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Recycling

A microscope image of CNF fibers made via the new process (Image: Edinburgh Napier Univers...

While we hear a lot about the wonders of materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes, nanofibrillated cellulose (aka: Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF) also shows a lot of promise. A type of "nanocellulose", it can be used to produce composite materials that are strong, light, electrically-conductive and oxygen-impervious. Additionally, it uses an existing waste product as its feedstock. Unfortunately its production process is fairly energy-intensive, limiting its widespread use. Thanks to a new technique, however, that may soon no longer be the case.  Read More

One Street Components' Bike Shift Lever is made from scrap aluminum, along with a bottle c...

For millions of people, bicycles are more than just a source of recreation – they're a depended-upon means of transportation. Unfortunately for many of those people, however, they can't afford to buy decent parts when their old ones wear out. That's why Arizona-based bicycle advocacy nonprofit One Street Components has announced a new project, which will allow partnering groups to make shift levers from readily-available materials including scrap aluminum and bottle caps.  Read More

The Eco-Safe Digester is a self-contained stainless steel unit that breaks down food waste...

The world produces a hell of a lot of waste and a great part of it is food waste. According to the United Nations Environment Program, around one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is either lost or wasted. In an effort to deal with all this waste in a green way, New York-based BioHitech has developed a device that breaks food waste down into grey water and connects to a cloud system to allow the company to tap the power of big data to monitor and improve the performance of the units.  Read More

If California’s drought continues, residents may be drinking the recycled water from the S...

Drinking recycled urine may be the stuff of Dune novels, and a drastic response to California’s ongoing drought. But officials in Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley are hoping its new high-tech purification plant will help residents get past the ick factor and eventually allow treated wastewater to flow through their faucets in a "toilet to tap" scenario. Opened in July, the $72 million Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center is the most advanced such plant in the US, and uses a multi-step system of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet rays to produce water of higher quality than typical drinking water.  Read More

Cigarette ash could now have another use besides ... well, nothing (Photo: Shutterstock)

In a perfect world, cigarette waste simply wouldn't exist. Given that it does, though, scientists have explored a number of methods of repurposing it – these have included using compounds from cigarette butts to store energy, make shipping pallets, and rust-proof steel. Now, researchers have shown that cigarette ash can be used as a low-cost means of filtering arsenic from water supplies. It's a little ironic, as cigarette smoke actually contains a dangerous amount of arsenic.  Read More

Researchers have combined materials derived from alfalfa and pine resin to create a recycl...

Thanks to their high power ratings and relative reliability, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are an efficient and reliable source of power, widely used in modern electronic equipment. On the downside, however, expired Li-ion batteries are also difficult to dispose of, with their potentially toxic content and the complex methods required for their recycling. Researchers at Uppsala University’s Ångström Laboratory think that they may have a solution: combine the salvaged remnants of a Li-ion battery with completely organic materials derived from alfalfa and pine resin, to create a recycled biomaterial Li-ion hybrid battery.  Read More

Carbon black from tires reportedly makes a better anode material than the traditional grap...

There may soon be a new use for discarded tires ... besides turning them into mattresses for cows, that is. Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method of harvesting the carbon black from them, and using it to make anodes for better-performing lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

By measuring a plastic item's fluorescence half-life, it's possible to tell what kind of p...

If you've ever had to separate different types of plastic for recycling, then you'll know how much it slows down the recycling process. Now, imagine how much harder it is for staff receiving huge amounts of unsorted plastic at municipal recycling plants. New technology developed at Ludwig Maximilians Universitat in Munich, however, identifies plastic types automatically.  Read More

Martin Myerscough believes that little changes in the way coffee cups are produced could a...

Along with a timely hit of caffeine, takeaway coffee can deliver its fair share of environmental angst as the office trash can begins to brim with empty paper cups. But what if, instead of being carted off to landfill, these cups could be recycled up to seven times, much like newspapers and regular cardboard? According to UK-based inventor Martin Myerscough, a small difference in the way these cups are produced could significantly reduce the monumental waste generated by today's coffee-crazed society.  Read More

Matterbetter is seeking ideas for new uses of the Russian Typhoon nuclear submarine

Reappropriating structures or spaces for new uses is a common occurrence. Sydney's Goods Line and Battersea Power Station are both the focus of such projects. Now, architectural firm Matterbetter is asking for submissions to reimagine perhaps the most unusual thing yet: a Russian nuclear submarine.  Read More

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