An international team of researchers has created a new type of cement that uses these discarded items that is just as strong, but produces far less emissions.
Recycling old concrete into new cement is nothing new, but throwing in old toilets and bath tubs? That one we haven't heard before. According to an international team of researchers working on creating cleaner cement, those ceramic castaways, as well as bricks, can be used to make a cement that's just as strong as traditional cement, but through a process that's much less dirty.
For the new cement, ceramic waste is ground up and mixed with an activator solution -- in this case sodium hydroxide, sodium silicate or even potentially rice husk ash -- and water. The mix is poured into a mold and baked under high temperatures. Tests on a mixture made with red clay brick show it to be actually stronger than common types of cement.
According to the researchers, who hail from Spain's Universitat Politècnica de València and Universitat Jaume I de Castellón, Imperial College of London, and the Universidade Estadual Paulista of Sao Paulo in Brazil, if these waste ceramics are used with the rice husk ash activator, then the resulting mix is a cement made completely from waste materials, which means waste streams are kept out of landfills and groups providing those materials could have a new way to produce revenue.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Recycling old ceramic waste is not only green, but profitable.
How one Farmer Brothers employee cut the company's waste and proved that change can come from below the c-suite
Working in the coffee business enabled Beaubien to get close to issues she cared about, such as fair wages for farmers, but her personal passion for environmental sustainability inspired her to do more. She was surprised by the huge volume of waste her company sent to the landfill – over 70% of its waste, which included at least 15,000lbs of coffee chaff each month. Beaubien started researching ideas about how the company could operate more sustainably, using resources like the Impact at Work toolkitto introduce waste reduction ideas to management that would build a solid foundation. Beaubien then recruited more than 20 other employees across the Portland site to launch a waste management initiative.
Over the past four years, these employees have repurposed or recycled about 60% of headquarters' waste, creating a model for other Farmer Brother sites to follow. At the same time, Beaubien's team has helped the company significantly reduce costs and create additional revenue streams by selling waste to those who can use it.
Bert Guevara's insight:
This company walked the talk on zero waste management.
"We want our company to be setting a new standard for manufacturing waste streams," says Sarah. "Our ultimate goal is zero waste to landfill by 2015 for all Farmer Brothers sites."
A former crew member sent us this video of a MSC Cruises crew member pitching garbage bag(s) overboard from the MSC Magnifica off the coast of Brazil. Check ...
MSC Cruises says "a full investigation is being conducted into the issue" and that "new stringent procedures have been enacted ... to further discipline crew members for breaches of the company's stringent anti-pollution policies."
"In light of the on-going investigation MSC Cruises is not in a position to divulge details of the case," the company continued. "MSC Cruises is fully collaborating with the Brazilian authorities in order to shed light on the responsibilities and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future," it said.
Bert Guevara's insight:
This video confirms what many are suspecting all along. Irresponsible ship crews, who make money from the oceans, are dumping their garbage into the sea.
There has to be a stricter coast guard regulation to monitor garbage volumes loaded on-board in ships and the volume that is unloaded when they dock.
Every year the U.S. wastes some 141 trillion calories of food, the equivalent of 1,249 calories wasted per person per day or about 133 billion pounds.
Before you scrape the leftovers on your plate into the garbage, take heed: every single year the U.S. wastes some 141 trillion calories of food, the equivalent of 1,249 calories wasted per person per day. In this world, where 7.1 billion people are suffering from under-nourishment, we should really think twice before biting off more than we can chew.
The latest figures on food wasting come from the USDA, who says in 2010 Americans wasted some 133 billion pounds of food. In a 430 billion pound food supply, that’s about one-third of the whole wasted. Economically, it’s $161.6 billion in food wastage.
This wasted food isn’t only the stuff being scraped from your plate when you finish a meal, but the food at the back of your fridge that’s been allowed to go bad, food discarded by restaurants and retailers because of a blemish or expiration date, and the food you pack in your child’s lunch that never makes it into their mouth.
Bert Guevara's insight:
I advocate the "clean your plate" habit. The Philippines cannot afford to be wasteful.
"The “clean plate club” was established in 1917 by a government interested in reducing food waste during times of war. While the leftovers from this campaign may not have been good for Americans waistlines, it wasn’t totally misdirected."
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) does everything big, including recycling, and this week they’ve officially opened their first plant dedicated to recycling cars! An estimated 11,000 UAE vehicles get ...
Now all that automotive litter will be put to better use: “This is the only facility today that can deal with end-of-life vehicles in the country. We encourage insurance companies, dealers and government departments to use this service,” said Najib Faris, chief commercial officer of Bee’ah, the plant operator.
Dumped cars will be manually dismantled, then sliced and diced to allow valuable metals to be salvaged, and plastics, tires, upholstery, cables and mechanical parts to be recycled or refurbished within the Bee’ah compound. Previously, old clunkers were sold to scrap dealers, who stripped off spare parts and sold the car carcasses on the international market.
