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EXAMPLE

The problem: Soils contaminated around mines and industries, fly ash from the incineration of municipal solid waste, ash of the plants used for phytoremediation: all those solids are full of precious (so they should be recovered) and toxic (so the solids should be cleaned) metals. But it is currently not profitable, so no one wants to do it if regulations do not make it mandatory. Inspiration from Nature: What kind of systems do living organisms resort to when they want to extract...

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In many countries, there is a room dedicated to social life, for instance to receive hosts that are not so close to you. In many countries blessed with a warm weather, people enjoy spending their evenings (and also part of their day) in the yard in front of the house, on the side of the street where you stroll and relish in this serene but living atmosphere. Both facts emphasize the fact that the gap between the closed, intimate, comfortable, selfish private home and the open, distrustful,...

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INTERESTING

"Jugaad" is an Hindi term that means "System D" in French, or a smart, simple and low cost solution to a tricky problem. Jugaad innovation has been hailed as a promising alternative to our high-tech, high-cost paradigm. And India is at the forefront of this new trend: at the last Solar Decathlon, their house had cost a mere $3,000. Why embracing it? Because even European middle classes are hit by the crisis; because simple and cheap is easily close to environmentally-friendly; because good...

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Growing vegetables on your roof, but what about proteins ? Austrian designer Katharina Unger has created a device that allows you to raise Black Soldier Flies (the voracious larva !) right in your kitchen, turning food scraps into proteins. And if you are not ready to eat insects, fish or chickens love it - and urban agriculture will anyway need to include them and feed them. What about the residue ? Feed it to worms (more proteins! or excellent gardeners in your vegetable plot) or use it...

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People are wary of upgrading their house, or buying an eco-friendly house, because they do not know it: it may be too complex to live in, too demanding, too expensive... So as with everything new, let them try! A company offering to rent eco-friendly houses for holidays in popular locations, and not pricing them too high, would be a way to let people try when they are relaxed and only for a limited period.  Similarly, providing student accomodation in eco-friendly buildings would allow...

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WINNER BRONZE AWARD

Summer arrives on Lausanne, and picking up some nice take-away food to go and eat on the beach is tempting. But you will be given awful things : disposable forks or spoons, paper napkin, greasy cardboard plates, etc. Won't your environmental conscience torture you after that?! Let us consider a sheet of a new kind of flexible plastic, the surface of which imitates shark skin to be almost self-cleaning. This sheet can be shaped as a plate, with or without a guard on the edge, or as a bowl,...

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INTERESTING

Sad fact : even in the environmental engineering section, today I had to pick up four PET bottles thrown into the dustbin while the PET bin was... behind the door. How can we make people care more about recycling ? Let us create shrieking bins.  The garbage bin shrieks when the detector at the entry recognizes PET, glass or the alloy of an aluminum can. The PET/can/glass bin shrieks when the detector detects that something is thrown away and is not PET/can. Why could it be an educating...

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Gathering some of the nicest ideas of this challenge, let us set up an orchestra that would tour the world performing a hymn to recycling and smart energy recovery. 1) All instruments will be made out of recycled materials. 2) All instruments will somehow recover energy : drums and percussion would turn shocks into energy (Alexandre's idea : "Do sports, get your cellphone charged"), piano would turn clicking into energy (Pierre's idea : "Typing powered keyboard"), string instruments...

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Partially adopted

This may seem an antithesis, but if well done it might have a positive impact. The idea comes from two considerations : 1) What is (one of) the nightmares of recycling companies ? Organic contamination : remaining cream on your yoghurt tub, patches of tomato sauce on the pizza-box, grease on crisp packs... 2) Companies try to save resources (and costs) by making packaging lighter and lighter. But you still need some mechanical resistance. So let us dissociate what actually wraps the...

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Partially adopted

One of the main environmental problems is that it's easier/cheaper/more normal to buy a new product than to repair the old one. But think of the occasions on which you thought : why not repairing it ? But you need pieces, skills, tools, time, etc. So what if a chain of fashionable repair shops would open stores/workshops where either you pay a small fee for using the tools and pieces that would be neatly stored there, or a bigger one for an skillful employee to do it for you ? It would...

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Alicia Gayout

Joined this community on May 13, 2014

Bio As a Master 2 student in environmental engineering, I am passionate about all the creative initiatives that strive to achieve a fairer and more sustainable world. Biomimicry is one of these ambitious paths, and I'm glad to help fellow students discover its huge potential!

School
EPFL

Status
Student (bachelor or master)

Faculty (EPFL only)
Architecture/Civil/Environment (ENAC)

Age
18-25

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2
Points
2776

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