Resourcing the Galaxy: How Much Waste Can Be Recycled From a Downed Star Destroyer?

Category: Proof Points
Posted on December, 4 2017

What could a society with advanced technology do with a Star Destroyer that crashed in the middle of the desert on planet Jakku? We know there's value in recovered materials, because the Star Wars universe is filled with enterprising scavengers like Rey, who trades the scraps she can carry for merchant Unkar Plutt's food portions. The question is: How much waste can be recycled? A lot. There isn’t some sudden resource explosion that makes these materials any less valuable. Just like on our own planet, recovered resources are a source of value.

Luckily, here in the humble present on our familiar planet Earth, we have a reference point: the dismantling of the French Navy ship, Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc). Veolia dismantled the 9,000-ton ship in 18 months, recovering 90 percent of its material. That includes materials like scrap metal, non-ferrous metals, wood, cables and electrical equipment -- much of which is a candidate for e-waste recycling. 

How much waste can be recycled from this crash-landed Star Destroyer from Star Wars?

Consider the yield on a Star Destroyer. Estimated by Wookiepedia as one mile-long and 36,000 metric-tons, this intimidating ship dwarfs the Jeanne d'Arc, and would produce real value if the Empire would choose to decommission it properly. In addition to scrap metal and electronic equipment, the Empire is sitting on three KDY Destroyer-I ion engines, two shield generator domes, two heavy turboblaster turrets and, of course, the command bridge tower.

Just as Jeanne d'Arc's non-recyclables helped power certain waste treatment plants, it also stands to reason the residual waste from all that firepower could support the Ionization Reactor that runs the Empire's fleet.

Recovering value from waste is what Veolia calls resourcing the world. Resourcing the Earth, that is – there’s not much we can do for Jakku. To those here in our galaxy who are interested in the safe handling and collection of industrial waste, May the Force be with you.

Image source: Screenshot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (Disney Lucasfilm)

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