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Common Waste - Common Resource

Dali Dardzhaniya, Arina Rahma, Jeppe Kalnæs, Stefan Dorn, Fabian Halfar, Antonia Pilgrim, Mara Pepine, Sarah Seidel, Khan Levin Busz, Kevin Ricardo Vidal Sanchez

While our concept of WASTE keeps human systems tidy, its treatment illustrates human and interspecies hierarchies globally. On its way to becoming a tradeable energy source, waste undergoes massive speculation and irreversible physical transformation of its fraction of organic carbon, an element essential to Life. As Green Paper On the management of bio-waste in the European Union concludes (SEC(2008) 2936), the environmental impacts of incinerating waste containing biodegradable waste are mainly related to airborne emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions, loss of organic matter and other resources contained in biomass. At the same time, an estimated 45% of European soils (including Germany) have low organic matter content. Therefore, The Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (EU Commission SEC(2006)1165) calls compost one of the best sources of stable organic matter that forms new humus in degraded soils. We investigate the possibility of reconfiguring the Organic Waste System of Berlin and aim toward local recycling, community empowerment, and natural metabolism maintenance within urban ecosystems. Instead of the irreversible destruction of organic matter, we want to return it to its local trajectory: The age-old natural cycle of composition, decomposition, and recomposition. With the assistance of the ever-present bacterial, fungal, plant, and animal populations, urban neighborhoods might allow humans to recover their place in nature’s metabolism. As an experimental site for the case study, we chose four adjacent courtyards in a post-socialist neighborhood North of Berlin Ostbahnhof. The area examines the potential for application in densely populated mass housing neighborhoods in Europe. We invited students of all backgrounds to come together in this transdisciplinary think tank to investigate the political and economic implications of our current organic waste system. Through our combined knowledge and expertise and fueled by curiosity, we studied lifecycles, energies, and synergies of apples (grown locally, the core of German fruit production) and bananas (the most imported and consumed corp) in the neighborhood context. We nurtured our sensibility towards the natural motion of organic matter by building and testing science-art installations at the Copenhagen Architecture Festival and the Roskilde Festival in June-July 2023. Our project continues as scenario-building toward Pilot Project for local composting and Food Forest growth.