The Circular Economy

In Podcast by Brian Koberlein2 Comments

Reduce, reuse, recycle, as the saying goes, or what goes around comes around. On today’s show we have two special guests, Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad, Associate Professor of Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Dr. Callie Babbitt, Associate Professor of Sustainability. We’ll talk about the circular economy.

Host: Brian Koberlein
Guests: Gabrielle Gaustad and Callie Babbitt
Producer: Mark Gillespie
Music: Marcus Warner

The One Universe at a Time Podcast is produced by Mark Gillespie at the Rochester Institute of Technology with support from the RIT College of Science.


  1. Thanks Brian, Gabrielle and Callie (if you’ll allow the informality) for the very interesting discussion. It certainly goes along with the analyses in the book Sustainable Materials With Both Eyes Open, which is free to read at the site. I especially like the idea of taking the systems level approach to materials, and I think we need to take a systems view of the long-term society we want to create as well.

    Using the biological cycle as a model is definitely a good idea IMO. Biology relies on a steady flow of energy and accumulations of power, and to me it’s extremely important for us to put reliable long term energy solutions in place, to drive either the once through or the circular economy.

    Another suggestion I have for anyone interested in the possibilities is to read Eric Drexler’s books on atomically precise manufacturing. I especially recommend his technical book Nanosystems – Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation. In it he uses his concept of exploratory engineering to look at the minimum performance we can expect out of atomically and molecularly precise engineering and manufacturing. I think it’s worth treating as a college course – use wikipedia, Khan Academy, and other online resources to educate yourself until it’s comprehensible. IMO too few futurists and visionaries have taken the possibilities that Drexler outlines into account.

    All too many of the science and technology press releases I see describe the maximum performance we could expect out of a discovery once it is hand-waved into an industrial technology. Which doesn’t seem to happen too often.

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