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The “Closed Loop” Experiment

February 2, 2009

I am an industrial design student currently studying in Lund, Sweden. I decided to conduct this 5-month long experiment about sustainability to supplement my studio project. This experiment is designed to make myself step out of my comfort zone in the place I usually feel most comfortable… my home.

This is my logic:

In an ideal world, every house is essentially a “closed loop”. I use the phrase “closed loop” meaning that the input = the output. (Ex- a closed electrical circuit cannot produce more than the battery power that supplies it. In a closed ecological system, any waste produced is consumed by another species).

Each house is part of a neighborhood/surrounding area that is its own closed loop. Each neighborhood area is in a state which should be another larger loop. Each state in a country, each country in a continent… until eventually the world is a closed loop. Except, right now, the world is a closed loop..and that isn’t changing. Unless we wanna go the WALL-E route and start living in space.

But if every house is an open loop for example, its output is greater than a closed system can handle, so it needs an outlet of some kind (garbage). So if houses in neighborhoods in states in countries in continents on the planet are producing a greater output in one giant open system… where is it going? After all, the earth is a closed system.

So I decided to bring this idea home, literally, to really understand it.

Rules of the experiment:

Rule 1:  Waste = food
+ Everything brought into my apartment stays in my apartment except things that biodegrade and can directly return to the earth (ex-food, compost)

Rule 2:  Take in the trash
+ Never take out the trash.

Rule 3:  Recycle
+ Things that can be recycled locally like paper, plastics, and aluminum can be taken out of the apartment once a month.

Rule 4:  Repurpose
+ Only recycle things that cannot be used again! Always try to re-use anything before throwing it in the trash or recycling bin.

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