Workers separate cables, which are sent to electronic waste traders, and foam cushions that can be recycled locally. Window glass is pulverized and used for landfill cover. The company aims to sell engines and transmissions to international companies that refurbish them.
Bert Guevara's insight:
While other countries are worrying about e-waste, this country is recycling cars!
Did you know careless disposal of non-functional mobile phones and other electronics could pose serious health risks? A study shows that how you dispose of y...
Bert Guevara's insight:
The growing volume of electronic gadgets and its deliberate design for obsolescence creates a nightmare for waste managers. It is high time that this issue be addressed before it is too late. Proper e-waste management is also an important health issue.
It suggests there is huge scope to breathe new life into the items buried at the back of cupboards by altering and updating them.
Alternatively, it suggests they can be donated to good causes, recycled or given new life by being sold on through eBay.
The huge amount of ‘wardrobe waste’ has been identified by government advisers who are calling on the nation to make use of their old clothes.
The figures on unused clothes and shoes have been collated by the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which is best known for tackling food waste.
It claims that people are putting clothes and shoes worth £140million a year into the bin, sending them off to landfill, rather than making good use of the items.
The group has set up a Love Clothes campaign and website to advise women, who are most likely to be sitting on a pile of un-used fashions, and men on how best to make use of clothes that were bought on a whim and sit unloved in wardrobes.
New York City will reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills by converting it into energy.
New York City will reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills by converting it into energy. Last week, Deputy Mayor Cas Halloway announced that the city will partner with Waste Management to deliver pre-processed organic waste food to Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant where it will be added to wastewater sludge to increase biogas production. The biogas by-product will be converted into renewable natural gas for both residential and commercial use through a partnership with National Grid, an international electricity and energy company. Through this project, enough energy could be produced to heat almost 5,200 New York city homes and reduce annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 90,000 metric tons, equivalent to removing almost 19,000 cars from the road. In addition, the project will help the city reach its PlaNYC goal of reducing municipal GHG emissions by 30 percent by 2017, a goal it is more than halfway to achieving.
We write about bees a lot, and we're starting to think they might be reading. We're always advocating for the use of greener building techniques, like recycling waste materials, and it seems like the bees have taken that to ...
ThinkProgress BP, Chevron Accused Of Illegally Dumping Toxic Radioactive Drilling Waste Into ...
The Louisiana parish of Plaquemines is taking on a group of oil and gas giants including BP and Chevron for allegedly dumping toxic waste — some of it radioactive — from their drilling operations into its coastal waters, according to a lawsuit removed to federal court on Thursday.
Plaquemines Parish is claiming the companies violated the Louisiana State and Local Coastal Resources Management Act of 1978 by discharging oil field waste directly into the water “without limitation.” Worse, the companies allegedly failed to clear, revegetate, detoxify or restore any of the areas they polluted, as required by state law. The oil and gas companies’ pollution, along with their alleged failure to adequately maintain their oilfields, has caused significant coastal erosion and contaminated groundwater, the lawsuit said.
Plaquemines’ suit says BP and Chevron should have known that the oilfield wastes, referred to as “brine,” contained “unacceptable and inherently dangerous” levels of radioactive materials called Radium 226 and Radium 228. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, small amounts of Radium 226 were once used as an additive in toothpaste, hair creams, and even food items due to supposed beneficial health properties. Those products soon “fell out of vogue,” however, after it was discovered that the health effects were exactly the opposite of beneficial.
Long-term exposure to radium also increases the risk of developing several diseases, including lymphoma, bone cancer, leukemia and aplastic anemia, according to the EPA.
The U.K.'s adaption of the EU's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive will come into force on January 1, 2014 in a move welcomed by PV Cycle.
According to the new directive, all PV modules that have reached their end-of-life (either because their warranty has expired or they have been damaged) must be disposed of in the correct manner. PV Cycle, with local presence in a number of European countries, is an organization that helps coordinate the take back and waste disposal of PV modules, managing a number of collection points across Europe and offering guidance on how PV producers can comply with the law and recycle their products accordingly.
"The regulations are traditionally focused upon ensuring collection and recycling of consumer products, but not necessarily on the very nature of PV panels with their long lifecycle and B2B character," said Burton. "Thankfully, the U.K.’s Department of Businees, Skills and Innovation (BIS) have taken a pragmatic approach, in consultation with the PV sector, to ensure that the industry takes responsibility without damaging its long-term sustainability objectives."
For the U.K. PV market, the new regulations require all importers of PV panels into the U.K. to register with a Product Compliance Scheme, which takes effect from January 1, 2014. The scheme asks that all producers take full financial responsibility of the waste disposal of the PV panels they supply to the market, in addition to reporting all important data, such as numbers supplied and locations distributed to.
