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Local Colors is a user generated research framework to empower communities to produce low impact, clay based paints, using local mine waste.


Description

Summary / Résumé

The Local Colors initiative seeks to create a user generated and open-source framework to empower communities to produce low impact, clay based paints, using local mine waste as the main ingredient. It aims to provide circular and local opportunities, connect commercial activities, and reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of the commonly practiced cradle-to-grave model.

Natural paints, based on soil, present an excellent sustainable alternative for the construction industry. Composed of only three components: water, clay soil and a natural or industrial binder, this paint is an accessible and low impact product. Mine waste deposits create numerous environmental and social problems, here in Brazil, and in many countries. The project proposes to utilize this waste to create a new, structural, long-term and prosperous material cycle.

The proposed framework will be open source and user generated, utilizing the ´Research and Do-It-Yourself´ model. It will provide tools and information for waste sourcing, material analysis, paint production, and community engagement. The extensive networks, both online and local, will empower vulnerable communities and ensure the longevity of the project. Although the framework proposes local initiatives, in itself operates on a global scale.

The low carbon footprint alternative to acrylic paints, that have a high-embodied energy due to the presence of energy intensive polymers, pigments like TiO2, and transport, reduces CO2 emissions and energy consumption.

The smarter use of existing mining activities brings direct economic benefits to the contractor and reduces it costs in waste management. Less waste deposits reduces environmental and social impacts from waste disposal at mine sites.


What actions do you propose? / Quelles actions proposez-vous?

The Local Colors initiative seeks to create a user generated and open-source framework to empower communities to produce low impact, clay based paints, using local mine waste as the main ingredient. It aims to provide circular and local opportunities, connect commercial activities, and reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of the commonly practiced cradle-to-grave model.

Natural paints, based on soil, present an excellent sustainable alternative for the construction industry. Composed of only three components: water, clay soil and a natural or industrial binder, this paint is an accessible and low impact product. Moreover, natural paints let structures breath, which mitigates condensation and consequent appearance of mould and mildew, commonly experienced issues in hot and humid climates. Being a non-toxic product, containing very little VOCs, it greatly benefits indoor air quality. (CARDOSO,

In Brazil, and especially in the densely populated Southeast region, there are a large number of mines near metropolitan areas. The fragmentation and concentration of the ore generates large amounts of clay residue, composed of fine and ultrafine ore particles, and silica (sand). Without economic value, these wastes, normally deposited in dams or lakes, create numerous environmental and social problems. Due to the unstable nature of these structures, they can cause landslides and flooding. Dry tailings also cause serious health problems for local communities, due to dusts picking up small particles with high mineral concentrations.

Ideally, the reuse and recycling of mine wastes, like all other recycling efforts, create financial assets, slow consumption of natural resources, limit waste production, encourage innovation and local industries, create jobs and teach responsibility for the environment shared by all. If created with the support of local key partners, commercial benefits for involved industries, and community engagement, a new material cycle has the chance to become a structural, long-term and prosperous solution.

The proposed framework will be open source and user generated, utilizing the ´Research and Do-It-Yourself´ model. The basic principles of this methodology derive from the Living Labs, developed by MIT since the 1980s. More recently, it has been made famous by Britta Riley, after her TedX speech about her window farming project. The main idea is that people from diverse backgrounds, systematically co-create, explore and experiment a shared research agenda.

Objectives of this framework are to assist users in mapping and identifying sources of mine waste near their local communities and secondly to provide tools for analysing the physical and chemical composition of the mining waste. For a successful and durable natural paint, a recipe needs to be created, that may or may not include additives, considering the analysis of the main ingredient, local availability of other ingredients a final use.  In the long term, this research should culminate in educational guidelines and practices.

On the other hand, the online community will seek collaboration with local educational, governmental and commercial partners, in order to ensure awareness, engagement, and legal conditions. This approach creates an inclusive solution that can easily be implemented in any community worldwide. The extensive networks, both online and local, will empower vulnerable communities and ensure the longevity of the project.

The low carbon footprint alternative to acrylic paints, that have a high-embodied energy due to the presence of energy intensive polymers, pigments like TiO2, and transport, reduces CO2 emissions and energy consumption.  It also a resilient product, ensuring social inclusion, as it is not affected by rises in global commodity and energy prices.

When adding only natural additives, the paints can be easily removed with water, without causing harm to the environment if discarded. On the other hand, the clay can be infinitely reused, be it in other paints or other uses such as ceramics and cements.

The increased output of the mining activities brings direct economic benefits to the contractor and reduces it costs in waste management. It promotes smarter use of existing activities, therefore not creating new demand.

Less waste deposits reduces environmental impacts from waste disposal at mine sites: the loss of productive land following its conversion to a waste storage area, and the introduction of sediment, acidity, and other contaminates into surrounding surface and groundwater from water running over exposed problematic or chemically reactive wastes.


