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Recycling

According to the US Department of Agriculture, every year approximately 455,000 tons (412,769 tonnes) of discarded eggshells must be transported and disposed of in the US alone. Now, however, scientists at the University of Aveiro in Portugal have developed a method of using such eggshell waste in the production of ceramic goods. Read More
Despite efforts to limit their use through implementation of charges or bans, billions of plastic bags continue to clog landfills, waterways and the world's oceans every year. Already a potential source for carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes, researchers have provided another reason not to throw the ubiquitous bags away by converting them into a range of petroleum products. Read More
Goodwill of San Francisco has launched a smart donation bin called goBin that aims to make donating old clothes and other textiles a snap. Instead of having to make a regular trip to a Goodwill store, the bin will allow residents of apartment towers to donate their stuff from the comfort of their buildings. Developed in collaboration with the global product strategy firm, Frog Design, the high-tech textile-recycling bin is expected to help the city's environmental department reach its goal of making San Francisco a zero waste city by 2020. Read More
As evidenced by our friend carbon fiber, composite materials get a big boost in strength when fibers are part of the recipe. Examples include composites made with plastic, wood pulp, and flax fibers. Husband-and-wife design team Jen Carlson and Josh Shear have taken this concept to a funky new level, by using shredded old blue jeans to create a denim fiber composite known as Denimite. Read More
What can you say about cigarette butts? They instantly make wherever they are look seedy, they don't biodegrade, plus they're highly toxic to aquatic organisms. It turns out, however, that they are good for something. The City of Vancouver and TerraCycle Canada launched a first-of-its-kind pilot program this Tuesday, in which the butts will be collected for recycling. Read More

Rare earth elements are an integral part of many of today's electronic devices, serving as magnets, catalysts and superconductors. Unfortunately, these minerals are also ... well, rare, and thus very pricey. Recently, however, scientists discovered that some of them can be reclaimed from industrial wastewater, instead of being mined from the earth. Read More

Of all the things that we regularly dispose of, you would think that shoes would be one of the most difficult to recycle. Not only are well-used shoes kind of ... gross, but they're also made of a variety of different materials, all of which are joined together. Nonetheless, scientists at Loughborough University in the UK announced last week that they have created and trialled "the world’s first comprehensive system for separating and recovering useful materials from old footwear." Read More
Discarded plastic bags are if nothing else, certainly one of the most visible forms of litter out there. While it's possible to recycle some of them into other plastic products, scientists at Australia's University of Adelaide have found another use for them – they can be used in the production of high-value carbon nanotubes. Read More
A team of Taiwanese researchers is to demonstrate a method of treating sewage using old optical disks such as CDs. The disks are used as a platform to grow minuscule nanorods of zinc oxide, a known photocatalyst capable of breaking down organic matter. By spinning the disks, sewage water spreads into a thin layer through which light can pass, exciting the nanorods into action. Read More
When it comes to demolishing buildings, there are almost as many ways to take them apart as put them up. We knock them down, blow them to bits, and build machines to take them apart. But what about a robot that eats buildings? Omer Haciomeroglu of Sweden’s Umeå Institute of Design has come up with the concept ERO concrete de-construction robot, which uses high-pressure water jets to strip concrete from rebar and recycle it on the spot. Read More
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