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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A garbage bag that encourages reuse

A garbage bag that encourages reuse | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The Goedzak from the Netherlands is a transparent bag for unwanted goods that allows passersby to see inside and decide if they could make use of them. The bag keeps the contents dry, and if nobody claims them, then the bag is thrown out along with the rest of the rubbish bags.

 

Obviously not particularly effective when bins are used instead of bags.

 

Relevant site:

Goedzak (in Dutch): http://degoedzak.nl/

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Cutting food waste by selling lower grade fruit

Cutting food waste by selling lower grade fruit | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A very interesting article about Northern California grocery chain, Andronico's Community Market, and its decision to sell apples that are one grade below that which stores usually buy. For these applies, that means that they are slightly smaller and are only 37% red coverage rather than 40% red.

 

Andronico's works with Foodstar to supply the fruit, selling it from large crates and at a discount. It is early days yet, but the programme is a success thus far.

 

The article reinforces both the waste created by seemingly arbitrary quality standards (no doubt argued to be "consumer driven"), and the simplicity with which that problem can be resolved.

 

Relevant sites:

Andronico's Community Market: http://www.andronicos.com/

FoodStar: http://www.foodstarpartners.com/

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Solving the Problem of Food Waste in the U.S.

Solving the Problem of Food Waste in the U.S. | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Dana Frasz is the founder and director of Food Shift, a Bay Area organization that is dedicated to solving the problem of food waste. Food Shift sees this waste as an opportunity to build something more positive for our communities. Ultimately, Food Shift envisions the creation of a food recovery service sector—creating jobs that reduce our waste, while feeding those in need.

 

Relevant site:

Food Shift: http://foodshift.net/

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Emerging markets look to recycle PET locally

Emerging markets look to recycle PET locally | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A pretty dense, but essentially reporting on how Central Asian countries are buying PET recyclers to enable PET flakes to be reinserted into local manufacturing.

 

It is a very interesting positive in what is generally a sea of negativity (pun intended) about plastic and its marine impacts. By installing a PET recycler, local manufacturers can displace imported PET that is purchased at an average price of US $2,000/tonne. Uzbekistan alone imports around 70,000 tonnes/year.

 

That is a large potential market.

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Fine dining’s trash-to-table movement

Fine dining’s trash-to-table movement | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Now here's an interesting movement - taking food parts that would previously have been thrown out and making food from them. And not just rubbish food, but food fit for service in a fine-dining restaurant.

 

This attitude of scrounging waste out, adding value, keeping materials in circulation is the way things will play out in the future.

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Interface Turns Fishing Nets into Carpet

Interface Turns Fishing Nets into Carpet | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
Carpet tile manufacturer Interface and conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) are expanding a pilot project that turns discarded fishing nets into recycled material for carpet tiles.

 

Nets are collected by people in coastal communities in developing countries, providing a source of income for the communities. No doubt this ability for locals to benefit from the scheme financially as well as environmentally will help it to succeed.

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This Guy Quit The Software Business To Keep Your Old iPod From Poisoning An African Village

This Guy Quit The Software Business To Keep Your Old iPod From Poisoning An African Village | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
When you toss an old gadget, lead and mercury sometimes ends up in rivers and landfills.

Angered that old computers, televisions and other gadgets from U.S. consumers were ending up in landfills in China, Africa and other parts of the world, Kao decided to do something. He started Green Citizen, a company that collects and disposes old electronics in the San Francisco Bay area, tracking everything to ensure the gadgets are recycled back into raw material, or refurbished and resold.

The inspiration to start Green Citizen came while Kao was taking time off after selling Managize, a supply-chain management software company, in 2000. Up late one night watching television, he saw a documentary that showed dump sites in China, Africa and the Philippines overflowing with old computers, televisions and other electronics from the U.S. and Europe. Components containing toxic elements such as lead and mercury were cast into rivers and landfills.

“It was contaminating whole villages,” Kao said.

