The conundrum surrounding protecting the environment while keeping a prosperous economy for some reason persists in the media and politics. Whether this dichotomy truly exists is questionable at best, however the relationship between the economy and the environment is strongly intertwined. Efforts to keep China’s GDP growth rate at a high number have left massive pollution and waste problems that are hard to ignore. EMG Group, a company involved with stone mining, is striving to lessen this problem.
Similar to most resource intensive industries, stone mining has the propensity to create waste and leftover product. In China this problem is especially substantial, as last year the total amount of extracted stone has been of about 700 million square meters, which generated more than 120 million square meters of waste material.
In response to these staggering numbers, individuals in EMGdotArt, part of the EMG Group are actively promoting initiatives to find better uses for this waste material. The company is using a “green stone” concept in order to upcycle their waste materials.
Upcycling is fairly popular in the West but has not reached all the minds in Chinese corporations just yet, a portmanteau of upgrading and recycling, is explained by EMG Art representative Michela Pacco:
Upcycling reuses left-overs as raw materials without second-time chemical or physical processing such as melting or refining. Therefore “upcycling” can both increase energy efficiency and add value to materials that can’t be recycled through traditional processing methods.
EMGdotArt has been hard at work to make the term upcycling a more familiar. For the past two years, with help from the British Council, EMGdotArt has hosted an upcylcing design competition involving design students and teachers from Chinese, English and Korean universities.
With previous exhibitions held in Guangzhou and Changsha, this November EMG art brought results of this competition to Shanghai. Several pieces of marble, as well other materials (seen in the pictures below) are on display until December 16 in Baoshan district of Shanghai.
The opening for this gallery offered a debate panel featuring academics and industry leaders who passionately discussed the avenues that need to be taken.
Ping Ling Cheung, art director at EMGdotArt stated “designers, the low-carbon design must be the primary education of a designer, and then comes the need to educate the public community awareness: a big change in the way of thinking in the society” while Professor Zhuang Jun from Hunan University aptly concluded by saying “We believe that universities have the responsibility to do research and teaching as an educational institution and have the responsibility to think about the redesign and upgrading of waste materials.”
Efforts towards Education and information are transparent throughout EMGdotArt’s upcycling initiatives and are an enormous right step forward towards a more environmentally friendly China.
In spring of next year EMGdotArt will host another event involving the cooperation between students from these international universities.
Click here For more information about EMG Art’s upcycling.