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Plastic waste

— Environment

Plastic islands being used to restore African lake

As the ever-growing giant flotilla of floating refuse known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will show us, we shouldn't be putting plastic waste in our waterways. A new project, however, is aimed at helping the environment by doing so ... in a roundabout way of speaking. The participants plan on taking several artificial floating islands made from post-consumer plastic, planting papyrus on them, and then using them to help rebuild the ecosystem of Africa’s Lake Naivasha. Read More
— Environment

Play it again Sam: Fujitsu recycles old CDs and DVDs into new notebooks

Although optical drives in consumer notebooks are becoming less common nowadays and we are storing more and more of our digital information on hard drives instead of optical discs, CD/DVD players are still a mainstay of desktop computers and business laptops and new systems often come bundled with discs containing all sorts of never-to-be-used software. With the help of its Laboratories Division, Fujitsu has developed a new recycling system to make new front panels for notebook computers from all the discarded CDs and DVDs collected, sorted and recycled by its five recycling centers across Japan. Read More
— Environment

Plastic2Oil process turns plastic waste into fuel

While a lot of people may be doing their part for the environment by sending their discarded plastic items off for recycling, the fact is that much of the plastic currently in use is non-recyclable. In a not particularly eco-friendly process, some of this plastic is burned to generate electricity, while much of it simply ends up in landfills. Canadian company JBI, however, has developed a process that uses those plastics as a feedstock, and turns them into fuel. Read More
— Environment

Study questions the eco-friendliness of biodegradable products

As tons of plastic items continue to take up space in landfills, and the floating Great Pacific Garbage Patch continues to grow, environmentally-conscious consumers are understandably becoming more interested in biodegradable alternatives to traditional plastic. Whether it's because they share these concerns, or are just trying to cash in on an "eco-fad," many companies have responded by producing biodegradable versions of formerly near-eternal plastic products. While biodegradable products are designed to reduce the amount of trash clogging up our waterways and spoiling our parks, at least one scientist believes they may ultimately be doing more harm than good. Read More
— Environment

New technique recycles 100 percent of household plastic

This Christmas, chances are you’ll save the plastic film and blister packs that your presents come encased in and send it all off for recycling. According to scientists from the University of Warwick, however, only about 12 percent of plastic sent to depots actually gets recycled. Because of problems such as glued-on paper labels, or different types of plastic being combined in one product, the rest of it goes to the landfill or is burnt as fuel. Those same scientists have now devised a system that could recycle 100 percent of household plastic. Read More
— Environment

'Plastisoil' could mean cleaner rivers and less plastic waste

A new cement-like material that could be used to form sidewalks, bike and jogging paths, driveways and parking lots, may be able to lessen two environmental problems, namely plastic waste and polluted rainwater runoff. The substance is called Plastisoil, and it was developed by Naji Khoury, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia. In order to make Plastisoil, discarded polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles are pulverized and mixed with soil, and then that mixture is blended with a coarse aggregate and heated. The result is a hard yet non-watertight substance, similar to pervious concrete or porous asphalt. Read More
— Environment

Electrolux announces first Vac from the Sea vacuum cleaners

Since announcing the Vac from the sea initiative in June, Electrolux has been busy working with environmental organizations and concerned individuals to collect plastic debris from marine environments around the globe. Now the company has announced the creation of five one-off vacuum cleaner creations manufactured using waste collected from key areas, including Hawaii, the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Read More
— Environment

Biodegradable foam created from milk and clay

It’s always a bummer when you take something like a computer or TV out of its box, and realize that all that Styrofoam is just going to end up in the landfill. Although it can be recycled, due to transport costs and lack of market demand, most cities don’t do so. There’s also the fact that it’s made from petroleum – so it's a long way from being sustainable. Fortunately, though, an international team of scientists has recently developed a biodegradable foam. It’s made from clay and casein, which is a naturally-occurring protein in cow’s milk. Read More
— Marine

Plastiki: sailing the seven seas on a boat made from 12,500 plastic bottles

What do you do if you want to draw attention to the threats faced by the world’s oceans, in particular the huge amount of plastic waste that ends up in them? Easy, you sail across the Pacific Ocean, visiting and documenting environmental hot spots along the way. That, at least, is what the crew of the Plastiki are in the process of doing. The group of six adventurers set out from San Francisco on March 20th, with Sydney, Australia as their final destination. Three and a half months into the 11,000 nautical mile journey, they’re currently about 4,000 miles from the finish line. What makes their odyssey particularly remarkable is their sailboat, the Plastiki – a craft made almost entirely from recycled and/or recyclable plastic that gets the majority of its flotation from approximately 12,500 two-liter plastic bottles. Read More
— Environment

Plastic waste from the sea to be turned into vacuum cleaners

By embarking on a new awareness-raising quest, Electrolux is hoping to focus the public's attention on the growing problem of global plastic waste. Looking specifically at the vast islands of accumulated plastic garbage dotted around the world's oceans, the company has announced its Vac from the sea campaign. Part of the initiative will involve the collection of rubbish from ocean hotspots, recycling and processing it and then turning it into a limited number concept vacuum cleaners. Read More
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