Audio: Waste Ecologies: The Landscape of Energy Cycling, Material Movements, and Resource Exchanges

The golden age of mass disposal is now being supplanted by the age of mass recycling. Managing waste production has become an economic and ecologic imperative.

Waste Ecologies: The Landscape of Energy Cycling, Material Movements, and Resource Exchanges

Trash Talk Public Lecture by Pierre Bélanger

Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design

Drawing from the Rust Belts of North America and Northern Europe to the megacities of West Africa and South Asia, this illustrated talk will chronicle how today's waste flows are forming and generating new, complex patterns of urbanization. The presentation will question the isolation of waste as a global urban problem and instead, consider its inseparability from major infrastructures--water, energy, and food production--as a way to unlock new synergies. Dr. Bélanger will propose a contemporary vision for the significance of waste in new urban ecologies for the 21st century.


0:01  Pamela Gerardi
Good evening. Thank you for coming. Thank you for not succumbing to the charms of Lady Gaga and being afraid of the snow. Tonight we have another in our talks, set of talks about trash. Our speaker tonight is Pierre Bélanger, who is a landscape architect and urban planner. He's also certified as a surface miner in Canada, and he's an associate professor here at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design teaches graduate courses on landscape infrastructure and urbanism in the fields of planning, design and engineering. He's the editor of Landscape Infrastructure published by the National Research Council of Canada and a recipient of the 2008 2009 Professional Prix de Rome, in architecture awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts. Combining knowledge from engineering and environmental sciences, Professor Belanger collaborates with public agencies, private landowners and regional authorities and a team of practitioners focused on the objectives of ecological durability and economic performance in the reclamation of regional systems and large urban landscapes. As we've been exploring in our series Trash Talk, the US has been experiencing increasing environmental controls, and an unprecedented reorganization of the municipal solid waste industry from mass disposal to mass recycling, Professor Belanger is going to be discussing waste urban systems. And he looks to how we can change things or design a better future through waste management. Without further ado, our speaker, please welcome Dr. Belanger.

2:06  Pierre Bélanger
Thank you very much, Pamela. As Pamela mentioned, my name is Dr. Belanger. I'm an associate professor at the Graduate School of Design. And, and I'm somewhat of a closet, garbage collector. Every time that I'm in front of a podium, it feels like I'm at a meeting. So I hope you don't mind if I'm just going to walk around and, and go wireless, to be able to engage in this conversation. What I'd like to do this evening with you is engage in a thought experiment, an idea that perhaps in many respects, in the discussions about trash waste, garbage recycling, that perhaps in the singular focus on waste itself as a cultural subject, as a public works department, that in many respects, were overlooking a number of connections, and interactions that we could engage with a much broader, but also at the same time, a much more telescopic understanding of waste itself as an intrinsic, essential and critical infrastructure to urbanization in the future. In other words, we can't live without waste. In fact, waste is our future. And despite all the indictments of North American culture, or even Western culture, for apparently over consuming and demonstrating extreme levels of wastage, I'd like to try to make the case that perhaps in many respects, we just need to reach certain levels of wasting to be able to understand how to be able to reintegrate them. And so the point is, in many respects, and I'm not the only one to mention this, for example, Henry Ford, in his manifesto Today and Tomorrow mentioned that, in fact, maybe we don't even waste enough. Obviously, there's an economic understanding to waste conditions, there's an infrastructural one. What I'd like to do is try to be able to go across a number of different dimensions of waste itself. And we'll bring in a couple of case studies of how one can begin to bring in an expanded understanding of waste itself from an economic one to an ecological one. And I would argue that at the same time, that this ecological perspective on waste might help unlock an extremely important aspect of North American economies right now, which completely overlook waste as an economic resource. I think it's fair to say at the moment with the current discussion that we have on waste is that we're just reaching a point at which we're beginning to see or understand waste itself as a resource. It's a relatively new thing as part of modern Western culture, and that there's a paradoxical condition of it, at least a question mark, in terms of understanding, well, could we actually potentially understand waste itself as a resource? Now, there's, as part of this observation, we can begin to understand that that notion has emerged over the past few years through a number of different texts, and a number of different perceptions. There's three books that I think are really important. You saw that The history of Shit by Dominique Laporte, written almost 20 years ago now, which recounts shit excreta, effluence excrements, as part of cultural imagination. It's a really great book. It's a short book, which, which I think is a really important characterization of the waste subject, if that's part of the cultural historical condition. There's another one at an expanded urban level book by landscape architect, Alan Berger called Drosscape in terms of understanding that we waste not only just objects, commodities products, but we also waste land. And so that conversation got urban with the book in 2006. I think these books are extremely important in terms of crafting, imagination and views of waste. But there's also I think, in many respects, a very practical and recent publication by the United Nations, believe it or not, the Global Atlas of Excreta that they just published in 2008. Literally, it's a Global Atlas, that maps out shit across the world. Because one of the number one problems across the world right now, in terms of

