In ancient Egyptian mythology the scarab, or Dung Beetle, pushed the sun across the sky, but ours has more terrestrial plans. For the last week Themba Matswewu and Jeffrey Barbee have been building the planet. It is a container that will house the system, which has also been coming along well as you can see in the photographs. So yes the plastic-gasification system will sit inside the Earth, and be pushed along eternally by a certain one of the 6000 species of Dung Beetles spread across the planet.
Dung Beetles or Scarabs have often meant something to people throughout the ages. From symbols of the cycle of life, (duh) to change and regeneration, the Scarab has been venerated and held in high regard. In ancient Egypt Pharoahs and peasants were buried with carved symbols of this small but mighty survivor. Across the the world dung beetles deal with millions of tons of what we think of as waste. That cycle is being turned towards our own untapped resource.
Single use plastic is thrown away and is a still a resource but people need the technology to use it. When people use the energy in plastic waste it gives it greater value. Big oil companies are focused on building new plastic plants due the mistaken belief by consumers that plastics are valueless once used. By more effectively turning that problem on its head the dung beetle project hopes to show how local disruptive technologies can force change in the near term.
Everyone can agree plastic everywhere is yuck.
So here are some pics of machine assembly (click to view full size), yes it should all fit in the planet – we sort of checked.
Hopefully you already checked out the awesome new video edited by Tanele Dlamini.