The Future of Waste
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The Future of Waste
Articles mapping out the future of waste. Blogs at www.garbologie.com
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Circuit Board Recycling: Just Add Water

Circuit Board Recycling: Just Add Water | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The National Physical Laboratory, with partners In2Tec and Gwent Electronic Materials, have developed a printed circuit board whose components can be easily disassembled by immersing them in hot water.

 

The technology is reported to allow 90% of the original structure to be used, which can be compared with less than 2% from traditional printed circuit boards.

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Combining 3D printing with waste plastic to make solutions for the developing world

Combining 3D printing with waste plastic to make solutions for the developing world | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The Washington Open Object Fabricators (WOOF) have won $100,000 at the 3D4D Challenge for their project, which will transform plastic waste into pieces for rainwater harvesting systems and composting toilets in the developing world.

 

The prize is awarded to the best business idea pitch. The decision is based on the level of innovation demonstrated by the project and the proposed use of 3D printing technology to improve the incomes and livelihoods of people in developing countries.

 

It would be an incredible thing to be able to facilitate decentralised manufacturing, with that manufacturing fed by waste materials.

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Hertz to recycle all its tires

Hertz to recycle all its tires | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
The rental giant has signed an agreement with the largest tire recycling firm to make sure no used rubber ends up in landfills.

 

This sort of initiative is a big step forward. Hertz committing to having all of its used tyres recycled is the sort of move that creates an industry. Hertz is working with Liberty Tire Recycling.

 

More information on the initiative in the article. More on Liberty at http://www.libertytire.com/Home.aspx

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Waitrose Sends Zero Food Waste to Landfill

Waitrose Sends Zero Food Waste to Landfill | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
Waitrose has achieved its target of sending zero food waste to landfill two months ahead of schedule.

 

Food waste is a difficult waste stream to deal with. It has to be dealt with quickly to avoid disease etc, and is messy (unlike, say, packaging). It is a big step forward for a supermarket to have achieved zero food waste to landfill, and a good platform to move the rest of the business to zero waste.

 

To be able to achieve this is retail is a significant step. The article also describes other steps that Waitrose is taking to improve environmental performance.

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A new recycling technology for old tyres

A new recycling technology for old tyres | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Australian company VR TEK Global has developed a new (as reported in October 2011) cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to enable old tyres to be recycled back into new rubber products.

 

The process segments tyres so that each part can be treated differently to maintain purity, then the rubber is devulcanised and activated into new rubber powders. Small rubber particles can be used in high value applications.

 

More at the link and at http://www.vrtekglobal.com/

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Ikea pledges closed loop support

Ikea pledges closed loop support | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Furniture giant Ikea has pledged to support closed loop recycling and create products that cut waste as part of a sustainability drive announced this week.

 

Unfortunately the initial article quoted  is behind a Financial Times paywall, however Ikea Chief Sustainability Officer is reported as suggesting Ikea might offer a leasing solution for its kitchens, thus creating incentives for the kitchens to be returned at the end of their life.

 

There is little more on this leasing idea on the Ikea website, however it is a very interesting shift if indeed it is true. The shift in business model from purchase to lease should help drive closed loop systems.

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Mining Tomorrow's Plastics

Mining Tomorrow's Plastics | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

MBA Polymers is doing great things in taking post-consumer plastic and recycling them into new plastics.

 

It is one of several different approaches to the problem of waste plastic, and perhaps one of the best in its commitments to converting plastic back into plastic.

 

If we could have a world where plastic does not go to waste, but is instead feedstock for furthermanufacturing, then MBA Polymers will have been an important player in that transition. 

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Amazon Environmental, Inc., Latex Paint Recycling

Amazon Environmental, Inc., Latex Paint Recycling | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Amazon Environmental is America's leading recycler of leftover water based (latex) paint. Paint is recycled back into paint.

 

This is done through a process of first sorting for colours and filtering. Paints of the same colours are then pumped into a mixing tank and mixed. The blend is tested, and additives added to get it to a consistent blend.

 

The final product meets the same specifications as virgin paint, and is unconditionally guaranteed.

 

Unfortunately recycling of water based paint, whilst relatively straightforward, is not common.

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What Can Carpet Be Recycled Into?

Carpet is a significant waste material at the moment. It can be recycled. Here are some of the options in the UK. It would be interesting to see what is available elsewhere.

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CynarPlc - Turning Plastic Waste to Fuel

CynarPlc - Turning Plastic Waste to Fuel | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The Cynar Technology converts mixed Waste Plastics into synthetic fuels that are cleaner, low in sulphur and in the case of the diesel, a higher cetane than generic diesel fuel. The key elements of the Technology involve pyrolysis and distillation.

