The Future of Waste
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The Future of Waste
Articles mapping out the future of waste. Blogs at www.garbologie.com
Curated by Adam Johnson
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Compact disk recycling in the UK

Compact disk recycling in the UK | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Diskrecycling is a UK company that recycles CDs and DVDs.

 

The plastic that can be obtained from recycling CDs and DVDs can then be used in a variety of applications: 

 

As components for the automotive and electronics industriesAs a raw material to make new plasticAnd as jewel cases, for CDs!
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Cleanup Array Could Remove Ocean Plastic

Cleanup Array Could Remove Ocean Plastic | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

19 year old Boyan Slat has designed the Ocean Cleanup Array which could reduce the world’s oceanic garbage patches by removing 7,2500,000 tonnes from them.

 

The array is a network of floating booms and processing platforms laid out to funnel the plastic in the direction of the platforms, where the plastic is separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling.

 

Note:

Deep Sea News gives quite a few reasons for why this concept may not work, so read their site before deciding that the Ocean Cleanup Array will solve marine debris: 

http://deepseanews.com/2013/03/the-ocean-cleanup-the-newest-of-the-new-plans-to-remove-marine-plastic/

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Solar Powered Trash Cans Talk to the City

Solar Powered Trash Cans Talk to the City | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Solar powered Bigbelly bins compact waste and are equipped with a chip that delivers real-time data to the city's waste management division, showing when the units are full and need to be picked up. Each bin can apparently replace 5 ordinary bins, but they are still not cheap. 13 bins have been installed in Santa Monica (California) at a cost of $99,000.

They lead to savings though. Bins at Boston University have enabled the university to lower its collection trips to fewer than twice a week, compared to 14.


This is quite incredible.


Relevant site:

Bigbelly Solar: www.bigbelly.com

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How GM Makes $1 Billion A Year By Recycling Waste

How GM Makes $1 Billion A Year By Recycling Waste | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

At GM, waste is viewed not as something to be thrown away, but as a resource out of place. By finding new uses for that waste — or selling it to someone who can — GM diverted 2.5 million tons of waste from landfills in 2011.


Worldwide, 90% of G's manufacturing waste is reused or recycled. This is apparently more than any other manufacturer. And it's not the sort of high-energy recycling where steel offcuts are melted back down for new steel, but instead a story is told of large flat steel offcuts being sold to local fabricator who cuts smaller bits from them.

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From Farm Straight to the Trash: Why We Need Innovative Food Waste Solutions Right Now

From Farm Straight to the Trash: Why We Need Innovative Food Waste Solutions Right Now | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
Keeping with a theme of food waste, and several different approaches to cut it, here are some tips and ideas: - A smart fridge that can tell you when food you've bought might be need to be consumed.- Reducing the amount of food on display in supermarkets to keep food fresh- Selling food that doesn't meet aesthetic standards at a discount rather than waste it- Making clear laws in relation to labelling of "use by" dates, being clear whether that is a date for peak quality, or when it becomes dangerous to eat. It has been estimated that new food labelling guidelines in the UK could reduce food waste in homes by 20 percent.
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Replacing tree pulp in paper with fruit and nuts

Replacing tree pulp in paper with fruit and nuts | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Favini in Italy has developed Crush paper stock, which replaces around 15 percent of virgin tree pulp with other organic materials such as processing residues from corn, orange, kiwi, olive, almond, hazelnut and coffee beans, which are more easily renewed than whole trees. In total, some 30 percent of the stock is comprised of post-consumer waste.

 

Using processing residues to replace virgin tree pulp is a great way to not only reduce the environmental impact of paper, but also to add value to materials that are otherwise wasted.

 

Relevant site:

Favini: http://www.favini.com/graphic_specialities/en/crush-prd-26.php

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Refreshing the Consignment Shop

Refreshing the Consignment Shop | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

ReStore are stores that sell "new and gently-used home improvement goods, furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price". There are 825 in the USA and Canada, and all proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.


