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Recycling

The new biogas plant, sited next to the Didcot sewage works in Oxfordshire, has been offic...

The biomethane project that turns human waste into green gas that we featured in May has now gone live. The project is now converting the treated sewage of 14 million Thames Water customers into clean, green gas and is pumping that gas into people's homes.  Read More

Reverse Vending Machines give users cash for their empties

Just a few days ago, we told you about a vending machine that dispenses ice cream in return for smiles. Well, if you like cold, hard cash better than cold, soft ice cream, here’s another dispenser-with-a-twist you might be interested in - the Reverse Vending Machine (RVM), that takes in recyclable bottles and cans, and gives out cash in return. RVMs have recently been introduced at the Centro Hollywood shopping mall in Adelaide, as part of the state of South Australia’s effort to promote recycling and reduce littering.  Read More

What an oceanic plastic vortex looks like

By embarking on a new awareness-raising quest, Electrolux is hoping to focus the public's attention on the growing problem of global plastic waste. Looking specifically at the vast islands of accumulated plastic garbage dotted around the world's oceans, the company has announced its Vac from the sea campaign. Part of the initiative will involve the collection of rubbish from ocean hotspots, recycling and processing it and then turning it into a limited number concept vacuum cleaners.  Read More

The fungi used to absorb BPA from polycarbonate

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, isn’t something you want leaching into the environment. It’s the compound in polycarbonate plastic that has been suspected of causing health problems since the 1930’s, and that more recently got people all over the world throwing out their plastic water bottles. When polycarb is broken down in the recycling process, or even when it’s just left in the dump, its BPA content is released. Where it ends up is a question that has a lot of people worried. A new study, however, indicates that fungus could be used to keep BPA at bay.  Read More

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

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