global ecologies is essentially an over abundance and accumulation of nitrogen and phosphorus downstream from cities along coasts. And one of ways of thinking beyond this and to resolve the situation is by diverting the biosolids, the waste waters, that are contributing to the overloading of nutrients that are creating dead zones along coastal areas around the world. That's why this biosolids and Atlas Excreta is important to us. It's worthwhile paying attention to these things. What I'm also trying to bring in is this notion that there is a historic, urban, biochemical and political dimension to waste, which we need to be able to understand how to be able to wire together because right now, most of the discussions about waste, as we know it, you say waste, we say recycling. And there's this understanding that we can solve the waste problem just simply through recycling. I would argue that the term cycling or even recycling is a misnomer, that perhaps actually we should be to be more accurate thinking about conversions transformation. Because in many respects, we're still living no matter what we're doing tonight, when you go home and take a shit. Tomorrow, when you actually finish your lunch and put things in a garbage can, that we're still working, living in the same mode, an industrial mode of extracting resources, processing them, producing them, consuming them, and wasting them. There's a kind of like linear and extremely closed line upon which all urban culture, Western urban culture depends on. And I would like to argue that there needs to be some mechanism by which there is a circulation, a circular economy that we can form, as opposed to a linear industrial one. Now, some of you may argue against this, that in fact, we've made tremendous improvements over the past 50 years. Sure, we can pick a fight after lecture, and we can have it out in the hallway. I'd like to make bring a case forward, that we haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg right now. And I think the reason why it's important is that if we find ourselves in somewhat difficult economic climate in the US, it's because there's one critical missing link right now. We're still locked in an industrial mode of production and consumption, that has not closed the loop on what we do consume. And in order to do that, I'd like to bring in a couple of cases to talk about that. If it's important to us right now, there is a landscape not of waste, but of accumulation that's been rendered visible through maps, through documentaries, whether or not we're talking about junk space and the orbital debris of satellites,Third World secondhand markets, all the way to dumping of subway trains from New York, off the coast of the New Jersey for the creation of artificial reefs, we have just begun to reach a moment in history in which we can actually see this landscape of accumulation. So before everybody starts to indict Americans for consuming too much, I would actually argue that we haven't consumed enough, we haven't wasted enough to actually bear effect, visual effect environmental effect. Now, you may say, we've done a lot of damage. Sure, in fact, I would actually argue we can do a lot more damage. And also, at the same time, one of the major turning points that two major turning points that I'd like to mention here in the early 1990s. This is a map of electronic waste, both the shadow waste as well as the formal waste, is that as a result of the the prohibition of the transnational movement of hazardous waste around the world. All of a sudden, the linear process of extraction, pro processing, production, consumption, and wasting, all of a sudden, that line has now been pushed back, and essentially looping back on us because essentially, we can't simply export wastes anymore. Now I'm going to use us we, in terms of the Western world, because the modernity of the Western world rests on the back of the Third World. secondhand goods, containers, leave every six hours from New York. Another turning point, which I think is extremely important for us in North America, in terms of changing certain practices, there are major effects within the garbage industry in New York. In 1993. There was a garbage barge Mobro 4000. It was coming from New York.

And unfortunately, there was no more disposal space and nobody was willing to accept it. And so they tried to take this barge down to North Carolina. They tried to take it down to Louisiana. They tried to take it down to Florida. They tried to take it to the Caribbean, and 9000 miles later, and eight months later, they still couldn't get rid of it. They brought it back to New York, they burned it. And they put the ashes in Ipswich. Through this timeline, through this timeline, that starts to begin to associate garbage handling across New York and across the East Coast, we begin to understand a major change that's occurred over the past 20 years, most of the garbage that was going to Fresh Kills. We know, approximately 12 years ago that they closed, Fresh Kills landfill, and they started to decommission it. There's a project by landscape architect James Conner at field operations in terms of the both remediation as well as the transformation of that landfill into a landscape. But what we're not seeing, or the question that raises so where is all that garbage going after they closed the world's largest landfill? Well, where did it go? Well, it's pretty clear that it went to a number of places because in the middle in the early 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency also created something called Subtitle D regulations, where essentially all landfills across the US essentially had to line their landfills underneath them with this really thick membrane of plastic. You can understand like all the shadow landfill operators across the US disappeared. Essentially, we're left with this major endowment of small shadowy landfills that we didn't know what to do with. But then there was three major landfill operators and waste management companies, Republic Services, Waste Management, Inc, that created what's called these mega landfills. And these mega landfills as a result of the subtotal, deregulations, they made these high tech, but extremely large landfills in order to receive all this garbage. This is the Carleton Farms landfill, just south of Detroit, approximately 60 acres. And there's another slide that's coming up here that I'll show that for a very specific reason after the closure of the Fresh Kills landfill. That Michigan itself actually became a magnet for urban wastes across the Midwest, as well as the Northeast Atlantic coast. All as a result of the closure of the Fresh Kills landfill, which essentially diverted and put pressure on a number of other landfills simultaneously. What I'd like to mention here, if this is a, if we've seen the number of turning points in the US and also arguably in Canada and North America, that in many respects that there's these turning points, that delta compared to some major changes that have been occurring in different parts of the world. One of the cases that I think is important to us in terms of understanding the role of waste as part of a larger economy, but also a larger ecology is a case of what's called some of you may know, a principle of industrial ecology, where waste is used as a resource from one industry is used as a resource for another industry. And where waste is essentially, whether or not it's waste products, or waste energy, is essentially either downcycled or upcycled. It works also for energy that's cascading from different energies from different industries. And that case, essentially begins with a small town in Denmark, a town called Kalundborg. Has anybody heard of this small town? Just west of Copenhagen? Has anybody ever heard of it? It's like revered as a model of industrial ecology. What should I say about this, one of the important aspects of it is that since the middle of the 1980s, it's been brought forth as a model by which we should reorganize industry. This is a diagram that's taken from the late 1980s. It's a book on industrial ecosystems, which essentially starts to characterize the interactions, synergies exchanges of different wastes, between different industries.

