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Waste


— Science

High-efficiency solar energy tech turns water into steam

A team of researchers at Rice University has developed a new technology that uses light-absorbing nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. Even though it is already significantly more efficient than solar panels at producing electricity, the technology will likely find its first applications in low-cost sanitation, water purification and human waste treatment for the developing world. Read More
— Good Thinking

Prototype product dispenser is designed to squeeze every last drop out

Does it bother you that you can’t get all of the liquid out of the bottom of a hand-pump-equipped container? Well, the folks at Pack Flow Concepts think that it should. According to them, such containers don’t dispense up to 15 percent of the ketchup, shampoo, soap or other liquid stored inside of them. That’s why Pack Flow is developing the Zero Waste Twist Dispenser. Read More

Cheese-powered dragster sets speed record for vehicle of its class

A cheese-powered dragster designed by researchers at Utah State University (USU) set a new speed record for a vehicle of its type, reaching a shade over 65 mph (104 km/h) at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association's 2012 World of Speed event in September. No prize Stilton was wasted in the pursuit of glory however, as the vehicle runs on yeast biodiesel derived from the industrial waste of cheese production. Read More
— Environment

Portable pulverizer gives food waste the thrashing of a lifetime

Businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and farms are known for generating a lot of food waste. Not only can that waste take up space and attract vermin in landfills, but it can also be costly for those businesses to dispose of. That’s why Nevada-based Bokashicycle introduced a new product this week, the Bokashicycle Food Waste Pulverizer. The machine “shreds, rips, bruises and pulverizes” food waste, allowing more of it to fit within a receptacle, and preparing it for easy composting. Read More
— Environment

"Biorefinery" converts Starbucks waste into useful product

Every year, the individual stores that make up Starbucks Hong Kong produce almost 5,000 tonnes (4,536 tons) of used coffee grounds and unconsumed bakery items. As it stands now, all of that waste is incinerated, dumped in a landfill, or composted. In the future, however, it may be used to produce a key ingredient in laundry detergents, plastics, and many other items. A recent experiment showed that it can indeed be done. Read More
— Environment

Sea Chair Project harvests plastic from the oceans to create furniture

You may have heard about the huge floating islands of garbage swirling around in the middle of the Earth's oceans. Much of that waterlogged rubbish is made up of plastic and, like Electrolux with its concept vacuum cleaners, U.K.-based Studio Swine and Kieren Jones are looking to put that waste to good use. As part of an ambitious project, they’ve come up with a system to collect plastic debris and convert it into furniture. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Bill backs one out at Reinventing the Toilet fair

In an effort to improve conditions for the more than 2.5 billion people worldwide with no access to safe sanitation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last year awarded grants totaling US$3 million to eight universities to reinvent the toilet. At the two-day “Reinventing the Toilet” fair held in Seattle this week, where Bill Gates was on hand with 50 gallons (189 l) of fake feces made from soybeans and rice to put the various designs through their paces, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) team claimed first place for their solar-powered toilet. Read More
— Around The Home

Garbage-seeking waste basket moves to catch any trash thrown at it

We've all done it: you toss a piece of trash at a nearby waste basket only to have it ricochet off the edge, forcing you to make that shameful walk to go pick it up and drop it in carefully. You only have your own hand-eye coordination skills to blame, but if you think about it, shouldn't catching trash be the garbage can's job? That certainly seems to be the thought process that led one Japanese inventor to construct a smart trash can that tracks garbage tossed in its general direction and then moves across the floor to catch it. Read More
— Around The Home

BYPASSER is the faucet system Goldilocks might choose

What do you do when you want hot or cold water from the faucet? You set the temperature, turn the tap on, then wait for the water to reach the desired temperature before using any. Chances are, though, you simply let that initial not-hot-or-cold-enough water go down the drain. The new BYPASSER system from Belgium’s W&E Savings has been designed to keep that water from being wasted. Read More
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