Two entrepreneurial types have decided to refresh their local ReStore, each in their own way.


Katelyn Rauhut has focused on improving the recycling at the ReStore she works at. That is paper and other recyclables, but also household items.


Jake Brandt has taken another approach to the ReStore he is setting up. He has decided to make a point of the store being presented as a retail store rather than a rummage sale. This includes using artwork made from material at ReStore.


Two great innovators to refresh the consignment shop, making it an attractive place to recycle valuable goods.

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Revolutionary Building Products Made from Rubber

Revolutionary Building Products Made from Rubber | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A great article presenting three innovators producing building products from rubber.

 

Ecore International has developed a way to enable rubber to laminate virtually any surfacing material onto its recycled underlayment. Ecore envisions rubber-backed flooring—which can contain up to 98 percent recycled content—in schools, nursery homes, and multifamily housing.

 

Global Environmental Manufacturing (GEM) has developed roofing shingles, called Euroshield, featuring up to 70% crumb rubber by weight. They are guaranteed for 50 years.

 

Avraam Isayev at the University of Akron has developed a way to devulcanise rubber using high-power ultrasound to return rubber to a flowable material. His ultrasound extruder can process about 130 kg an hour. He is aiming for a rate of 500-2,200 kg/hr to convince the tye industry that it is a viable alternative.

 

Relevant sites:

Ecore International: http://www.ecoreintl.com/index.php

Euroshield: http://www.euroshieldroofing.com/en/about-us.html

 

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Ford Core Recovery Program Celebrates 10 Years

Ford Core Recovery Program Celebrates 10 Years | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Ford Moter Company has been collecting and recycling damaged bumpers for 10 years now.

 

The bumpers are collected from vehicles that are repaired through the Ford dealer network, and sent to third party recyclers. The programme brought together what were disparate collection recycling methods across the company, making the system simpler and clearer for all parties.

 

The programme also enables Ford to better manage the sale of aftermarket components.

 

Since it began in 2003, the programme has kept over 50,000 tonnes of material out of landfill.

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Turning poo into plastic

Turning poo into plastic | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

This is a great story that is both converting waste into plastic, but also replacing fossil fuel made plastic with biodegradable bioplastic.


Bacteria are grown in nutrient (esp carbon) rich "broth", forming a bioplastic known as PHAs. The company is called Micromidas and is apparently 2-3 years off commercial scale.


Relevant site:

Micromidas: www.micromidas.com

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Accessories Made out of Garbage

Accessories Made out of Garbage | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Coca-Cola and will.i.am have partnered up to create EKOCYCLE, an initiative that helps market gadgets, clothing and other products which use up to 100% plastic and aluminum waste as source material.

 

I must confess some ambivalence here, because Coca-Cola has been particularly destructive when it comes to Container Deposit Schemes in Australia.

 

Notwithstanding this, the initiative is interesting in its attempts to create high value markets for plastic and aluminium waste.

 

Relevant site:

EKOCYCLE: https://www.facebook.com/EKOCYCLE

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Jill Duncan's curator insight, September 23, 2013 8:43 PM

Accessories made out of garbage

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Bicycle tube recycling partnership

Bicycle tube recycling partnership | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

This is a partnership between two pretty amazing organisations in the US.

 

Bike Fixtation designs and manufactures public work stands, pumps, and vending machines for bicycle infrastructure. Picture vending machines with bike products, public pumps to pump up tyres, and repair stations to help you change a flat tyre. They have now augmented their vending machine to provide an inner tube collection point. Tubes collected go to Green Guru.

 

Green Guru upcycles inner tubes, wetsuits, climbing ropes, and banners into a range of products, including bags and bike gear.

 

It is a partnership made in heaven.

 

Relevant sites:

Bike Fixtation: http://www.bikefixtation.com/

Green Guru: http://www.greengurugear.com/

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PVC Window Recycling

PVC Window Recycling | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

More than 1 million PVC-U window frames were recycled in the UK in 2011.