I went there over a period of about 10 years, five, six times back and forth, to be able to understand a little bit more about it. I'm not an economist, I'm not a garbage expert. In fact, I'm not even a waste expert. But what was interesting to me going back to this town, and I'll show you a few photographs, and in some context, to the city, is that ultimately, there was something else that was missing as part of the accounting of this so-called industrial ecosystem. And it's all the whitespace behind this diagram, geography. Nobody ever talked about the geography of this industrial ecology. nobody talked in fact about even take it further about the urbanism associated with it, the urban patterns and the urban densities associated with them. Nobody even talked about the environmental systems in which it located. In fact, most of literature, when you look this up, you won't even find an aerial map of where it is. Is that not important to this concept? I would argue that it is because this model of industrial ecology has been distributed worldwide, through something that you may know as eco industrial parks, or industrial ecosystems, it's been somewhat duplicated and copied over and over again. And what we're seeing now in this almost first generation of eco industrial parks is a lot of them are failing. And they're failing because they're used as these isolated islands of resource and waste exchange, as opposed to integrated into a much larger urban pattern. 

So let's go through this. One thing I'll mention that's at the center of this diagram. This power plant, two major major players here Asnæs Power Station, which was producing a lot of waste steam, a lot of waste fly ash, waste, gypsum, and Novo Nordisk. It's the largest producer of insulin, and their largest plant in the world is located in this small, the small town. Now, if you pay attention to these large circles here, and it's connected also to a large drywall factory, a large oil refinery, one of the smaller ones that we don't pay that much attention to is this lake that's nearby. In fact, it turned out over time, that Lake Tiso, which was in the vicinity of this industrial ecology, was extremely important. I'll take you through this case study that I call sheets should see how small Nordic nation is conquering the wastewater energy conundrum. 

So if you picture that diagram that we just saw in terms of these interactions, Kalundborg finds itself right here nestled as it got a natural harbor in these deep fjord. This map for those who know Denmark, not to confuse you but the map is purposely turned upside down. Copenhagen is to the east, so to the left here, so north is downwards. Lake Tiso is right here. Across all this All these lands are these medieval patterns of agriculture, which at first may not seem that significant, but we'll try to make the case that they are. And this is part of one of the main islands of the peninsula of, I'm sorry, one of the main parts of the of Denmark. So, just remember Kalundborg is right here. This notion about industrial ecology emerges in North America from a really important text by an industrial engineer called Robert Frosch, he wrote a text called Strategies for Manufacturing was for a special edition of Managing Planet Earth as part of Scientific American. Now, it's really interesting because he originally called the text Industrial Ecology. But because it didn't fit the titles that Scientific American one did for this issue, they canned it and called it Strategies for Manufacturing. His point about the ecological designation of this process was far beyond just about manufacturing. Now, his work drew heavily from the Odum brothers, Eugene and Howard, who developed theories of ecological systems were first one of the some of the first to develop, not necessarily a cybernetic understanding of systems themselves, but rather, they were particularly interested in flows and exchanges of materials. That's particularly important in the diagrams that did develop they that they developed as part of ecological systems theory, that there were more than just I guess, what you could call positivists, ones that believe that systems could resolve everything, right, MIT, I think was at the helm of systemic thinking. With some with people like Jay Forrester, for example, who was a consultant to The Club of Rome for the development, for example, their book Limits to Growth. If that's one camp of computer engineers that were prescribed, were describing the capacities and potentials of systems thinking. There was another group, the Odums are particularly interested lesson, this totalizing universalizing idea about systems but rather, they were interested in these flows, that ultimately, unlike industrial thinking, of closed systems, that you can control all the processes associated with production, that rather we should be thinking about open systems, that there's constantly flows and exchanges going through them. It's extremely that notion is extremely important to us. So all of a sudden, this diagram starts to look a little bit differently in terms of the work that economists and industrialists were reporting as part of this town. And so let's describe a little bit of context, that part of this area to understand how to be able to redraw that diagram, and how that allows us to understand a slightly different formulation of the waste subject. 

