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle, upcycle, and re-design protocol. These steps are the easiest. All you need to do is refuse to purchase items that produce waste. For example, refuse to buy prepackaged products; instead, get loose items and put them in your own long-lasting reusable bags. A good place to find fresh loose produce is at the farmer's market, where you are also directly supporting farmers. Farmer's markets often have everything you need, bread, cheese, fruits, veggies, milk, preserves, and the list goes on!





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Have you already replaced plastic bags with reusable bags?
Composting is a type of upcycling, which means transforming waste into a useful material of high quality to prevent it from being thrown away.
Upcycling is different from recycling because in recycling, the product has lower quality than the original it is usually not a zero waste process because new material must be mixed with the recycled material to maintain high quality. So in permaculture it is viewed as a last resort.
Another way is Bokashi composting. This is different from other types of composting because it is anaerobic, and the waste is not decomposed but fermented by special Lactobacillus bacteria. The fermented waste is fed directly to the soil and is consumed by the soil life within 2 weeks. The advantage of fermentation over decomposition is that none of the carbon in the food is released during the process, and all of it enters the soil food web. Another advantage is that meat and dairy can also be added, which are usually left out of other composting methods.
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Many people who don't have outdoor space think it is not possible for them to process their own organic waste. There are new methods being developed that help people compost indoors. Many of these are constantly being improved to make them easier and more convenient.
One method is having worm bins. There are many different types.
Alla is one of our students from Dilijan, Armenia. For her Climate Uturn Program project, she decided to make a vermicompost that looks like furniture and is made of 100% sustainable materials, which is an original idea that we think no one else has done before. She has been using the first model she designed since the summer of 2022, and it works, but she needs to make a few improvements to the design to make it better and more convenient to use. You can check out her IG to see how it works.

Alla's composter
Bokashi composter
More high tech composers like Lomi also exist and the main advantage is that they can do the job in just a few hours without using a lot of electricity.

For people who live in apartments there is also the option of developing or joining community compost programs like Compost Queens that will supply you with containers and bokashi starter to collect food scraps and when your container is full they pick it up and take to local farmers that use them to make compost to grow your food.





Imagine how great it will be if every building combines all the food scraps from each apartment every 2 weeks and there are special trucks to collect from all buildings to take to farmers instead of the landfill. All that is needed is the effort to throw organic waste into a separate bin. If such a community compost program doesn't exist in your community, the next best option is finding people near you that compost and giving them your waste. Shareware makes this easy by telling you where the closest neighbor who does compost lives. The video below tells the story of the founders of Sharewaste, Thomas, and Ellie, who faced the problem of food waste and decided to create an app that connects people to solve the problem for themselves and for other people.
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Lomi composter
ShareWaste app
How do you think outdoor composting differs from home composting?
The 3 pile composting system is the most popular system for outdoor composting.

Some people prefer to make bins for the piles, which can be made from anything- sticks, pallets, wire, etc. Every week, the waste is moved from one bin to the next, which aerates the piles. If it doesn't rain, the piles should also be watered thoroughly. If the ratio of green to brown materials is close to 3:1, the compost will be ready in as little as 18 -21 days. Here is a list of what counts as green and brown waste.









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3 pile composting system
Inspired by the diversity of plants growing in a pile of woody debris in his grandmother's garden, a German man named Herrman Andrä developed a technique to get rid of large branches and logs of wood instead of burning them. These woody materials take longer (5-6 years) to compost, so they can't be added to compost bins. He decided to make mounds of branches and cover them with soil. As the branches slowly break down, they absorb water like sponges and then slowly release it to prevent the soil from drying. Now his method is very popular and is called Hügelkultur, which means mound culture.
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Imagine you want to introduce a compost system in your town/village. Which compost method will you choose?
In Noyemberyan, Armenia during their Climate Uturn Program Permaculture Greenhouse project, students faced the problem that there were a lot of weeds and bad soil in their greenhouse. To fix both of these problems at the same time, they used the sheet mulching method described in the soil module in the fall using cardboard and fall leaves. Sheet mulching is an example of lasagna composting on site, because the resulting compost doesn't need to be moved but is done on the planting site and immediately planted into when ready. In the spring the cardboard and leaved had broken down and they planted their seedling into the compost. On top of the cardboard they could also layer food waste, grass clippings, paper and other organic wastes. This layering is what gives the name lasagna composting.
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When entire cities decide to compost all organic waste, composting is done at industrial level. 90% of the organic waste produced in Cape Town, South Africa goes to the Reliance Compost Company. This waste is chipped using big machines and formed into rows which are left to compost and turned with big machines once a week to aerate. This is the most efficient way of making a lot of compost quickly. Many other cities around the world have compost most of their organic waste this way. San Francisco composts 255,500 tons of organic material each year which has reduced the amount of waste that reaches landfills by 60%.
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Would you compost organic waste?
If the described methods seem too complicated for you, there is a method of lazy composting, for which you only need to follow one rule: collect all organic waste outside, and nature will do the rest.
Composting this way takes longer because the waste receives less attention and care, but within a few months everything will decompose naturally.
Would you compost organic waste?
If the described methods seem too complicated for you, there is a method of lazy composting, for which you only need to follow one rule: collect all organic waste outside, and nature will do the rest. Composting this way takes longer because the waste receives less attention and care, but within a few months, everything will decompose naturally.
An alternative to composting organic waste is using it to make biogas. This can be done using the HomeBiogas system. Instead of the food waste resulting in methane production in landfills, methane is produced in a system where it can be collected and used for the kitchen stove.

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What did you learn: what solutions does permaculture offer to the waste problem?
What did you learn: what solutions does permaculture offer to the waste problem?
Discussion 3: Preparatory tasks
Book design is the art of incorporating the content, style, format, design, and sequence of the various components of a book into a coherent whole. In the words of Jan Tschichold, "methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve, have been developed over centuries. To produce perfect books, these rules have to be brought back to life and applied."

Front matter, or preliminaries, is the first section of a book and is usually the smallest section in terms of the number of pages. Each page is counted, but no folio or page number is expressed or printed, on either display pages or blank pages.