Green Coin

Team: Juliana Castrillon (Harvard), Alan Wong (Harvard), Léon Faure (CRI), Lin Sun (SciencesPo)

How often do you think about what you throw away? Better yet, how often do you think about where it ends up?
Green Coin explores the thoughtless disposal of food: a biodegradable goldmine that is often overlooked as a renewable resource. Each year, Parisians toss millions of tons of biowaste into their trash cans because they lack better options. The biowaste is then condemned to incineration and contributes to rising atmospheric CO2 levels. (continue reading below)

Inspired by the kidney’s ability to reclaim and reuse bodily waste, we envision a world in which citizens are rewarded for taking environmentally friendly actions, and in which those rewards encourage further green actions. To establish this self-perpetuating cycle of sustainability, we propose the creation of an alternative currency: Green Coin.

Green Coin will be awarded for taking ‘green’ actions, whether it be engaging in local environmental initiatives or participating in environmental education. In the future it will expand to facilitate the exchange of food waste and compost for fresh produce. Partnerships with the government and ‘green’ companies will then encourage citizens to use the currency on eco-friendly products. By involving both the public and private sectors, Green Coin becomes a self-propagating driver for a more environmentally sustainable world.


One thought on “Green Coin

  1. Saw the Hubweek presentation yesterday and wondered if you had considered combining your model with vermiculture/acquaculture/aquaponics.

    There are many different land-based aquaculture designs available which are inexpensive to construct (i.e.

    If you use vermiculture as the bridge between your intake (food waste) and your end-product (produce & tilapia or salmon) that should give you economic viability.
    Additional benefits from land-based aquaculture could be had through reduction of wild salmon harvesting. For example, see

    On a micro scale, it would look something like this: — with a component in the middle where composting/vermiculture acts as a food source for the fish creating a closed-loop system.

    On a large scale, you are talking about large-scale land-based fish and worm farms. Food waste would be picked up by conventional truck and shipped as an input into the vermiculture system. Fish would then use the worms as a food source. Fish waste would serve as fertilizer to the plant/aquaponics sytem (reducing or eliminating the need for water filtration), and the result is two outputs — fish and produce which can be provided as reward for GreenCoins directly, or alternatively sent to supermarkets/stores which accept GreenCoins as viable currency for your outputs.

    Excess produce or fish could be sold at market rates to stores to maintain the system(s) or build additional facilities.

    At that point, you would have something desirable (produce and fresh fish) to exchange for people taking the time to recycle food waste.

    Hope that’s helpful!


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