He spent two years educating himself, traveling to meet with companies and government officials. Limited awareness and lack of convenience keep the general public from doing more, Kao said, while poor accountability and oversight make it difficult to ensure enterprises do their part.


Via Bert Guevara
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City Harvest: Diverting Excess Food to the Hungry

City Harvest: Diverting Excess Food to the Hungry | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

This is brilliant.

 

City Harvest will collect 19,000 tonnes of excess food this year from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to some 600 community food programs throughout New York City by a fleet of trucks and bikes. City Harvest helps feed the more than one million New Yorkers that face hunger each year.

 

A similar programme in Australia is Foodbank. It is also doing incredible things in partnership with the food industry.

 

This sort of work, the clever work connecting people's surpluses with other's needs, is truly the future of waste.

 

Relevant sites:

City Harvest: http://www.cityharvest.org/

Foodbank: http://www.foodbank.org.au/

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Cradle to cradle in carpet manufacture

Cradle to cradle in carpet manufacture | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Leading carpet tile manufacturer Desso aims to have 100% of its business cradle-to-cradle by 2020.

 

Desso has been exploring many new approaches to make all products, including carpet tiles, carpets and artificial grass, 100% C2C certified by 2020. This is proviing to be a significant challenge, and the innovations that Desso has come up with to achieve the target are remarkable.

 

This is a story of a company remaking its manufacturing to enable its products to be fully recyclable.

 

Relevant sites:

Desso Group: http://www.desso.com/Desso/EN

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Urban Mining: Billions in Precious Metals Discarded in Landfills

Urban Mining: Billions in Precious Metals Discarded in Landfills | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
There's literally a treasure trove of precious, other metals and plastics waiting to be recycled in the growing mountains of e-waste accumulating in countries around the world.

Via Flora Moon
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Reinventing the bottle recycling machine

Reinventing the bottle recycling machine | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
Greenbean Recycle has developed software that improves on others' recycling machines. Some of the improvements include the ability to transfer money from bottle and can deposits directly to a PayPal account, a real time analytics system that allows recyclers to see their energy savings, and a gaming component to reward those who use the machines the most in a week.

A clever way to make recycling fun.

Relevant sites:
Greenbean Recycle: https://www.gbrecycle.com/
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Recycle soft plastic at Coles

Recycle soft plastic at Coles | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
A story from Australia.

The RED Group is a Melbourne based company, and their work is incredible. They integrate plastic recycling with education, and this particular project involves collecting soft plastics at Coles and converting it into plastic outdoor furniture with Australian company Replas.

Relevant sites:
RED Group: http://redgroup.net.au/
Coles: www.coles.com.au
Replas: http://www.replas.com.au/
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Where next for the circular economy?

Where next for the circular economy? | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
The circular economy was much lauded in the Netherlands but then enthusiasm appeared to wane.

 

An interesting take on the circular economy in general, and cradle-to-cradle certification in particular. The article argues that the circular economy has lost favour in government, but remains popular in the proviate sector.

 

The article quotes a study by the Ellen MacArthus Foundation which "concluded that there is an annual net material cost saving opportunity of up to $380bn (£237bn) in a transition scenario and of up to $630bn (£393bn) in an advanced scenario, and that is only based on a subset of EU manufacturing sectors."

 

Relevant sites:

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: http://www.thecirculareconomy.org/

 

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Unilever Moves Zero-Waste Goal Five Years Closer

Unilever Moves Zero-Waste Goal Five Years Closer | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The best way to prevent waste is to deal with it at source. To this end, manufacturers have a huge role to play. Unilever is one of those manufacturers.

 

More than half of Unilever’s factories achieved the goal of sending no waste to landfill in 2012, prompting the company to speed up by five years its goal of zero waste to landfill by 2020.

 

By the end of 2015, Unilever’s 252 factories worldwide will not sent any non-hazardous waste to landfill.

