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Recycling

A Mexican startup Ak Inovex has developed a new method of recycling plastic that does away with water and only consumes half the energy of previous systems. At the same time, it produces plastic pellets of equal or better quality,  resulting in an environmentally friendlier process that also promises to be significantly cheaper. Read More
You may not know what they're called, but odds are you've eaten or drunk something from them. I'm referring to plastic-aluminum laminate (PAL) packaging, which has long been used for toothpaste tubes and in recent years has gained popularity in food, drink and pet food packaging. Although it threatens to approach the ubiquity of the aluminum can or plastic bottle, PAL packaging lacks the familiar recyclable logo found on cans and bottles. But that could be set to change, with a process to recover the metals contained in PAL packaging, developed some 15 years ago by researchers at the University of Cambridge, now being demonstrated in a full commercial-scale plant. Read More
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
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 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
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
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
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
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

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

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