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Waste

Sweeping the floor can be a hassle in its own right, but for some people, having to stoop down and collect the sweepings in a dustpan is just too much. If you're one of those people, you might like Bruno – it's a garbage can that automatically sucks up debris that's swept toward it. Read More
Hydrogen is the ideal gas for use in low-emissions combustion engine or fuel cell-powered vehicles, due to its almost non-existent greenhouse gas emissions. Production costs, however, are higher compared to gasoline and around 95 percent of it is currently produced, somewhat counter-intuitively, from fossil fuels. Now researchers at Virginia Tech claim to have created a method to produce hydrogen fuel using a biological technique that is not only cheaper and faster, but also produces hydrogen of a much higher quality ... and all from the leftover stalks, cobs, and husks of corn. Read More
Homes may one day benefit from improved acoustic insulation with an orange flavor after researchers in Spain managed to turn waste material from orange trees into high-performance acoustic insulation. The new material is more environmentally friendly to produce and an improvement in terms of acoustic insulation compared to conventional laminated gypsum boards. Read More

When the sap from plants such as sugar cane is extracted for commercial use, what's left over is a fibrous material known as bagasse. This is commonly used as biofuel, or is compressed into a wood substitute. Now, Mexican startup Plastinova is using agave bagasse from the tequila industry to make a wood-like material of its own, although it's also incorporating recycled plastic. Read More

While we hear a lot about the wonders of materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes, nanofibrillated cellulose (aka: Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF) also shows a lot of promise. A type of "nanocellulose", it can be used to produce composite materials that are strong, light, electrically-conductive and oxygen-impervious. Additionally, it uses an existing waste product as its feedstock. Unfortunately its production process is fairly energy-intensive, limiting its widespread use. Thanks to a new technique, however, that may soon no longer be the case. Read More
The world produces a hell of a lot of waste and a great part of it is food waste. According to the United Nations Environment Program, around one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is either lost or wasted. In an effort to deal with all this waste in a green way, New York-based BioHitech has developed a device that breaks food waste down into grey water and connects to a cloud system to allow the company to tap the power of big data to monitor and improve the performance of the units. Read More
One man's waste is another's man's bus fuel, so the saying might now go. Indeed, next time people in the UK go for a number two, they could be powering the number two bus. Geneco's new Bio-Bus is powered by gas generated via the treatment of sewage and food waste. Read More
This is science at its best: Decades ago, the only practical use for sawdust was to soak up vomit, but thanks to scientists at a Belgian university who developed a new chemical process, that same sawdust could soon be used to create gasoline and other products normally derived from petroleum. Read More
Flushing the human waste produced on space missions out an airlock isn't an option for astronauts. Currently its stored in containers before being loaded into cargo vehicles that burn up as they pass through Earth's atmosphere, but researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have found a better use for the material, by developing a process to turn it into rocket fuel. Read More
In a perfect world, cigarette waste simply wouldn't exist. Given that it does, though, scientists have explored a number of methods of repurposing it – these have included using compounds from cigarette butts to store energy, make shipping pallets, and rust-proof steel. Now, researchers have shown that cigarette ash can be used as a low-cost means of filtering arsenic from water supplies. It's a little ironic, as cigarette smoke actually contains a dangerous amount of arsenic. Read More
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