 

Nearly 25,500 tonnes of PVC windows were recycled in 2011 representing 52% of the overall 48,500 tonnes of PVC recycled.

 

The windows are being recycled through Recovinyl, an initiative of the European PVC industry.

 

Relevant site:

Recovinyl: http://www.recovinyl.com/

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One man’s rubbish: Aircraft recycling

One man’s rubbish: Aircraft recycling | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A great story on the business of end-of-life aircraft.

 

The economics are really challenging. Recyclers typically purchase end-of-life aircraft for up to $20m (though typically much less), and then dismantle them to recover parts for resale. That works when fleets are stable, however when there is a large shift in fleets (such as where inefficient aircraft are replaced), then the parts are worth much less. Then the aircraft are recycled for scrap metal.

 

An organisation leading the way here is the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association. It accredits organisations in dismantling and recycling aircraft, and has a good handle on the industry.

 

At its heart, to make money in dismantling aircraft, you have to know the aviation industry. Very well.

 

Relevant site:

Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association: http://www.afraassociation.org/

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Design for 2050: Clothing printer, no waste

Design for 2050: Clothing printer, no waste | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

This is some really clever design thinking for a rapidly urbanising world.

 

It considers all of the space issues that arise from clothing (closets, washing machines, dryers) as well as the waste and logistics issues from the whole clothing industry, and replaces it with a printer.

 

The printer prints out your clothes according to designs you can download using thread cartridges you buy, and then breaks them back down into thread for future reuse.

 

It is a really neat idea for massively disrupting how we think about clothing.

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The Future of Garbage: No Garbage

The Future of Garbage: No Garbage | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A great story about my very favourite waste management company, Recology. Recology is based in San Francisco, and is working with the City of San Francisco to make San Francisco the first zero-waste city in the US.

 

It is obviously working. San Francisco is currently keeping 80% of its waste from landfill through a mix of recycling plants, composting and waste education.

 

Says the president and CEO Michael Sangiacomo "In the waste industry, the big money has been made putting solid waste in landfills. To me, that's not waste management: It's just putting waste in a hole in the ground and hoping nothing goes wrong. If you can put waste back into commerce, that's much smarter"

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Recycling, not mining, is the future for platinum group metals

Recycling, not mining, is the future for platinum group metals | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A fascinating article from a Resource Investor site across 5 pages. The really interesting stuff comes after page 3, where the commentators turn to the opportunity represented by millions of cars, each with a catalytic convertor that contains platinum group metals (PGM). Recycling of cars is the next ore body.

 

One company referred to in particular is Pro-Or which can extract PGM for 1% of the cost of a traditional smelter. The numbers stack up for recycling. On a really good seam of ore, you might get 5–8 g/t. If you remove the catalytic converter from a car and crush it, the ore body is in the range of 2,000 g/t. Given PGM trades for up to $2000 per ounce, a tonne of crushed converters contains something like $140,000 of PGM.

 

Relevant site:

Pro-Or: http://www.pro-or.com/en

 

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Mohsin Khan's comment, April 16, 2013 2:59 PM
i want small plasma arc furnace for melting catalytic converters please tell me what i do
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Plate tech-tonics: How smartphones can help stop food waste

Plate tech-tonics: How smartphones can help stop food waste | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Almost half of all food produced in the US is thrown away. Two apps are seeking to change that: Food Cowboy and Zero Percent.

 

Food Cowboy provides a more efficient mechanism for rejected bulk food (such as a pallet of vegetables rejected for cosmetic reasons) to be distributed to food banks in the vicinity. It uses an app that sends out an alert along the route of a truck carrying food that has been rejected.

 

Zero Percent does a similar thing, but targets retail food waste. When excess food becomes available at a retailer, email and text alerts are sent to a pool of volunteers from nonprofit groups.

 

It's kind of cool to see this app economy being applied to solve some of the thornier waste problems.