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Waste wise demolition of a skyscraper

Waste wise demolition of a skyscraper | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Tasei Corporation from Japan has developed a system of dismantling skyscrapers from the top down, first removing structural elements by hand (having obviously propped the roof) and then jacking the roof down. It is called the Tasei Ecological Reproduction System.

 

The process apparently leads to improved recycling of building materials, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 85%. It is also reported to significantly reduce dust emissions in the neighbouring area.

 

Relevant site:

Tasei Corporation: http://www.taisei.co.jp/english/csr/hinsitu/jirei_hinsitu.html

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Turn Waste Plastic Into 3D Printer Filament

Turn Waste Plastic Into 3D Printer Filament | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The Filabot converts waste PVC into filament for 3D Printers. At $50 a spool, this could lead to significant long term savings. Importantly, it enables PVC to be used as a "technical nutrient", and recycling around and around and around.

 

 

You could imagine this becoming a very big deal.

 

Relevant site: 

Filabot: Filabot.com

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Mercor's curator insight, January 15, 2013 10:20 AM
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Coffee residue a valuable resource, not waste

Coffee residue a valuable resource, not waste | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Used coffee grounds are a valuable source of bioactive compounds for producing dietary supplements, scientists report.

 

The new report in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry by Maria-Paz de Pena and colleagues at the University of Navarra at Pamplona in Spain concludes that used coffee grounds are a rich source of healthful antioxidant substances sought after by both the food and pharmaceutical industry.

 

The scientists found that the main bioactive compounds - caffeoylquinic acids, caffeine and browned compounds, including melanoidins - in the spent coffee grounds were actually four-to-seven-fold higher than in the coffee brew itself.

 

The compounds can be easily extracted with water and are in demand for the food industry, which is looking to replace artificial additives, and the pharamceutical industry for the manufacture of dietary supplements.

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Kansas City Turns Human Waste into $2.1m in Crops

Kansas City Turns Human Waste into $2.1m in Crops | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Kansas City’s Water Services department has generated $2.1 million in net income over the past six years by reusing human waste as fertiliser on its own city-run biofuel farm – turning an expense into a revenue generator.

 

This is really impressive news, taking biosolids from wastewater treatment and using them to add value. It is important to note that the biosolids are not used in the food chain, but instead get used for biofuel. This has led to marked increases in income from the treated land.

 

A similar programme is undertaken in Western Australia by the Water Corporation, however biosolids are used in a broader range of applications including forestry, compost and direct spreading in agriculture (each for different types of biosolids). More on the Water Corporation's work in biosolids at http://www.watercorporation.com.au/B/biosolids.cfm

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Eat Packaging, Save Landfills | Environment on GOOD

Eat Packaging, Save Landfills | Environment on GOOD | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
We’re a society addicted to plastic. Plastic is increasing as a portion of our overall waste and is expected to account for 12% of household waste in 2012.

Via Flora Moon
Adam Johnson's insight:

Packaging of food is a large waste source. WikiCell is an invention to make packaging edible. Wikicell website at http://www.wikicells.com/

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Momentum Recycling. Glass Recycling in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Momentum Recycling. Glass Recycling in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Glass is a difficult material to recycle, or at least, an unpopular material to recycle. This, ironically, despite the fact that glass can be reformed into glass many times without losing quality.

 

Momentum Glass is in Salt Lake City, and takes mixed glass to form raw materials for a range of products. Their products go back into local manufacturing in the form of containers, fibreglass and water filtration.

 

Other applications for ground glass include replacing sand or garnet in blasting applications, forming reflective line marking on roads, and even as a fine powder to assist in brick manufacture.

 

Relevant site:

Momentum Recycling: http://www.momentumrecycling.com/

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Waste from deep space trips may make radiation shields

Waste from deep space trips may make radiation shields | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Researchers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are evaluating small tiles made of rubbish generated on spacecraft to find out whether they can be stored aboard spacecraft safely or even used for radiation shielding during a deep space mission.

