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Dandelionopolis Singapore: Food Waste Infratecture

Part 2 Project 2012
Chi Ming Yoon
University of Strathclyde, UK
Singapore is known for its strict laws against littering but the recycling rate for food waste has dropped from 16% in 2010 to 10% in 2011.With the closing down of IUT Global’s Anaerobic Digestion recycling plant last year, the government is likely to miss the target of a 30% recycling rate for food waste in 2012.

The ultimate aim of the lifecycle of all materials on earth is the closed-loop—cradle to cradle instead of cradle to grave. If we had managed to recycle all food waste (2010) in Singapore, the energy yield is enough to power 70% of all HDB flats, in which 80% of Singaporeans live. But today food waste recycling exists in isolation, from which it must be rescued through the holistic, conscious and cooperative effort of all parties. Regional strategy, local strategy and individual strategy must recognize a new perspective and learn to grasp the new systems of domesticating waste.

Using trucks to carry waste to big centralized plants is not the most viable option because fuel is burnt in the process. Hence, food waste recycling infrastructure must be designed to grow along with the dynamic settlement patterns of fast-developing urban areas in the future.

Inspired by the lifecycle of a dandelion, including its wind-aided seed dispersal, Dandelionopolis [pods + towers] is an urban strategy dedicated to recycling the country's food waste by encouraging the public to separate food waste from other waste. 30 decentralized anaerobic digesters in the form of 160-metre-towers are envisioned to land upon all towns in Singapore. The project also postulates the use of Singapore's empty, overcast night sky as a new realm for waste transportation in lieu of a starscape. The fact that food waste can be converted to electricity and bio-fertilizer through anaerobic digestion makes it a very promising source of clean energy, especially when contrasted with the exceptional predicament of Singapore's dependency on 100% energy imports. In that vein, this project seeks to emphasize the benefits of waste as a resource. Dandelionopolis offers the possibility of upgrading the existing recycling infrastructure both in social and aesthetic dimensions.

Chi Ming Yoon


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