Friday, July 10, 2009

MIO For Target

Reviewing my last posts I see that there is quite a bit missing here. Specifically our MIO for Target collaboration. Here is a bit about and some behind the scenes (after my blogophobic moment -we can thank Blogger for that-).

MIO for Target
MIO for Target was launched (a small collection of outdoor living products). The collection included the first ever composter carried at Target stores, an indoor and outdoor solar lamp (that uses the sensor as switch -turn it upside down to turn it on-), a portable hammock (the pouch turns into a hammock pocket for sweater, magazines or shoes), a molded paper pulp herb garden, a watering can made from recycled plastic and gardening tools. The collection was designed around existing vendors and focused on creating products that used existing infrastructure to create accessible sustainable design for the garden. Every product in the collection has a unique story behind it that we are very proud of, but the thing we are most proud about is the design of our first "Active Sustainable" product. I consider this one of our biggest breakthroughs in sustainable design thinking / design. Before I keep going this is how we define "Active Sustainability" at MIO:

Active Sustainability or Perpetually Sustainable Products:
Products that, by way of their design, encourage conservation. The best actively sustainable products are designed so that the stage in which the product has the greatest environmental impact is precisely when the product’s conservation attributes are most active. A product can only be considered active if it produces a positive and quantifiable environmental impact each time it is used.

Our vermi-composter and solar lights for Target are great examples of "Active Sustainability". In both instances the products function (useful life) is the major sustainable factor in the design. The environmental dividends provided by the products throughout their useful life, far outweigh the potential impact of materials, production and sourcing combined. This does not mean that we disregarded these very important aspects, but we were obviously focused on yielding a more holistic approach to designing sustainably, especially at that scale.

MIO for Target was a limited time collaboration, but the lessons learned from this fruitful collaboration are beginning to permeate all of our activities at MIO.

MIO for Target at the Living green Expo in Minnesota

We were invited to be a part of Target's booth at the expo and had composting demonstrations all day long for three days straight. It was a lot of fun to explain our products and meet people that are as passionate about sustainable culture as we are. The booth also had an energy station where visitors could test the difference between powering (with a crank) incandescent bulbs vs. compact fluorescents and a water station with a good visual representation of the impact of using a low flow shower head.

Last but not least I wanted to share with you the proper sequence for preparing a vermi-composting bin:

Buy some coir and get some sheets of newspaper. Shred a few sheets of newspaper and put them on the side.

Take a few of the whole sheets of newspaper and wet them. Cover the bottom of your vermi-composting bin to prevent worms from falling down the perforations. Red wiggler worms like moist environments.

Cut a good amount of coir, enough to fill about 1/4 of your composting bin and place it in a bucket.

Add water slowly and let the coir absorb all of it. Keep adding water until the consistency of the coir is like a wet sponge. This is an ideal medium for your worms to make a new home and work hard at breaking food down.

Make sure the coir is moist and that there are no dry bits of coir left in the mix. Add more water if necessary.

Add a few sheets of shredded newspaper to the bottom and then start adding the moist coir.

Keep adding coir until the bin is 1/4 to 1/2 full. Do not compact the coir and the paper.

Add one to two pounds of red wigglers. This type of worm is the most effective at breaking down organic household waste.

Eat the worms. Actually this step is optional ;P

Your bin is now ready to be used. For best results make sure to chop down foods or grind them down. The smaller the bits the better! Bury it and cover with the coir. Let the vermicomposting magic begin!

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