Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives
For more information please visit the website and contact Ayumi Matsuzaka. http://dycle.org/
This year the world celebrates 60 years of disposable diapers. It started as a successful investment by the Swedish Government: to promote quality of life for all, as well as gender equality reducing the burden especially on working mothers. The other major investment undertaken by the farsighted Swedish Government of the time was food packaging that has now become known as Tetra Pak. Both inventions led to creating a few billionaires. Society, however, has as a result become mired in an endless waste stream, one of excessive proportions. The well-intended desire to innovate led to consequences that were unforeseen, unintended and now completely out of proportion.
This year we celebrate The Year of the Diaper with the design a new business model for the diaper industry. It is not about substituting one kind of diaper with another. That has been tried and has failed many times. It is about changing the way we design business, respond to basic needs and ensure quality of life, while building community, generating jobs, turning cities liveable, creating an abundance of fresh fruit, and returning richness to soil. And, by the way, also massively reducing carbon emissions!
It all starts with mothers' milk
When a mother breastfeeds, the baby’s urine and feces are of an extraordinary quality and quantity. A great variety of micro-organisms and substances are released after digestion and these contain energy, or life force. This is, after all, the core for building an immune system that is to protect a person’s health for his or her entire lifetime. It also allows for new life to emerge. Therefore one should never denigrate this rich source of materials (used diapers and their content) as a waste problem. We are committed to reorienting the flow of this high quality mix of materials and to transform it. Transform it in such a way that it provides families with an abundance of fresh fruit – for generations to come
The From-the-Bottom-Up Project
The From-the-Bottom-Up Project empowers us to redesign a city, by creating a remarkable fruit belt surrounding an urban environment, providing – within a single generation – millions of tons of a rich variety of highly nutritious, seasonal fruit, adding to the biodiversity of the region. The supplies of fruit, berries and nuts will be rolled out with planting and harvesting in tune with the cycles of Nature. This will attract more bees, more birds and offer more joy. At the same time, this project will allow for the creation of a spirit of community seldom seen in modern history – where everyone in the area will get to know each other, and will know the names of every baby who is contributing in their area.
This may seem like a vast undertaking. However, the start is very simple. The process requires a business model that has all the elements needed to redesign a city over time – starting with the creation of a community. This is a fresh look at the reality of both the problems and the needs of citizens. The ecosystem allows for the design of an initiative that is so effective and efficient that diapers can be offered for free. We envision one local assembly plant per 1,000 babies. This will generate jobs while money is created by the sale and planting of trees on land provided by citizens and by the city. How is this überhaupt possible (how could this ever be possible)?
Cooperatives at the Core
We envision that at the core of this positive yet radical transformation lies a small cooperative, consisting of 100 families. Mapping software has indicated that in vibrant cities, in every circle 800 m in diameter, there will be a approximately of 100 babies. This measuring process can be repeated hundreds – and in a megalopolis – even thousands of times. We create the network of the networks based on babies and their families. Parents and grandparents who participate in the "Free Diaper Initiative" agree to picking up their free supply and dropping off used diapers at a central point every Saturday. Parents are also encouraged to bring organic kitchen waste in biodegradable plastic bags as both materials are needed to convert these natural resources into black earth, also known as terra preta: the secret of highly productive farming by the Incas and the Vikings.
Parents are encouraged to change diapers as often as is needed, and not to wait an extra hour to save on diapers. Yes, we do encourage parents to get up for diaper changes frequently at night – according to their baby’s feeding and weaning cycle – to ensure their baby has a bottom that is clean and dry but without reliance on these superabsorbents that only weather, and hardly degrade. In this way the risk of an infant getting a urinary infection, that is painful and may even lead to infertility, is minimized.
Commit to Planting 1,000 Trees
There is no cost for the new diapers families receive when they return the soiled ones. All that is required is that every family commits to selling and planting 1,000 fruit trees every year. Everyone will receive the necessary training to so. The total mass generated and the amount of black earth produced in a year amounts to an astounding one ton per baby. This will provide enough carbon-rich soil to plant one thousand fruit trees.
During the trial phase in Berlin, families offered to pay for the diapers even when not required to do so. We encourage people who want to pay to donate the money to the 100 Babies Cooperative (or as we like to call it: The Fresh Fruit Generation.) These funds are not to be used for the project, but is rather allowed to accumulate to serve as a guarantee for investments in the future. On the basis of our pilot study a cooperative of 100 families can accumulate approximately €1.2 million within 25 years…and this only through voluntary contributions for the diapers.
From Scarcity to Abundance
All City official we approached are keen to contribute to the process. There are for two reasons for this. In the first place, decreasing the amount of diapers that end up in landfills (as diapers currently form 5-6% of landfills), and secondly, the conversion of soiled diapers to black earth saves money. The simple collection system used cuts down on transport costs, reducing the excessive load of lorries shipping diapers in and out of the urban zone, nearly all imported from overseas. Available land is used to grow large numbers of trees that will offer fruit for many decades, even for generations to come. If 1,000 families pursue these goals over 25 years, 25 million trees will be planted. If each tree offers on average 50 kg of fruit, the yield will be one million tons of fruit every year. We have clearly shifted from scarcity to abundance. We embraced a new era for The Commons, where what is good and necessary is for free.