Treehugger Harvesting waste plastic for 3D printers to reduce poverty: Plastic Bank Treehugger Once hailed as a miracle material, the now ubiquitous plastic is out of control, and it's polluting the water, littering our landscapes, and endangering...
"The Plastic Bank is setting up plastic repurposing centers around the world, where there’s an abundance of both waste plastic and poverty.
We are empowering people to harvest plastics as a currency they can exchange for tools, household items, parts & 3D printing.
Our mission is to remove plastic waste from the land, oceans and waterways while helping people ascend from poverty and transition into entrepreneurship." - Plastic Bank
Part of the problem, as Plastic Bank sees it, is that we don't perceive that there's any value in plastic, and so it gets tossed indiscriminately. But if the real value of plastic could be realized, it would become too valuable to simply throw away, and too valuable to leave in the ocean, and could be considered to be a resource, not a waste product.
CNN Plane search hampered by ocean garbage problem CNN In addition, discarded plastics -- including countless bags like the kind routinely provided by retail stores and fast food restaurants until a movement in recent years to decrease their use --...
"It isn't like looking for a needle in a haystack," Conservation International senior scientist M. Sanjayan said of the difficulty in finding the Boeing 777 aircraft. "It's like looking for a needle in a needle factory. It is one piece of debris among billions floating in the ocean."
With the world's eyes now scouring Asian waters for any trace of the plane that was more than 240 feet long and weighed more than 700,000 pounds, the magnitude of the ocean debris problem has become evident.
Lost containers are only a minor part of the problem. While ship waste also adds to ocean pollution, most of the garbage comes from land, Sanjayan said.
Estimates from various sources, including the Japanese government, indicate that more than 10 million tons of debris -- including houses, tires, trees and appliances -- washed into the sea in the 2011 tsunami.
In addition, discarded plastics -- including countless bags like the kind routinely provided by retail stores and fast food restaurants until a movement in recent years to decrease their use -- form huge, churning garbage fields in the rotating currents of ocean gyres. One in the north Pacific is estimated to be at least 270,000 square miles, or an area larger than Texas.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Every time we monitor the plight of missing MH370 over the Indian Ocean, all we get is garbage!!!
"The world does use the ocean as its toilet, and then expects that toilet to feed it,"
Lady Gaga makes an Austin inspired entrance and talks about her outfit, her first concert and her love of the city. Jimmy Kimmel Live - The first part of Jim...
We can’t give Gaga too hard a time, though—“upcycling” is still a relatively new concept. “Recycling,” the term we’re more used to, refers to the process of making something new from something that has been used before. “Upcycling,” on the other hand, requires finagling a material in such a way that creates a product of higher quality or value than the original, placing it in the “trash to treasure” category.
Of course, one could argue that anything under the hands of Gareth Pugh would fit that definition—it’s all a matter of semantics, after all. But what the lady probably meant to say was that the coffee filters were “repurposed,” meaning they were altered for use in a different context.
Gaga did make a statement we can all agree on, however. “You can do anything with your crazy ideas if you put your mind to it,” she told Kimmel.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Whatever you call it, materials shouldn't all go to the trash bin after the first use.
Discarders of electronic goods expect them to be recycled properly. But almost all such devices contain toxic chemicals which, even if they are recyclable, make it expensive to do so. As a result, illegal dumping has become a lucrative business. Photographer Kevin McElvaney documents Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in Accra, Ghana, which is home to the world’s largest e-waste dumping site. Boys and young men smash devices to get to the metals, especially copper. Injuries, such as burns, untreated wounds, eye damage, lung and back problems, go hand in hand with chronic nausea, anorexia, debilitating headaches and respiratory problems. Most workers die from cancer in their 20s
Bert Guevara's insight:
The problem of "designed obsolescence" (where products are designed to last for a short time) becomes a global health and waste dilemma. Unless recovery and recycling is formalized, e-gadgets will remain an environmental and health issue.
How do you start your day? If you are like most adults it’s with a ‘Cup of Joe’. About 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the U.S., up from 78 percent in 2012, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey. That’s an average of three cups a day per person, or 587 …
With all of that Coffee being consumed, think of the amount of coffee grounds that are being thrown away. Coffee grounds can be re-used for so many different things. Here are just a few ideas!
Before you throw anything away, really think about it. For example, if you've finished burning a candle that comes in a big glass jar, don't waste it. Instead, drain out the leftover wax and use it as storage.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Modern solid waste management is no longer limited to 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle).
More than reuse, the trend is to UPCYCLE. It is to elevate the use of an item to a different level using creativity and common sense.
Here are three projects to change your old books into cool furniture designs for your home. You may be surprised what you can create with recycled books.