Let me just read through a series of photographs here. Kalundborg small town this is looking on the south side of the fjord of the deepwater fjord. It's a city that's been there for approximately 800 years. And a succession of different patterns of urbanization. There are a few things that occurred into the 20th century, early 20th century, right before the First World War. They were already developing on one of the mainlands of the three main areas of Denmark, they were already developing as a result of the shortage of space that they had, they were already developing incinerators where they're recycling the heat from the incineration process. This is just before 1910.

During and in between the two world wars, there was also a number of different practices that went hand in hand with the with these garbage handling and garbage incineration processes, from the conservation of resources, and of course, the absence of fuel based on certain embargoes, that this may seem a little bit funny to look back on. But in many respects, it's part of a conservation project to be able to not necessarily understand how to limit consumption, but rather how to be able to stretch the longevity of materials and resources. That's a very important distinction. And I'll bring that up because the whole discussion right now, in in our part of the world, is looking upon our so called behavior of overconsumption as opposed to focusing it more on extending and stretching the longevity of materials and resources. It's a very, very different connotation. And so these practices which were both formal and informal, were, were intended, and premised on that there was also something that began very early on. 

This is a photograph, that's a more recent photograph. But what occurred very early on is an understanding of the separation of different materials. At the base of it, the separation between organic materials and inorganic materials. Now that sounds like a really simple thing. And something that apparently we, we we do at the moment. But the whole notion about separation doesn't necessarily entail notions about conversion. And so what I'd like to mention is that the notion about separation of materials that's been in place for almost 100 years, also goes hand in hand with a number of different practices. Now, they've been engaged with a number of different even landfilling processes for a long time. For anybody who's ever been to Denmark, and has seen these medieval mounds, whether or not they were burying remains, families, or whether or not they were the residues from the clearing of farmland, this notion of accumulation, but the other aspect of rendering visible the accumulation of residues, the accumulation of waste was extremely important. This is a topographic expression of that waste accumulation, as opposed to separating out into large landfills. This practice for anybody who's been to Denmark, as well as there's different parts of Germany as well as Sweden, you'll find these littered across across the country. And that's essentially inherited from Viking modes of inhabitation where they would build these forts and ramparts based on the clearing of land, and the discarding of waste inside of topographic berms. So this is one footprint, just north of Kalundorg. And there's a number of these across the country, all this to say, and extremely dated and old practice. 

Now, one thing that radically changed everything in Denmark, and why then why this case and Kalundborg is so important is that they reached a point in which a certain energy mix, put pressure on the practices of both waste handling and waste generation and energy generation. So if you ask, Well, what is the relationship between waste and energy? Essentially, what happened is that they were relying on a series of nuclear power plants that they were building in the 1980s and 1990s. And one thing happened just that kind of like a height of the Cold War, is that in Greenland, which is of course, a territory of Denmark, there was an American base, the Thule Air Force Base, which had discovered in the early 1990s, that one of the planes went down and had nuclear warheads. They found out about this and all of a sudden across Denmark, nuclear power was out of the question from both political and cultural perspective. All of a sudden, what that did is it pushed back on the Danes to be able to understand what other sources of energy could they undertake. Now, what's interesting also, as part of the conversation of Denmark, right here, this kind of peninsula that comes out of comes out of the coast, the German coastline is that it also finds itself in between a very special political territory. Out of World War Two, the new world order that was that was intended to emerge also put Denmark in a very funny position in between, of course, the east and the west. And so also being cut off by the Germans by the, during World War Two, also forced them and turn this peninsula literally into this own political island. And as a result of the shortages of resources, not just in one historic period, but over almost a period of 100 years, they've been forced into developing a number of other methodologies. They've also had a tradition of remaining rather politically neutral. Of course, you got to understand here you find yourself in the middle of a political hot zone. You try to be friends with both sides. 

Now, let's fast forward to the present. What do they do today? What are their practices that are occurring now? And how do we start to redraw this diagram of what's happening in Kalundborg to be able to understand this expanded understanding of waste? Are they producing all the energy themselves? No, they're importing Chinese coal. This is the Asnaes power station, the Stat or the Statoil oil refinery. But one thing that's really important amidst these two major players as part of these waste exchanges, and Kalundborg finds itself right here, and Copenhagen right here. This is just a network diagram of their highways. And this is a diagram of the groundwater. This is where Lake Tissø. And the water question comes into the diagram about waste resources that they also find themselves with this is exactly the same map, like t so finds itself right here. kalundborg right there. I'm sorry. So Kalundborg right here and Lake Tissø right here. These in dark, are these groundwater lenses. Everybody in Denmark relies on groundwater. That's fundamentally different than the way that we're supplied water through pipes, where water comes from two or three watersheds over. Here's the implications, Danes live on top of the water they drink. They also have an especially important mechanism

of evaluating as well as monitoring water levels. They have a grid on every square kilometer of the entire country where they can monitor water levels and water quality online. Why is that important? Well, it turns out that in 1970s, there were visible rates of reduction of water in Lake Tissø.

