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Recycling

Environment

BioBot 20 countertop diesel processor converts waste cooking oil into biodiesel

One difficult aspect of a greener lifestyle involves disposal of used cooking fats. Most people either pour it down the drain, where it can lurk for years while conspiring to clog your pipes, or pour it in the yard, where it attracts pests of various sorts looking for a free meal. Recycling is obviously a better option, and to this end the BioBot 20 tabletop diesel processor – a (relatively) simple chemical reactor for converting used kitchen oils into biodiesel fuel at home – has been introduced by UK-based company Biobot. Read More

Science

DARPA video outlines progress of Phoenix satellite re-purposing project

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a new video showing the progress of its Phoenix project, which aims at salvaging parts from defunct communications satellites to build new ones. Based on a new class of nanosatellites and a robotic “tender,” its purpose is to use repurposed satellites to construct a new communications net for the military at low cost. Read More

Environment

Short Circuit project reuses unwanted kitchen appliances

In recent years, repairing and upgrading electronics has largely given way to a trend of disposable gadgets which fill up landfills – especially with regard to home appliances like coffee makers and toasters. However, French designer Gaspard Tiné-Berès proposes to repair and re-use discarded and damaged appliances, with readily available reclaimed materials providing the necessary components, and the bodies constructed from cork. Read More

3D Printing

The Filabot recycles scrap plastic into inexpensive 3D printing filaments

Desktop 3D printers have hit price-points that make them as affordable as color laser printers. But they also share the same problem – replacing the printing medium costs an arm and a leg. A kilogram of plastic filament costs about US$50, meaning the cost of turning your ideas into reality can quickly add up. But now the Filabot, a miniature plastic recycling plant, will provide a wide variety of plastic filaments from scrap. Read More

Good Thinking

SymTyre machine makes old tires flat-packable

Tires are one of those things that our society goes through a lot of, yet their disposal can be problematic. Being round and containing a large air cavity, they’re not exactly the most efficient things to store or transport. Those that don’t get recycled can end up collecting water and acting as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, or becoming part of giant “tire mountains.” A new device, however, is designed to cut them apart so they can be flat-packed – thus reducing the space they take up, and maximizing the amount that can be transported at once.Read More

Architecture

America's "greenest street" provides a blueprint for sustainable urban development

A streetscape that includes natural landscaping, bicycle lanes, wind powered lighting, storm water diversion for irrigation, drought-resistant native plants and innovative “smog-eating” concrete has earned Cermak road in Chicago the title of “greenest Street in America” according to the Chicago Department of Transport (CDOT). Opened in October 2012, the first phase two mile stretch is part of the Blue Island/Cermak Sustainable Streetscape project which was introduced in 2009 with the aim of reducing overall energy usage by 42 percent. Read More

Environment

Paper waste used to make "green" bricks

Paper waste has already been used to create things like foam and batteries – now, a team of researchers from Spain’s University of Jaen are making bricks out of the stuff. Although the finished products still need a little tweaking before they're ready for prime time, they could ultimately give traditional bricks a run for their money. Read More

Good Thinking

Machine uses artificial intelligence to sort dead batteries

While it’s definitely important to keep the heavy metals in discarded batteries out of the environment, the sorting of all of the different types of batteries that arrive at a recycling depot could no doubt get extremely tedious. It’s the type of job that often goes to a machine. Well, such a machine has been invented. Called the Optisort, it can recognize about 2,000 types of batteries, and is currently being used to sort one third of those recycled in the UK. Read More

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