In week 2.2 the current sub-system and relevant trends, initiatives etc. were analyzed, which gave the project group a good insight in all challenges in waste/material streams on Texel. After diverging, it is now important to converge to come up with a design to make Texel more sustainable and bring them closer to the goal to become a self-supportive island, which eliminates risks of being dependent of the mainland.
If Texel wants to become self-supportive, material streams must remain on the island to close loops and convert waste into valuable resources. Since energy supply is limited our group does not think it is feasible to build a recycling or incineration plant, since these facilities require energy to convert waste into valuable resources while there is already an energy shortage. Besides, according to the ladder from Lansink prevention and re-use have lower environmental impact and are therefore more desirable strategies for waste management as seen in week 2.2. This leads to the question: What is the most promising strategy for Texel to become self-supportive considering materials and waste?
The Cradle to Cradle philosophy believes in keeping the bio-cycle and techno-cycle apart from each other. The renewable resources you take from the earth must be given back to the earth to keep eco-systems in balance. Mixing these cycles, as done in the Coca-Cola plant bottle which is made of plants for 35%, would mean that you cannot return what you have taken from the earth since plant material is mixed with plastic. Although reusing, refurbishing and sharing services for products that lasts could be solutions to lower the impact of the techno-cycle materials, techno-materials often come from the mainland since the island does not provide these resources. You can prevent dependence on techno-cycle material by substituting this by products made of materials of the biocycle. Instead of dealing with the waste (short-term solution), you prevent the waste from coming in which is more sustainable on the long-term. As Huang (2009) explains in the article on Eco-islands renewable materials should be regulated, efficiency must be improved, waste generated must be lowered and import/export must be controlled. Waste is a treat to eco-sytems (Huang, 2009), since there is not enough energy supply and space for proper waste disposal. This makes biodegradability important. These ambitions all indicate a preference to create closed bio-cycle systems. The lower the dependence on the techno-cycle by replacing this with bio-cycle solutions, the more self-supportive Texel is able to become.
Therefore our group believes that the answer on the research question: ‘How can the waste streams of Texel be improved to become as C2C as economically feasible?’ lies within the bio-cycle of the C2C philosophy. This makes the Blue Economy strategy interesting, which looks at what is locally available to create a healthy and happy society and environment. Blue economy not only strives towards a balance with nature, it also boosts local employment and local economy by using local resources only.
To make blue economy interesting for Texel, our groups want to find bio-cycle closed loop systems for the five biggest industries: hospitality industry, shops, farming, research and health. Especially the combination of horeca, farming and research promises opportunities considering existing blue economy examples such as Rotterzwam (http://www.rotterzwam.nl/) and Gro (http://www.gro-holland.com/werken-bij-gro/ ) already have proven to be effective. Here coffee waste of households or restaurants is collected as a soil to grow mushrooms on; these mushrooms are used as food for people or animals. The mushrooms can even be used to produce mycelium, enzymes that function as resources for bioplastics, biofuels and biodigesters. The manure of animals or residual of the mushrooms can be transformed into composts which can fertilize soil to grow new resources on again.
To come up with a design, more information on Texel’s eco-system and available fauna and flora must be collected. Our goal is to do an interview with an ecologist on Texel, which can provide us with this information to inspire us to create new designs and closed loop systems.