Now, I'm just bringing these water facts so that you're, you understand that people are hyper aware of water levels everywhere. Just to give you an idea here, Massachusetts is about this size. I'll show you compare to map in a second. This is part of the map of the mapping of groundwater resources across Denmark, which is extremely important to them. Lake Tissø is right here, there is secondary groundwater lens that supports their water. So this cross sectional profile across Denmark is something that everybody's extremely aware of. Now, if we now understand that there are there's energy polity policies and energy politics that started to form notions about self dependency on energy, and also at the same time that there were hydrologic, politics and hydrologic realities that were important to this case, that there also are environmental policies that were happening, another and so we take the conversation, like a third level deeper here, with the creation of the world's first environmental Ministry of the Environment in Denmark. This is Gro Brundtland, who was head of the Brundtland Commission for the UN, which all of a sudden put together the number of environmental challenges for the for one of the very first times on a global level, that a number of different challenges, whether or not we're dealing with energy supply, emissions, whether or not we're dealing with wasting, and food resources, that they saw them as being inseparable. So they kind of like the importance of the objective of the Brundtland report in 1970, between 1970, 1972 is extremely important. Now, what's also extremely important is that for the first time, almost for the first time in environmental history, we begin to see and understand that the question about urbanization was seen less as a problem, and more as a kind of challenge as if it was part of a strategy. Now, it's important to us because for any of you that were born in the 1970s, or before, you understand that you grew up in a world, that you saw cities and urbanization as a problem by which we had to solve, come up with solutions to fix the problems that were generated by cities, by generated by urbanism, that are generated by population growth, that's ingrained in our thinking. But all of a sudden, at the the early 1970s moving into the 1980s, we began to see through this report, that there's this notion about the urban challenge, that urbanization could be seen as a strategy as part of a number of different issues that were emerging from population growth. It's an extremely important transformation that was occurring. 

This is an image of the the kilometer by kilometer grid that's spread across Denmark in terms of the monitoring of groundwater, it's literally taken offline, and people can monitor it at any time. There's a hyper awareness of it. Now, if we now begin to understand the environmental, the hydrologic and political aspects related to Kalundborg, we can begin to see that the industrial ecology that was happening primarily in this area in relationship with the supply of fresh water that they were receiving from layer two. So we can begin to see it more as a pattern of urbanization of fjord urbanization that we find all over Denmark. And it's interesting is that this pattern of fjord urbanism is something that has been developing strategies for waste handling, and also for topographic change. 

This is a map of Kalundborg. In this case, it's flipped. It's an extremely old one of soundings of the depths of the fjord itself. And that's transformed today into this oil refinery. So you have the oil refinery here, the power station here. And so let's go through a series of different aspects associated with it. This is in the interior of the power station, where all the pipes inside in the conveyance systems are color coded. There's a level of visibility of industrial processes that are publicly accessible. And there's a difference between these closed industrial systems that try to hide and cloak processes versus the ones that are open and accessible and legible. These pipes are everywhere, along Kalundborg. They're not these dedicated quarters, where pipes whether or not it's steam, whether or not it's wastewater, they essentially are woven with public recreational quarters. 

And so all of a sudden, you begin to see that there's a rewiring and a rethinking of this notion of industrial land use. Keep in mind in North America, we categorize land based on one very specific function, institutional, commercial, industrial residential. There's very little mixing associated with it, a few areas are mixing. But in large, when you travel across North America, everything is categorized. Euclidian forms of land planning. Whereas here, there's a total transformation of it in terms of the overlaying of different functions. At the base of it is the conveyance systems associated with this power station. 

