Forest in a Box, Take Two
The Life Box. One box = 100 Trees.
Since reading Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart’s description of seed-bearing, biodegradable waste wrappers in Cradle to Cradle, I’ve been interested in the notion of so-called regenerative design. Can we really transform waste into food, and how would a society that biodegrades rather than throws away or recycles its trash operate?
The Life Box might provide answers, as well as raise new questions. Made from recycled paper and bearing approximately 100 tree seeds—in addition to mycorrhizal fungal spores that catalyze seed growth—the Life Box is not only designed to biodegrade, but to grow a small forest in the process. Creator Paul Stamets and Planted Planet Productions estimate that one tree in 100 will survive to 30 years, sequestering one ton of carbon during this time.
While this creative idea certainly has potential, it requires consumers to rethink the disposal process altogether. Naturally, the Life Box won’t work in a dumpster—it will only fulfill its goal if it’s torn up into many small pieces, and these pieces are planted at an appropriate distance from one another in an area suitable to growing new trees. For those who own plenty of land and want to grow more trees, the Life Box is a great solution. However, the rest of us will have to save used Life Boxes for our next jaunt to the countryside for a bit of guerilla forestry. Clandestine regeneration, anyone?