The Landfill of the Future

(from Hakai Magazine: Photo by vchal/Shutterstock, illustration by Mercedes Minck)

I’ve been in pretty dire need of more optimistic stories lately, and this piece in Hakai Magazine is a good start. A look at 3F Waste Recovery, a Newfoundland start-up that repurposes waste from fishing, farming, and forestry to create consumer products, it touches on circular economies; creative re-use of waste materials; resilient communities; and embracing experimentation and failure as paths to learning; all in a very grounded, practical context. The headline frames it as a utopian sci-fi concept brought to life, but I appreciated how the article itself acknowledges the role the community’s own historical practices played in developing 3F’s vision:

Lynch bristles at the notion that this model is anything new. “It’s talked about as this brand-new idea, and it’s not,” Lynch says. “And so the history of it matters.”

It also made me think of this piece from Low Tech Magazine‘s “Obsolete Technology” series on urban fish ponds as a surprisingly efficient and sustainable form of sewage treatment. That one’s a fair bit more academic, and the subject matter is even more squeamish than the 3F piece (which still gets into fish guts and other unsavory topics), but it was also one of the most memorable pieces I read last year. It’s also on a solar-powered website that contains a handy weather forecast for its local area so you can see when it might have to go offline. Very cool.