This happens to be one of the pipes where there's waste steam that comes from the power station, and leads back to the city. This is another waste steam conveyance system that runs for approximately 10 kilometers from the power station, all the way to supply waste team to heat the houses, as well as a series of other this other pipeline landscape across the region. Now just you're seeing when you see these kind of like conditions, you see areas where there's agricultural land uses right beside industrial ones. It's kind of like adjacency is one that's actually quite rare. And yet, it's everywhere there. The visibility of processes, in this case of the scrubbing of the towers in the power station itself. And the scrubbing of what creates this fly ash where these are humidifiers, which essentially dry out the ash. And they extract a particular material of gypsum. And gypsum, of course, is used for drywall. And as a result of this, they've been, in fact been able to reduce all of their dependency on gypsum that comes from Spain, to actually produce it directly from the scrubbing of the towers of the power station. Now, you can begin to understand that the discussion is getting chemical. It gets a blend of biological conditions as well as chemical conditions in terms of understanding what to do with waste. Now if we talked about the power station, then the other bigger player is Novo Nordisk, the insulin producer. And in order to produce insulin, you produce, first of all, you need a lot of fresh water. And you produce a lot of sludge out of that process, essentially, watery, powdery substance, like other industrial processes that create this sludge. And so, out of this large operation inside of this small town, they were some of the ones along with the fire station that were drawing a lot of fresh water from Lake Tissø. So all of a sudden, the government came back on them and ask them can we not develop strategies by which you can actually reuse the water as part of your processes clean, because the in the case of the power station, fresh water is used to be able to cool down the towers, and in the case of in the case of Novo Nordisk, they're constantly producing wastewater. So what they did is they implemented a dewatering and wastewater treatment facility on site. And it produces this kind of plant where again, these people pipelines and conveyance systems are everywhere. Now, my intention is not to aestheticize the process, but rather to speak about the relationships and interconnections that are created. Because essentially what they also do in terms of both recycling water on this particular site, they're also conveying and produce also a residue of sludge, dewatered sludge, which they found other ways of dealing with it. This is one of the wastewater treatment plants in the city of Kalundborg. And just on the other side of it, they they use sludge for two other purposes. They have managed to treat and transform part of the sludge as part of feed for a series of fisheries, artificial fisheries that are just on the other side of the power plant. So these are essentially fish ponds, there's essentially a mix of hot water that's kept at a certain temperature for the fish inside these ponds. And then after that, they're also fed with derivatives associated with the sludge, all of a sudden, you're essentially creating environments in which you can actually raise other living species as part of these waste materials. As part of these bio solids. There's also this sludge and a cake that's produced that comes out of the waste plant from which they produce. They've created the skatepark just on the other side of the waste treatment plant, but also what they've done, not only have they tried to find different end uses associated with it, but they actually surround and construct environments for other separation systems to occur. 

In this case, all the berms that you see around this area, this is part of a materials sorting and separation facility. There's approximately 25 different cells like this, all of the berms all of the typography is created out of this cake. It's literally free material by which they can actually construct this open air recycling facility. Now another one that I think is extremely important as part of this connection, is that there is a soil facility in the vicinity of the power station and the insulin producer that's located itself there and now has become Denmark's largest soil remediation facility. In fact, now it's become so large and so effective, that they're now importing contaminated soils from Norway, as well as from Sweden. What's the trick with their work? Well, they use this process called bioremediation. And some of you may be well versed in the art and the science of soil remediation, which involves dealing with heavy metals dealing with volatile organic compounds. Well, that this open their process where they use a number of different derivative materials from the sludge and other waste products across the region in order to remediate soils. And so all these piles that you see along here are dealt with that process. When I was there, for the first time in 19, in 2003. I was there for a particular moment when they had just picked up a load of sugar from a sugar plant that had gone on fire. And of course, some of you may know that sugar is as the perfect ingredient for bacterial action in soils. And they were left with all this caramel on the factory floor and they had no idea what to do with it. And ultimately, they found the sort of mediation facility could use it in order to cover piles of oil contaminated soil. So the reason why I bring this up is that ultimately there's also a timing factor associated with this. It's not simply a matter of establishing these interconnections and synergies. But rather there's also a temporal process associated with as well. So this is just a ground level view of the operations of that soil facility, you can begin to see here, the point that we're that I'm trying to make also, is that extremely proper graphic, and extremely spatial one as well. Of course, the bug eating bacteria. Now, last thing I'll mention about Kalundborg in terms of its geographic location, as part of the city itself, is this. This plant, the power plant has been essentially degenerating and extruding all this hot water into this fjord. And over time, of course, this hot water, which is freshwater, has been converting and transforming the ecology of this fjord itself, in fact, creating a freshwater ecology where there's freshwater fisheries that have formed themselves. So over time, we can begin to understand that the diagram that's been handed to us about industrial ecosystems that is Remove the divorce from geography removed in divorce from history removed and divorced from scale, and space and geography, all of a sudden, we can begin to understand that if we apply the thinking of the Odums' notion of ecological exchanges and flows, that we can begin to see kalundborg in a very different way. 

This is just a diagram, for example, showing Lake Tissø with a series of different industries that are interacting. As a result of this also, they managed to divert all the waste from the power station in order to heat approximately 12,000 homes, which is almost half of the 25,000 homes in the town. And so what seems to be a somewhat even benign medieval industrial town, all of a sudden turns out to be a fairly complex ecological operation. But here's the thing, you can't remove it from its context either. 

