part 1 of “Food from Trash: A story of how bioshelters will save the world”
The amazing thing about our bioshelter is that 80% of it is made from trash. The materials we used to build it were either reclaimed, recycled, reused, gifted or salvaged:
-Most of the insulation (reclaimed roofing foam board)
-Waterproof skin for the insulated walls (salvaged billboard vinyle)
-Ridged clear side walls (recycled sheets of plexiglass)
-2×4 framing (salvaged or reused)
-Raised bed wall/seating (salvaged old granite street curbs)
-Wood planks and centerblocks for worm bin trench (reused)
-Aquaponics tanks (salvaged IBC tote tanks)
-Raised bed soil (locally grown farm compost)
-Post for solar panel (locally hand harvested 15 foot tall locust post)
-Iron pipe foundation (family gifted old plumbing farm pipe)
-Pressure treated 2×4 side wall foundation (reused from first greenhouse)
The process I went through to obtain these materials was a constant adventure and very empowering. Not only did we save tons of money (we built the entire bioshelter for under $3000), but over the medium term we’ll re-coop even that cost many times over. And we’re well on our way to paying off the investment through paid workshops and tours.
Environmentally speaking, by reusing these materials, we are also saving landfill space, and keeping virgin materials from being mined out of the ground.
We’ve built a very humble home scale bioshelter. Now imagine scaling bioshelters like this up to the community scale. The trash that could be repurposed, the education that could be accomplished, and the saved financial capital that can instead be invested in critical need projects. All the while we are building important lasting relationships with people in our neighborhoods.
Oh, I almost forgot, our bioshelter supplements the diets of four adults every month of the year with fresh vegetables, winter greens, fruits, tubers and fish. Could a community scaled bioshelter provide useful livelihoods as well?
This can all be a part of the larger movement to localize our communities and rethink how we use resources and where our energy comes from.
In part two of this story we’ll even ask the question, how do bioshelters help solve global climate change?