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The simplehuman sensor can is a 'touchless' garbage can that reacts to human activity

Of all the things we expected to see on display at CES in Las Vegas, a garbage can was not one of them. Nonetheless, amongst the tablet computers, 3D camcorders and iPhone apps, there sat the simplehuman sensor can. Like some other “touchless” garbage cans, its built-in sensor detects when someone is nearby, causing the can to obligingly open its lid. What makes it special – perhaps – is the company’s claim that the can’s “multi-sense” technology can adapt to what the user is doing.  Read More

Poo-Gloos (Bio-Domes) prior to submersion in a sewage lagoon

Poo isn't something generally talked about in polite company but like it or not, all of that human waste has to go somewhere. In smaller rural communities, it usually goes to wastewater lagoon systems; the alternative is mechanical treatment plants which process waste far more quickly but are expensive, labor intensive and often use chemicals. Enter the "Poo-Gloo," or Bio-Dome as it is officially known – an igloo-shaped device that can reportedly clean up sewage as effectively, but far more cheaply, than its mechanical counterparts. The Poo-Gloo, developed by Wastewater Compliance Systems, Inc., uses a combination of air, dark environment and large surface area to encourage the growth of a bacterial biofilm which consumes the wastewater pollutants. It is claimed that Poo-Gloos can treat pollutants just as quickly as mechanical plants while operating at a fraction of the cost – hundreds of dollars a month rather than thousands – and can be retrofitted to existing lagoon systems.  Read More

Vanessa trialled the concertina-style tent at UK festival, T In The Park (Credit: Ross Cai...

We've all seen the photos – the absolute devastation at the end of a festival after the revelers have gone home. A number of organizations are turning this waste into green industry including Vanessa Harden and friends at Do The Green Thing who have designed a biodegradable tent that will decompose post-party and replenish the soil in the process.  Read More

The 26-ton electric refuse truck is powered by five strings of seven interchangeable batte...

All of the different places I've lived in have had one thing in common – an early morning wake up call when the refuse truck appears in the street. Any move to make such things a little quieter is very welcome indeed, and if it benefits the environment too, then that's another tick in the plus column. Dow Kokam and PVI have announced that a fleet of much less noisy electric refuse trucks is to be rolled out in 2011 by SITA Ile de France, offering similar power and performance levels as their fossil-fueled counterparts.  Read More

The World Wide Fund for Nature has teamed up with German advertising agency Jung von Matt ...

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that an area of forest the size of Greece is cleared every year and that a significant proportion of that wood is pulped to make paper. In an effort to curb the needless printing of documents, the German branch of the organization has teamed up with Jung von Matt to introduce a new PDF-like digital file format that actually prevents a user from sending documents to the printer.  Read More

Before construction begins, the team have to dig out layers and layers of garbage

It's estimated that around 2.6 billion people around the world make do without any sanitation, including more than 10 million in the slums of Kenya. Still more have to use thinly disguised holes in the ground. A group of MIT students have joined forces to try and create a sustainable toilet solution for those in need. They've developed a low cost, modular sanitation solution which would be operated and maintained by locals and the waste transported to nearby processing plants. Biogas produced from the waste will be used to create electricity and what's left of the human waste turned into fertilizer.  Read More

One and a half liters of petrol are used in the production of every cubic foot of Styrofoa...

In an age where many oil fields are in terminal decline and our dependence on petroleum reaches critical proportions, it is simply crazy that with every Styrofoam-packaged item consumers purchase, one cubed foot of Styrofoam representing 1.5 liters of petrol is thrown away. Moreover, in the U.S., Styrofoam is said to take up 25 percent of the space in landfills. A much better-sounding alternative is to use naturally-produced EcoCradle. It's created from useless agricultural by-products and mushroom roots, has all the same properties as other expandable polystyrenes (EPS), and is fully compostable.  Read More

The bauxite residue container pond spill near Kolontar, Hungary

It might sound like fighting fire with fire, but geologist Chen Zhu proposes the application of another industrial waste to the Hungarian bauxite residue spill, with the aim of reducing toxicity via a technique called carbon sequestration. While he says it wouldn't render the residue completely harmless, it would at least minimize the environmental damage.  Read More

The HOT reactor (the silver-colored tank left of center) at the Lake Taihu cleanup site in...

Just under a year ago we reported on a method to clean polluted water and soil by infusing them with pressurized ozone gas microbubbles. The process was developed by Andy Hong at the University of Utah and has now moved out of the lab and is being put the test in a demonstration project in eastern China. If all goes to plan the process has the potential to boost a wide range of environmental cleanup efforts around the world.  Read More

A novel process uses rocket thrusters to clean up waste water and power treatment plants (...

Rocket engines are generally not thought of as being environmentally-friendly, but thanks to a newly-developed process, we may someday see them neutralizing the emissions from wastewater treatment plants. The same process would also see those plants generating their own power, thus meaning they would be both energy-neutral and emissions-free. Developed by two engineers at Stanford University, the system starts with the formation of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane gas - something that treatment plants traditionally try to avoid.  Read More

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