So what I'd like to do is fast forward through a series of different slides, that gives us a perspective of political and geographic contexts in which Kalundborg finds itself. Because the notion of being able to borrow industrial ecology models and implementing them in different places, or exporting them to different worlds, you can't just pick them up. There's a certain context associated with it. One, which allows, for example, across Denmark, is the overlay of different land uses of agriculture and district energy uses something that we're just beginning to understand in North America. It's something, it's a pervasive practice, the other one, political measures to allow small to medium scale families to actually earn a living with with medium scale farms. So when you see this pattern, which is in contrast to, for example, out in the Midwest, or the southwest of these large scale farms in North America, this medieval pattern of small to medium scale farms has been held up by a level of subsidies. Now, the other thing that we can't take out of context here is the level of industrial and corporate enterpreneurship, across Denmark, that allows what is arguably an extremely small country to be an extremely large exporter. Now, how would you find yourself in the town of Kalundborg with the world's largest insulin producer, with a fairly large power plant that supplies almost 60% of power to the rest of Denmark? Well, there's a level of innovation that's been developing over the past 125 years. In fact, one could argue a little bit more, which is allowed some of the largest companies in the world that actually come out of Denmark itself. Now, you may ask, how does that close the loop on this way story? We're almost there. Let's run off and take a look at some of these major corporate and manufacturing giants, Maersk, Danish cargo container ship manufacturer. This is just south of Kalundborg. They produce the mother of all ships. This is a comparative size of the Eiffel Tower in relationship to Emma Maersk, the largest container cargo ship in the world. What's interesting as part of their work, and this is where the story gets a little bit more complex is that not only are they interesting in manufacturing, but this notion about industrial ecology also allows them to understand that as part of the manufacturing process, there's also the de-manufacturing process that occurs, that there's processes of assembly and construction. There's the processes of this assembly, and deconstruction. Now, what's interesting, if that sounds like there's a very fluid understanding of urban and industrial processes, keep in mind that goes back to this notion about flows and exchanges, as opposed to just objects and materials to deal with and produce. This is for example, they import a number of in this case Russian submarine for dismantling here, as well as refurbishment. Of course you understand there are geographically endowed with deep natural deepwater ports, which allows them to do this. They have a number of different power plants across the country themselves. And this is just one image of the openness and visibility and legibility of those processes. One of the largest they have the largest port producing plant and company in the world. Lego, originally made out of wood now of plastics, emerges from Denmark and, of course, the largest producer of wind turbines in the world itself. This is important because it's actually just down the road from Kalundborg. Now  they use Chinese chemicals to be going through the process, resins as well as fiberglass. But what's important is that they're located and what makes industrial ecologies work to understanding even how urban ecologies work is that they co locate new industries with old industries, manufacturing industries with the manufacturing industries, they're located within a certain radius. And so all of a sudden, when you add this up in terms of, for example, the distribution of the way that they produce wind turbines, rather than actually isolating them and centralizing them in one area, they actually distribute them. 

Now, here's the thing. This is where one begins to understand, even though that it's a extremely social country with an extremely important social safety net, that they also operate under the guise of an extremely decentralized model, that there's a kind of flattening of both industry and manufacturing that's distributed across the country. This is not only for wind turbine manufacturing, but practically applies to everything from agriculture to industry. Now, when you add that up from Vestas, for Maersk to Lego to SAS to cause Berg, there's a fairly important level of entrepreneurship. And thinking about exporting this level of innovation and technology. 

Now, finally, you can't talk about Denmark without the level of energy production and emphasis on wind energy, which I think anybody would come up and say, well, in many respects, it's a completely different situation than ours. They're in the middle of the Baltic Sea between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. They've got a tremendous endowment across the entire peninsula of Denmark, and the islands of Denmark, of wind energy. The North Sea is just on this side, I'm sorry. But what's not properly understood as part of the geography of Denmark, is that when energy doesn't work exclusively on its own, in fact, one thing that works with it, and this is how energy all of a sudden becomes ecological is that there's an interconnection between wind energy and renewables, as well as other forms of electric electrical generation is just to give you an idea of the size of Denmark, these are a series of power plants across Denmark itself. There's an energy grid that both taps into Norway as well as Sweden, the number and distribution of wind turbines across the country. But what makes it work? Of course, you'll understand any country that produces wind turbine, when when energy is that ultimately periods of high wind don't always correspond with periods of high power consumption. And so what they do is they developed a method of both producing power and then exporting it to other countries. And when they have peak periods of power demand they then imported from their neighboring countries. That's when all of a sudden the discussion gets ecological about these energy exchanges. The reason why I bring this up is to be able to then understand that the exclusive reliance on waste itself as one exclusive industry that we have to solve a problem to all of a sudden we can begin to understand that it's actually connected. Now how does that connect with discussion about energy? Well, it connects because essentially, Copenhagen produces 95 97% of its heat through burning its own garbage 97% of it. And so, over time, when when takes a look at the diagram of resource supply and inputs, as well as outputs for final consumption, over the past 20 years, they've been able to reduce, which is this here, the import of their oil resources from abroad. Now, they realize also that they're not going to reach a level of zero. But ultimately, the possibility of understanding how this makes all of a sudden changes is fairly important to them, this inter connectivity between waste and energy. Is that the basic building block of it? Yes, they built these massive incinerators. My intention is not to propose that incinerators are the answer to everything, but rather are simply part of it. What's made it work is that they don't operate--they operate under these district energy zones, rather than national energy zones and regions. And ultimately, this this view of the incineration plant in Copenhagen starts to provide some understanding of both the industrial landscape that's created by it, where one can begin to see how not only the power plant is just on the outskirts of the city, but rather built on top of the ash that emerges from your decades of incineration, but also at the same time doesn't necessarily completely eradicate coastal shoreline and wetland ecology that's around it. There's an extremely important coastal zone and protection that occurs simultaneously. It's just an aerial view of it. 