 

Relevant site:

Food Cowboy: http://www.foodcowboy.com/

Zero Percent: http://zeropercent.us/

 

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The Quest for Bio-Polystyrene

The Quest for Bio-Polystyrene | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

In the wake of New York City banning expandable polystyrene foam (EPS) packaging, there is a renewed focus on renewable (or more sustainable) materials that might be used to replace EPS but have the same (or similar) properties.

 

This article gives a great summary of the work, looking at compostable products, biopolymer foams and "drop-in"styrene compounds that are produced from biomass rather than petrochemicals.

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Weaving a solution from waste plastic

Weaving a solution from waste plastic | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A clever solution to waste plastic in Northern India - weaving the plastic into rope, plates, bowls and baskets. Add bamboo, and the plastic can be woven into chairs too.

 

The project is running in three villages, and dovetails in with scavenging programmes where saleable recyclables are recovered leaving plastic film.

 

Relevant site: 

Green Village Zero Rubbish Project: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Village-Zero-Rubbish-Project-GVZR/274347512665738

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Cradle to cradle electrical insulators

Cradle to cradle electrical insulators | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Hendrix Molded Products is introducing its Cradle-to-Cradle recycling program for the return and recycling of its HPI polyethylene insulator products.

 

They are made using High Density Polyethylene, and can be recycled when replaced by either sending them to a local recycler for recycling with HDPE, or shipping them back to the manufacturer for recycling.

 

The polyethylene insulators can be used for both bare wire and covered wire conductors, and offer an alternative to porcelain insulators.

 

Relevant site:

Hendrix Molded Products: http://www.hendrix-wc.com/

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Polyfloss: Creating a new material from waste plastic

Polyfloss: Creating a new material from waste plastic | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Ployfloss is a brilliant idea for creating a new type of material from waste plastic.

 

Rather than accepting that plastic manufacture has to be heavily industrialised and barely understood, The Polyfloss Factory has decided to make a new "fairy floss" type material from waste plastic that can be used in interesting ways.

 

Using polypropylene (typically), Polyfloss is created into a floss type network of fibres, which in turn can be moulded, welded or coated into new forms.

 

Behind Polyfloss are four Royal College of Art graduates, so be sure to see some truly exciting creations!

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Toyota recycling old hybrid batteries into energy-storage systems for dealers

Toyota recycling old hybrid batteries into energy-storage systems for dealers | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Toyota is recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries from old hybrids into energy management system, and selling them to Toyota dealerships in Japan. This is part of a broader approach to more sustainable energy use.

 

The systems can store up to 10 kWh of power. This can be used as backup power, and can also provide power during peak times to reduce overall electricity costs.

 

It strikes me that this is a really clever way to recycling these batteries. It is simple, and doesn't require batteries to be taken apart for individual components to be recycled, but is instead part a reuse approach. 

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Carpet Recycling in the UK

Carpet Recycling in the UK | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Carpet Recycling UK reports that 21.4% of carpet was diverted from landfill in 2012, up from 16.5% in 2011.

 

The total diverted was 85,000 tonnes of carpet, of 49,000 tonnes was burned through incinerators or cement kilns, and 36,000 tonnes recycled or reused.

 

Relevant site:

Carpet Recycling UK: http://www.carpetrecyclinguk.com/

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Plant converts food waste into energy

Plant converts food waste into energy | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The Monterey Regional Waste Management District in California is just completing a 5,000 tonne per year plant for the anaerobic digestion of food waste.

 

The SMARTFERM plant is interesting because of its small size, modularity, relatively low cost ($1.6m), and the fact that it is supplying about 100kW per day to the neighbouring wastewater treatment plant. A high quality compost remains at the end of the process.

 

Relevant sites:

Monterey Regional Waste Management District: http://www.mrwmd.org/

SMARTFERM: http://www.smartferm.com/en/smartferm.html

 

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Suzette Jackson's curator insight, March 21, 2013 2:54 AM

great regional solution using waste as an input, with compost and energy as its outputs.

Jill Duncan's curator insight, September 23, 2013 8:44 PM

Waste into energy