Book lovers everywhere would like to get more life out of their old books. It hurts us to throw any book away, no matter what kind it is or how out of date. That is why I love projects that recycle old books into something new and useful. Here are three great and easy projects to change your old books into cool furniture designs for your home.
Bert Guevara's insight:
It will be a waste to throw away all our old books, especially those with some nostalgic value. Retaining them in the home will be a good way of reminding our children and grandchildren, that before the smartphone and iPads, there were books!
Instead of building a new battery, this company built a better battery management system that could boost the capacity and prolong the life of lithium-ion batteries.
Nick Sherstyuk, an electrical engineer, and his son Tim, a university chemistry student, began researching how they could prolong the life of Li-ion batteries, and after a year of trials, came up with a technology that works with just about any Li-ion battery, substantially extending its life and increasing its capacity. They patented their gBatteries SmartG BMS (Battery Management System) in 2012, and are currently looking for an industry partner to get their technology integrated into current or future devices.
"This enhanced control method allows any OEM li-ion battery to gain the ability store 10-40% more capacity (varies between specific type of li-ion chemistry), have a 4x higher cycle count, and not degrade in capacity over time.
I know that mentioning planned obsolescence in the context of tech products is kind of disingenuous, due to a lot of other factors that convince people to always upgrade to the newest devices, but in this case, the fading capacity and low number of charge cycles in batteries could be an unintended (yet profitable) consequence of the current state of battery technology that drives people to replace their device. If so, introducing a battery management system such as this one from gBatteries, could potentially lengthen the lives of devices and reduce the e-waste associated with them, even at the risk of selling fewer units.
Francisco Morataya drives a vanload of empty bottles and cans to Victar Recycling Center in Echo Park every week or so to supplement his wages as an office janitor.
Certain containers previously accepted at a higher redemption value are no longer eligible, hurting people who rely on recycling for income.
Since 1987, California has charged a nickel or dime deposit on beer and soda cans and other containers that can be redeemed at any of the state's 2,200 recycling centers. Customers were not charged deposits for wine and liquor bottles, some milk and juice jugs and other vessels, although recyclers could mix them in with redeemable containers and receive some payment.
During the recession, the state's recycling rates shot up from 65% to 80% or more. That was good for the environment but threatened the solvency of California's $1.1-billion beverage container recycling fund, said CalRecycle spokesman Mark Oldfield.
Under the new law, recycling centers starting Nov. 1 stopped taking wine, liquor, milk and other containers, except for scrap value, which is negligible.
Researchers in India have developed a relatively low-temperature process to convert certain kinds of plastic waste into liquid fuel as a way to re-use discarded plastic bags and other products. They report full details next ...
Recycling can create jobs Goshen News As our leaders scour the state looking for job opportunities for Hoosiers, they're neglecting one potential job source they see every day … one that could bring thousands of jobs to Indiana: the trash can.
It’s true. While Indiana wrestles with a 7.5 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and our leaders chase any and all reasonable ideas for job creation, we’re virtually burying jobs in landfills by disposing of materials that could be recycled and used in consumer goods.
And we’re not talking about a few jobs; we’re talking about thousands of jobs. A new study by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University confirmed that, if Indiana’s antiquated policies are updated to encourage more recycling, we could realistically create at least 10,000 new jobs in Indiana.
It’s time for our leaders to put an end to our job-disposal habits and promote the policies necessary to create jobs that not only will put more Hoosiers to work but also reduce our negative impact on the state’s environment.
The potential is considerable. Today, 66 percent of what gets thrown away by Hoosiers could be recovered and used as raw material by Indiana manufacturers. Another 17 percent of our waste could be turned into valuable compost.
How e-Waste Is Creating Jobs For People With Criminal Records In Los Angeles Forbes Meet Kabira Stokes, the founder of Isidore Electronics Recycling – a startup that employs people with criminal records to recycle electronic waste in Los Angeles...
Isidore Electronics Recycling – a startup that employs people with criminal records to recycle electronic waste in Los Angeles for companies seeking a more responsible way to manage their environmental footprint, and avoid exporting e-waste to developing countries that have poor environmental and workplace safety standards. In the United States, it’s estimated that 50-80% of the e-waste collected for recycling is being exported (predominately to Asia). And only 25% of total e-waste is being collected for recycling – most is discarded in landfills or incinerators, releasing dangerous toxins into the land and air. While e-waste represents just two percent of America’s trash in landfills, it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. So how did Isidore Electronics Recycling come to be?
Now secure in a new space within the same area of Downtown Los Angeles, business is going well – they’ve recycled approximately 200 tons of e-waste, and have been named one of LA CleanTech Incubator’s portfolio companies. This relationship will help them continue to grow their client list, which is what Stokes says she’s currently focused on. Ideal candidates include any medium-to-large sized company located in Los Angeles that is looking for a more responsible way to manage their e-waste while simultaneously providing jobs to people seeking to break free from the prison system – once and for all.