Perhaps one thing to note before concluding with a series of with the, with a few slides here is that there is a number of floodable lands across the shoreline and across the waterfront in tandem with industrial land uses to be able to accommodate a level of flexibility in the future with sea level rise.

And so the potential here to understand how waste ecology starts to mix with energy production, that then starts to make sense. Also, with sea level rise and water concerns, all of a sudden starts to put together a fairly interesting urban pattern. Anyways, here's that level of innovation that's developed over a period of 25 years in terms of new modes of energy reuse, which relies primarily on this notion of down cycling, and upcycling. The notion of recycling almost practically does not exist there. There is always this hyper awareness of whether or not there's a second generation, third generation of materials that are created, or new generation of materials that are even better than the ones that were using them before. We have a very hierarchical notion of what waste recycling is. A few sites to say that this, this case study is not perfect. They don't handle everything on their own and the intention here is not to talk about whether or not zero waste is actually possible. They export high level radioactive waste to Germany that goes underground. They can't handle it, they don't have the lands to deal with it. They're undergoing a vast level of decentralization and highway construction, just like just like we are. Wind energy turbines and the industry is not perfect either. And it's also not permanent. And also, the levels of nutrient nutrient overloading as part in the Baltic Sea, you can see the level of algae production that's occurring here. You can see this right here, as a result of excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from the extent of agricultural lands here. But it's on the downside in terms of like, its level of reduction, and the possibility of understanding that with both downsizing upcycling of materials, that there's also the diversion of certain materials away from landfills, and away from disposal towards the understanding of reconstituting them. So you can't help to ask, for example, or it's not surprising anymore, that if Denmark's been in ministry, it's a hotspot for a level of I wouldn't say technological innovation, but rather ecological innovation is as a, as a measure of all of these strategies that have been developed over one could argue the past 100-250 years. This is the largest wind turbine facility in the world. It's just west of Aalborg, Horns Rev. And so when you add this up, if I can finish with I'm going to finish with this slide. And one last comment is that ultimately, this discussion about waste, we've managed to kind of like exclusively put it into one category, as opposed to understand that it's actually instinctively part of hydrologic processes. It's part of political processes. And it's also part of industrial manufacturing processes. Now, I show this slide with this timeline and all the images that we just looked at, as if we could begin to understand that energy, ecology and economics are actually all part of the same landscape. It's useful to know because the countries that have decided not to just borrow the ecological industrial park model, and actually develop this model of one could argue waste ecology are for example, countries like Japan. 

This is a photograph of Kitakyushu. It's the part of the rust belt of Japan. It's exactly like areas between Detroit Hamilton, where the literally this Dokai Bay was literally red and brown, just about 50 years ago, and they managed to completely clean the entire port up. Even though they manage to reduce level of manufacturing, they've turned the entire economy and industry of this region towards an economy of disassembly. And so the notion that they've been able to reboot, not only their economy, but also the ecology of the region, through this notion of disassembly has been fairly important. And so there's a, if any of you are interested in in, in a little bit more details about this, there's a in addition to the, to the books that I mentioned,

there's some working through of the arguments that I've tried to develop in a text called Landscapes of Disassembly, which allows us to begin to understand how urban patterns can actually emerge out of waste ecologies, as a critical link. And I'll finish off here with the this is a quote by Howard Howe, he was an industrial engineer that came out of Britain. And he came up with this fairly polemical quote, in relationship to the development of industrial processes and relationship of waste, where he said the real problem of waste utilization is more economic than technical. Many wastes do not occur in sufficient quantity at any one spot to make their use possible, or the cost of collection and storage defeats the project. My intention is not trying to sell you this, but to perhaps argue that 100 years later, perhaps the challenge associated with the waste industry at the moment is an ecological one. And all of a sudden, if we see it as an ecological condition, rather than a problem to solve, all of a sudden we can start to reboot and build economies associated with it. Thank you.