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Recycling

Prof. Jan Baeyens with plastic for the fluidized bed reactor (Photo: University of Warwick...

This Christmas, chances are you’ll save the plastic film and blister packs that your presents come encased in and send it all off for recycling. According to scientists from the University of Warwick, however, only about 12 percent of plastic sent to depots actually gets recycled. Because of problems such as glued-on paper labels, or different types of plastic being combined in one product, the rest of it goes to the landfill or is burnt as fuel. Those same scientists have now devised a system that could recycle 100 percent of household plastic.  Read More

A boll of cotton matures in the field  (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips...

Cotton has held an important significance for mankind for thousands of years. Not only are all parts of the cotton plant economically useful, but the multitude of uses and processes it can be put to make it America's number one value-added crop. Over the years we have crushed and extruded and woven cotton into many forms, but even today scientists and entrepreneurs are transforming the way we use cotton; from reducing pollution, insulating homes, and cleaning up oil spills to feeding the hungry. Here's a look at seven new companies being championed for their sustainability by Cotton Incorporated.  Read More

A good breakdown ... author of the thesis on using a technique called pyrolisis to decompo...

The world practically runs on pneumatic tires, but getting rid of them is an environmental nightmare. Apart from playground flooring material, running tracks for athletes and horses and unfashionable footwear, disposing of or reusing tires has proven to be extremely problematic (remember the Osborne artificial reef off Ft Lauderdale, Florida, made from old tires? It became an environmental disaster and had to be removed by the US Military). Now a scientist at the University of Basque Country, Spain, has used the process of pyrolisis to decompose and reuse the left-over components of pneumatic tires.  Read More

Stanford's simple-to-disassemble Bloom laptop concept is designed for easy recycling

It’s a given that we will one day be discarding our present laptop computers. It’s also a given that e-waste is currently a huge problem, that looks like it’s only going to get worse. While most of the materials in a laptop can be recycled, all of those pieces of glass, metal, plastic and circuitry are stuck together pretty tight, and require a lot of time and effort to separate. What is needed are laptops that are designed to be taken apart, for easy recycling – that’s why a group of graduate students from Stanford University made one.  Read More

The University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center is examining the legality and basic logis...

Despite ongoing advances in prevention techniques and monitoring systems, heart disease remains the world’s leading cause of death. A study from the University of Michigan (U-M) Cardiovascular Center has looked to the past for a future remedy in a study that examines the legality and basic logistics of recycling pacemakers after they have been removed from a deceased person.  Read More

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

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