Which types of stakeholders are involved, in which way? / Quels types de parties prenantes sont impliqués, de quelle façon?

Users – Core stakeholder, that participates in research and discussion.

Educational partners – Vocational training for the production and application of natural paints.

Community partners – Local champions that actively engage with the community to create awareness, and form a direct communication channel for feedback and assistance.

Comercial partners – Creating business opportunities for the newly created material chain.

Research partners – Existing Clay Paint producers and academic institutions.

Local Governments – Local regulations and incentives.


How could the actions be scaled up at the neighborhood or city level? / Comment serait-il possible d'augmenter la portée des actions à l'échelle des quartiers ou de la ville?

Although the framework proposes local initiatives, in itself operates on a global scale. Collaboration with local educational, governmental and commercial partners ensures awareness, engagement, and legal conditions. Whilst the user generated research and experience exchange creates a global body of knowledge, easy to be implemented in any location.


What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change? / Quels impacts auront ces actions sur la réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre et l'adaptation aux changements climatiques?

The low carbon footprint alternative to acrylic paints, that have a high-embodied energy due to the presence of energy intensive polymers, pigments like TiO2, and transport, reduces CO2 emissions and energy consumption.

The use of local available (waste) resources, allows for short transport links between production facility and users, minimizing CO2 emissions.


What are the other environmental, economic or social benefits? / Quels sont les autres bénéfices environnementaux, économiques et sociaux?

The low carbon footprint alternative to acrylic paints, that have a high-embodied energy due to the presence of energy intensive polymers, pigments like TiO2, and transport, reduces CO2 emissions and energy consumption.  It also a resilient product, ensuring social inclusion, as it is not affected by rises in global commodity and energy prices.

When adding only natural additives, the paints can be easily removed with water, without causing harm to the environment if discarded. On the other hand, the clay can be infinitely reused, be it in other paints or other products such as ceramics and cements.

The increased output of the mining activities brings direct economic benefits to the contractor and reduces it costs in waste management. It promotes smarter use of existing activities, therefore not creating new demand.

Less waste deposits reduces environmental impacts from waste disposal at mine sites: the loss of productive land following its conversion to a waste storage area, and the introduction of sediment, acidity, and other contaminates into surrounding surface and groundwater from water running over exposed problematic or chemically reactive wastes.


What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach? / Quels sont les aspects novateurs et les principales forces de cette approche?

The use of a global user-generated and open source research framework.

Empowerment of local commercial activity and vulnerable social classes.

Smarter use of existing mining activities, reducing waste production.

Use of local, natural, waste material in an innovative way.

Easily implementable in any location.

Access to educative material for all.

No prior skills required.


What are the proposal’s projected costs? / Quels sont les coûts projetés de la proposition?

Local tests in Rio de Janeiro Brasil, by our team                             USD   5000

Framework MVP (minimum viable product), outsourced                 USD 10000

Online community maintenance, by our team                                 USD   5000

Awareness building, by our team                                                     USD   5000

 

Total launch (first year) cost estimated at                                        USD 25000


What are the potential challenges or obstacles? / Quels sont les défis ou les obstacles potentiels?

Cooperation of local mining businesses and dealing with illegal and informal mining activities.

Quality and composition of the tailings.

Access to mining sites.

In some culture groups, the use of earth-based paintings may be considered a lower status.


About the authors / À propos des auteur(e)s

CAUSA is a Brazilian based cooperative for socio-environmental projects, that promotes sustainable practices such as waste management, energy and water saving, organic food production, human focused entrepreneurism, bioclimatic architecture, and natural, plant-based solutions.

The main author of the project, co-founder of CAUSA, Olaf Niels Kramer, is a Dutch born architect that after finishing his degree at Technical University of Delft, moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2012. Working mainly with sustainable renovations, one of the highlights was the realization of a completely sponsored, solar powered, selective waste collection point for the IED design school.


References / Références

CARDOSO, F. P. et al. Processos de produção e avaliação de requisitos de desempenho de tintas para a construção civil com pigmentos de solos. Ambiente Construído, v. 16(4), p. 167-183, 2016.

CARVALHO, A. F. et al. Projeto Cores da Terra - Fazendo tinta com terra. Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Viçosa. 2007.

KOUROUPETROGLOU, C. Enhancing the human experience through assistive technology and accessibility. IGI Global, 2014, Hershey PA. Pg 288-291.

LOTTERMOSER, B. Mine Wastes. Characterization, Treatment, Environmental Impacts. 2 ed. Springer, 2007, Berlin Heidelberg.  

MENDES, J. C. et al. Tintas imobiliárias sustentáveis baseadas em rejeito de barragem de minério de Ferro. In: CBC - Congresso Brasileiro do Concreto, 59, 2017, Bento Gonçalves. Anais do 59° Congresso Brasileiro do Concreto, 2017.