By Sarah Jane
Visual Communication: The Environmental Impact of PVC Vinyl
This infographic was part of a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) project I undertook about PVC vinyl . I compared the environmental impact of a PVC vinyl banner to that of a comparable banner made of organic cotton canvas.
This LCA looked at all aspects of environmental impact, from the mining of the metal for the grommets to the petroleum in the inks used for printing. I also calculated the transportation miles for all the elements of the final product.
During the course of the project, I learned how destructive PVC materials are to the ecosphere. PVC is the number 1 producer of dioxins in the environment. It is toxic to make and toxic to dispose of. Once manufactured, there are few options to recycle PVC, and it continues to break down, off-gas and produce environmental toxins throughout its time on Earth.View Entire Report
By Sarah Jane
This is a storytelling graphic depicting the supply chain of denim jeans as viewed through the sustainability principles of The Natural Step Framework.
It illustrates the four system conditions of the NSF, which state:
To become a sustainable society we must …
1. eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust (for example, heavy metals and fossil fuels)
2. eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of chemicals and compounds produced by society (for example, dioxins, PCBs, and DDT)
3. eliminate our contribution to the progressive physical degradation and destruction of nature and natural processes (for example, over harvesting forests and paving over critical wildlife habitat); and
4. eliminate our contribution to conditions that undermine people’s capacity to meet their basic human needs (for example, unsafe working conditions and not enough pay to live on).
These system principles are represented by what I refer to as system condition “short” names:
By Sarah Jane
This project involved strategizing, conceptualizing and visually communicating a solution to address the issue of Peak Oil. My solution was an electric vehicle carpool for commuters. Participants could choose a route and passengers via an iPhone app, website or by phone. Each car would have an assigned driver to pick up all riders, drop them at their respective locations, and then park the car for charging. At the end of the day, the driver would reverse the route, picking up the riders and returning them home. The car would then be stored in a garage for charging and maintenance.
Below is a mind map of the strategy.
Visual Communication: Sustainable Systems Flow Graphic
This graphic was created as part of a community development project (that I will post soon). It visually illustrates some of the problems and sustainable solutions that were applied to the project. The graphic deplicts sustainable issues in design, development and production phases of the project.
Waste = Food: Systems Solution for Pet Waste
This was a project focused on finding a solution to the issue of pet waste by focusing on the principals of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) which requires the use of Systems Thinking. While there are existing dog waste collection services in some areas of the country, this system is different as it is not a residential (door to door collection) option, it utilizes public space collection. This community based- neighborhood by neighborhood- supported pet waste recycling system encourages direct community participation and convenience. Pet waste would be gathered at public “Clean Pet” Stations. The stations would supply corn based bio-bags for use to pick up waste. Residents would place collected waste in the nearest corner bin. Bins would be located strategically throughout neighborhoods and at public parks.
This concept “public” placement would solve several current issues with dog waste. The convenience would encourage people to use the system- drop it in the bin while on the daily walk. It would help eliminate the environmental hazards of dog walkers who do not pick up their dogs waste, either because they don’t have a bag handy or because it is inconvenient to carry the bag (such as when running or biking). Using stations instead of residence pick up will simplify the collection process. Each collection route would contain only 10-12 pick up locations that could easily be made with electric flatbed trucks which would be considerably more sustainable than the use of large, fuel based garbage trucks that would be required for residence collection. The collected waste would be taken to a collection facility shared with the cities lawn waste compost and would be put in a methane digester and used to create fuel for city recycling services. The remaining waste would be composted into lawn and garden compost and sold at local garden stores or through the city. Our city offers residents wood chips for a small fee. This compost could be offered in a similar way.
- “Clean Pet” stations would be positioned strategically throughout the neighborhood on street corners and at local parks.
- Stations would consist of a receptacle for the waste and a dispenser for bio-bags. All parts of the system would be manufactured from recycled plastic.
- Pet owners retrieve bags from station dispensers.
- Pet owners use bags to collect waste and deposit it into the station receptacle.
- Waste would be collected and bags refilled on a weekly basis.
- Electric powered flatbed trucks would be used for collection.
- Each collection “route” would be 10-12 stops. This would allow for small vehicle size and short distance routes compatible with the Electric Vehicles.
- Waste is taken to methane digester for two week processing.
- Methane obtained is used for energy to power city recycling activities.
- Remaining waste from methane digestion is composted with grass clippings and saw dust to create compost
- Compost is bagged and sold to residents and at local garden stores.
C2C – Cradle to Cradle
materials processing – Use solar income – Sun is used to heat the compost.
object creation – Create energy and nutrition for soil.
object transport – Small routes encourage the use of Electric vehicles
object use – Energy production for systems
object end of life – Nutrients for the earth