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British Gas in the UK has announced a new biogas pilot scheme (Image: butkaj / Flickr, CC ...

It's good to see a national gas company taking the lead in renewable energy. British Gas in the UK has announced a new pilot scheme with Thames Water and Scotia Gas Networks to build a plant that will clean biomethane gas harvested from human waste and inject it back into the grid for use in kitchens and heating.  Read More

PELLA-DRX is a building material made from medical waste

Back in the 70’s, Mad Magazine ran a satirical article proposing crazy new methods of dealing with garbage. One of them involved taking the trash, compressing it into cubes, then building things out of those. Flash forward to 2010, and a Houston company is doing almost that very thing, and with medical waste, no less. Sharps Compliance takes items like needles, syringes and lancets, and presses them into a pelletized building material called PELLA-DRX.  Read More

Nanoparticles suspended in a microemulsion can be easily separated when heated

Nanoparticles may be small, but they sure ain’t cheap - ounce for ounce some of them are more precious than gold. Which is why scientists are seeking better ways to recover, recycle, and reuse the tiny particles that are barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. A new method to recover these valuable specks using a special type of microemulsion may make such recovery efforts easier and speed the application of nanotechnology in a variety of fields.  Read More

One of the new biodegradable SunChips bags, after spending 12 weeks in a compost heap

The last thing the world needs right now is more discarded food packaging, which is why it’s good to hear that Frito-Lay is about to introduce a 100% compostable bag for their SunChips snacks in the US and Canada. Made with plant-based polylactic acid, the new bags will completely biodegrade within about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin.  Read More

An Ostara PEARL proprietary fluidized bed reactor, used to extract phosphorous from raw se...

Here’s something rather important that you might not know: there may be a worldwide phosphorus shortage within the next few decades. The majority of the world’s phosphorus is currently mined from non-renewable phosphate rock deposits, and widely used in crop fertilizers. Scientists have begun to question just how much more phosphorus is left, and what the agriculture industry will do once it runs out. The answer – or some of it, at least – could be bobbing in a pool of raw sewage. Ostara, a Canadian nutrient recovery company, has developed a method for harvesting phosphorus from municipal wastewater and converting it to fertilizer.  Read More

Future site of the Waste-to-Biofuels complex

If you’re a fan of the original Back to the Future movie, then you probably liked the scene at the end where Doc Brown used some random household waste to fuel his time-traveling deLorean. Well, we’re now getting a little bit closer to that being a reality... sort of. While practical flying cars, time travel and cold fusion are still a ways off, the ability to power your car with garbage isn’t. Canadian biofuels firm Enerkem is currently working with the city of Edmonton, Alberta, to convert that city’s municipal waste into ethanol. This will lower the city’s greenhouse gas output, keep much of its waste out of the landfill, and produce a “clean” fuel Doc Brown would be proud of.  Read More

e-waste has risen dramatically in developing nations (Photo: techbirmingham/CC)

Ever wonder what happens to discarded televisions and obsolete home computers, or do you prefer not to think about it? According to a United Nations study on recycling, the volume of disused electronic products, or “e-waste” as it is known, has risen dramatically as it coincides with growth in sales in developing countries.  Read More

The Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center has a six acre 'living roof', the largest i...

When Vancouver won the competition to host the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games thoughts immediately turned to construction, and one of the most awe-inspiring initiatives has to be the redesign of the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center (VCAEC). Currently hosting the international broadcasting and media hub for the Winter Olympics, this waterfront building is not only beautiful and functional but is environmentally sustainable, boasting a green electricity program, a seawater heating and cooling system and the largest "living roof" in Canada populated with 40,000 plants and grasses.  Read More

The Vapur rolls up like an tube of toothpaste when its empty

Personally, I’m not a fan of bottled water. Firstly, tap water in many parts of the world is safe, tastes fine, and it's free. Then there's the waste that bottled water causes – an enormous amount of energy is consumed in manufacture and most bottles end up in landfill. So when I see a product like the Vapur, I instantly warm to it. It’s a flexible, reusable water container that rolls up like a tube of toothpaste when it's empty to fit in your pocket, purse or backpack – then in the dishwasher, not in the trash.  Read More

The SEED Project is developing a method to convert unused shipping containers into sustain...

Aside from tragic loss of life and incomprehensible destruction, events like last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti create a myriad of problems in their wake, not least of which is homelessness. With over 30 million shipping containers the world over currently lying dormant, a team of researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina are working to help solve the issue of accommodation in disaster affected areas by developing a method to convert the unused containers into sustainable emergency housing.  Read More

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