 

The circular tiles were produced by a compactor that melts the waste but doesn't incinerate it. The compacted tile is about 20 cm in diameter and about 1 cm thick. Research is ongoing to understand if the melting process sterilises bacteria.

 

The bigger picture is the thinking required to make a resource of garbage in space. Given NASA does not want to jettison waste in space, potentially contaminating planets or a moon, a very tight focus on the saying "there is no away" is required.

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Freezing and milling waste tyres to make fine powders for manufacture

Freezing and milling waste tyres to make fine powders for manufacture | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Lehigh Technologies makes micronised rubber powder by freezing old tyres with liquid nitrogen and then feeding into a mill described as a "turbo jet engine with teeth".

 

The mill creates powders as small as 50 microns, enabling the powder to be used as a feedstock for more complex manufacturing.

 

Relevant site:

Lehigh Technologies: http://www.lehightechnologies.com/

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Plasma Arc Recycling of Precious Metals

Plasma Arc Recycling of Precious Metals | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
The plasma arc is being used in the UK for the recover of Platinum Group Metals, developed by Tetronics. A significant source of platinum is catalytic converters from cars.

The plant extracts the platinum from the waste by melting it out, and then collecting it with "collector metal". The collector metal then goes through final hydrometallurgical refining where it is dissolved in acid and subsequent treatments precipitate out each of the components.

As an interesting aside, a paper prepared by the ISS Institute in Australia, funded by the Pratt Institute, entitled "Vehicle Recycling and Sustainability" notes that:

"There is a catalytic converter black market which has created challenges for the industry. In some instances, fake catalytic converters are sold as end-of-life goods to genuine recycling facilities. The core of the shell has had all precious metals already removed and replaced with fake weights"

Betweem 500,000 and 750,000 cars are disposed of in Australia each year.

Relevant sites:
Tetronics: http://www.tetronics.com/
ISS Institute report (pdf): http://issinstitute.org.au/wp-content/media/2011/05/ISS-FEL-REPORT-N-MCNAMARA-Low-Res.pdf
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H&M Global Clothes Recycling Program

H&M Global Clothes Recycling Program | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
H&M wants to reward you with a gift voucher for every bag of clothes you recycle. The company says it will help its customers avoid textile waste by accepting items of clothing from any brand and in any condition. Beginning February, for every bag deposited, the customer will receive a voucher to put towards a future H&M purchase. The collected garments are then handled by I:Collect, a clothing-recycling firm that will reprocess the materials and make them available for new use.

This is an interesting idea, bringing clothing recycling into the sale of clothes. It will apparently be available in all 48 markets worldwide. It also seems a little odd - as the article points out, H&M's business is built around disposable clothing. Nevertheless, it is a big gesture.

The business model of H&M's partner, I:CO is especially interesting. They have a pretty cool I:Counter, which is a box that enables clothes to be weighed as it is loaded, issuing vouchers for use purchasing goods in the store. When it's full, the box becomes a shipping box and is sent for recycling.

Relevant sites:
H&M: http://about.hm.com/content/hm/AboutSection/en/About.html
Collector I:CO: http://www.ico-spirit.com/us/Home-1.html
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Jill Duncan's curator insight, September 23, 2013 8:46 PM

Clothing recycling

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Can The Internet Of Things Make The Best Cup Of Coffee Ever? - Fast Company

Can The Internet Of Things Make The Best Cup Of Coffee Ever? - Fast Company | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Ok, so Fast Company takes the example of a coffee machine that gets better at understanding how you like your coffee (especially temperature) the more you use it. So the more you use it, the more you like it.

 

The really interesting application for this is the potential for sensors to grab little bits of data from around, say, a factory and use that data to get better at identifying and adding value to waste. After all, much of the reason waste is waste is because it the material is misplaced - in space (it isn't where it is needed) or time (it emerges when it isn't needed). Rich data continually refined could help resolve this.

 

And that is the story behind the story - abundant data continually learning to enable better things to happen. Be that coffee or less waste.


Via Richard Kastelein
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