First assignment of group n° 014
Resources used by the team
First description of our project
First description of our project's idea
TITLE : KEEP YOU WARM WITH PAPER WASTE !
Please answer to the three expected questions:
1. What Problem do you want to solve ?
In average, companies use 70 to 85 kg of paper per year AND per employee, which makes paper as the first office consumable. Most of us think that the arrival of new technologies tends to reduce the use of paper, but this is a wrong belief. Indeed, employees are more tempted to print lots of useless documents. Moreover, employees often print their documents on one side of the paper which is increasing the use of paper sheets. The consequence is that consumption has increased tenfold in 50 years !
This increasing use is destroying forests all over the world, day after day : paper pulp is extracted from cellulose fibres of the wood. But, after the use, only 50% of the consumed papers are recycled but this rate is even lower as regards office paper (25%). Reducing paper’s waste is not only beneficial to the environment but also to the organization : the cost of using paper in a 100 employees organization is between €10,000 and €25,000 euros per year.
In addition, we have highlighted another problem : the use of energy which is getting bigger and bigger. Some of the scientists have warned that in the near future, the people definitely will face a lack of energy.
2. Why does this problem exist?
The number of people is increasing very quickly : we are 7 billions today and we are expected to be 8 billions in 10 years. As a consequence, the number of new companies and schools is growing but workers and students no longer count the number of paper they used each year. People usually cannot see how much global warming goes on, and the amount of papers they use and just threw away. China’s growth and development will not solve the problem…
The technological revolution has changed habits in work and in schools…Unfortunately, it had no impact on the paper waste. People are printing their e-mails, documents and the problem is becoming more and more important.
Nowadays, workers are anxious and the stress is becoming a real problem. As a result, workers don’t have the time to think about recycling and reducing their use of papers. We have to do a long work to make people acquire good habits. We really think that this problem is also an education one. Children in schools are not accustomed to these practices…and they are the future employees in companies ! The challenge is important, we have to educate these kids to reduce their papers consumption : the future of our planet is in their hands !
In addition, it is the same issue when we talk about energy. Because of the increasing population, the use of energy is growing really fast and the resources of our planet are not inexhaustible.
We have decided to deal with these two problems which are both huge issues for the environment.
3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?
The challenge is to solve the problem of paper waste in companies and schools by using it in another way in order to make this waste useful for the environment.
Today’s economy is built on a fast turnover principle in all things people consuming. Therefore, human cannot manage the resources in an efficient way. It leads pollutions and loss of ecosystems. That`s why we promote the circular economy. Earth is a close system in material aspect, relationship of economy and environment is not linear relation but circular relation in this system.
Our idea is to transform all these papers into insulators for our home. Natural insulation is a great way to have an “ecological” house but it is not affordable for everybody. Newspapers as insulator has already been tested and it does work really well. This is called cellulose wadding and it is created with newspapers but also with unused printing papers ! Cellulose wadding is actually a good heat insulator but also an amazing sound insulator. Unfortunately, the price of it is increasing because papers are becoming more expansive.
Our idea is to broaden their horizons and to make a similar insulator but with papers which have already been used in schools and companies. Therefore, paper is reused in a very clever way : it will allow people to have a better, cheaper and more ecological insulation for their houses ! Indeed, with cellulose wadding, research found that in the first year, heat insulation will increase by 15% compared to the use of others insulator. It represents a huge potential gain of energy. In addition, due to the important density (70kg/m3) of this insulator, it is also the best acoustic insulator. There is also an health issue which is very significant : mineral wool has been defined by European Union as carcinogenic (3rd category)…
To obtain a natural insulator based on paper waste, we will have to consider that the ink which is on used papers is not completely harmless for the health. To avoid any impacts, we want to remove the ink from papers before using it in insulation. Also, to use paper as an insulator, it is very important to integrate a step in the process of transforming in order to protect the « insulator » from insects, rodents…and also from fire. Nevertheless, we are not talking about insecticides. We intend to find something ecological and with no impact on the health to do this job. Nowadays, for the cellulose wadding, they use boron salt. The impact on the health is quite unknown. That is why we believe that it is essential to find another product to stop the polemical around it.
In addition, to get an « ecological insulator », we will have to take in account not only the product itself but also the process of transforming and the transportation. This is called « grey energy ». It is very important to make the process of transforming “clean”, that is to say we will avoid to use chemical products in order to respect the environment. Also, in this transforming process, we want to use water as little as possible. Our objective: minimize the « grey energy ».
The main difference between the cellulose wadding based on newspapers and our project is that we include schools and companies, which makes it a society issue ! We want to popularize this system and to make it useful for the society : our aim is to « kill two birds with one stone » : with our solution, we solve two problems : paper waste and the impact of the use of energy. Indeed, with papers as insulator, houses will be more ecological but also will use less energy ! Research has found that using papers as insulator allows a saving of 26% in energy compared with glass wool in long term.
We want to collect "papers used" from schools and companies en masse, and then transform these papers into insulation in high volume. We believe that a high-volume transformation is a necessity because this problem of society will not be solve if people makes their own insulation with their own paper waste. The volume of paper waste is huge and we think that it will be too hard to solve it just by a simple DIY. Indeed, only people who wants insulation right now will do this DIY. That is why we want to make high volume, to recycle the more papers we can and to « democratize » our insulation. Today, cellulose wadding (ecologic insulation) represents only 5% of the use of insulation in France!
With our system, we want to people to be « players » in our system. They are stakeholders! Children and workers will give their paper waste to make insulation. So the « paper waste insulator » will be more popular and people will want to use this as their insulator in their house! This is a virtuous circle.
As we said before, it is very important to educate schoolchildren and make them understand those issues. Ecological schools’ association are developing more and more : Eco-ecoles, a famous international label about sustainable education was created in 2005. The aim of this label is to guarantee that a school is sustainable by its action such as the fight against pollution, the creation of collaborative gardens and most of all, the reduction of any types of waste. With our idea, we want to support this sustainable education because we want children to be involved and to learn good habits in order to become an « ecological » citizen.
According to the Ministry of environment, in France, among the 900 000 tons of waste created by offices, only 400 000 are collected and recycled. Our goal is to increase this number by 50 % at least.
Potential experts already identified
Samuel Courgey - expert and technician in the construction industry, specialized in the environment and ecological materials. He wrote " L'isolation thermique ecologique " with Jean-Pierre Oliva. He is also an expert in energetic performance. We think that his help will be very interesting for us to better understand the mecanisms. He is also a trainer in this field so we think that he would be available to help them.
Antoine Corrieri - Engineer and energetic performance expert, he is also the co founder of Bois & Home which is a company that works with ecological materials for houses. He probably has a very useful expertive to give us.
Ivan Ganas - He is the manager of the company Actis Building which is specialized in the sector of construction materials. He is another person that will help us with technical skills and ideas.