 

A full scale plant is already in operation in Ireland, and a second one has been awarded planning permission.

 

In a promotion of the plastic to diesel process, a light aircraft will fly from Sydney to London on diesel produced by Cynar. For more, see http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/business/energy-environment/halfway-around-the-world-fueled-by-plastic-trash.html

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Pylantis - Changing What's Possible Through Nature

Pylantis - Changing What's Possible Through Nature | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Pylantis is developing new bioplastic materials developed with a proprietary process that combines organic fillers (waste) with plant plastic resins to create high waste content injection molded products capable of withstanding temperatures up to 140C.

 

This has led to a range of materials that can replace durable and single use plastics, providing an alternative to petroleum based plastic products.

 

Pylantis’s goal is to replace a large segment of the petrochemical plastics market with safe, non-toxic, extended life cycle, recyclable and compost ready alternatives.

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SymbioCity - Western Harbour, Malmö

SymbioCity - Western Harbour, Malmö | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The Future of Waste will see waste tightly integrated into symbiotic arrangements with daily city life.

 

An example of this is Malmo in Sweden, where food waste is separated and digested to produce biogas, which in turn runs buses that displace the need to drive. It's useful to note that biogas digestion is done separately to incineration - this is a design that adds as much value as possible before incinerating.

 

The symbiosis is hopefully one that can be replicated elsewhere.

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Metropolitan Agriculture: One Size Doesn't Fit All

Metropolitan Agriculture: One Size Doesn't Fit All | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

 

There is a vital connection between metropolitan agriculture and composting of organic waste. Done well, this connection could make both organics composting and local agriculture viable in a virtuous cycle.

 

One of the biggest obstacles in organics is the disconnect between food growing and consumption - when your food is grown a thousand kilometers away, it is simply not feasible to ship your compost back. And, where that food is grown, there is simply not enough compost to make it sensible to incorporate into soils.

 

The future of waste will see the organic waste - food growing connection made central.

 

This article is a good lead in to the notion of metropolitan agriculture, with the focus primarily being on the the provision of good, local food. To quote from the article: "metro-region agriculture can address issues related to social equity and health issues like diabetes and obesity, while building regional agricultural communities and economies". You can add to this the notion of local food enabling the organics loop to be closed.


Via Lauren Moss
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Recycled plastic as a structural building material

Recycled plastic as a structural building material | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
Several companies are using recycled plastic as ingredients for lighter, stronger composites.

 

Using plastics in lower grade applications such as park benches is not new. What is new here is the use of plastic as a structural material to replace timber and concrete.

 

The article refers to two companies currently producing composite structural materials:

Axion International: http://www.axionintl.com/

Affresol: http://www.affresol.com/

 

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Solvay's rare earth recycling technology

Solvay's rare earth recycling technology | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Solvay's Rare Earths Global Business Unit has received an award for developing and implementing a recycling technology for the six rare earths contained in the fluorescent powders of used low-energy light bulbs.

 

After recycling and reformulating, the rare earths are returned to the low-energy light bulbs producers and reused in the new bulbs, making the life-cycle of these energy savers even more sustainable.

 

They recycle the six different rare earths – lanthanum, cerium, terbium, yttrium, europium and gadolinium – contained in the fluorescent powders while preserving all their functional properties.

 

A plant in Saint-Fons extracts the rare earth concentrate after which the extracted powder is sent for separation to the La Rochelle plant, which has a unique expertise in separation technology.

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Recycling Post Consumer Waste: Nestlé Presents the Business Case

Recycling Post Consumer Waste: Nestlé Presents the Business Case | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

A really interesting perspective on how to improve post-consumer recycling, and an argument for Extended Producer Responsibility from a firm that might be expected to argue against it.

 

In particular, I love this quote from Michael Washburn, VP of Nestle Waters:

 

"Municipal governments have a mandate to pick it up on time and get it off your doorstep. They do not have a mandate (and often do not have a capacity) to broker those materials. They don't see themselves as sitting in an industrial supply chain. But that's what they do, essentially: they possess and move material that companies like mine want to use.

 

Now if you said, 'Let's make private industry responsible for raising the level of recycling, moving the most material at the lowest cost,” that's what companies do every day.

 

We call it a supply chain -- that's how we provide products to the marketplace. Those skills and those principles could be brought to bear in organizing recycling in a way that improves the result, increases the amount and reduces the cost"

 

There are more interesting points in the article.

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GM Shares Zero-Waste Best Practices

GM Shares Zero-Waste Best Practices | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
General Motors is sharing details about how it has turned more than half of its manufacturing plants into landfill-free facilities and which best practices helped the automaker turned its own waste byproducts into a $1 billion-a-year revenue...

 

This is a very important initiative. Manufacturing generates large amounts of waste, and controls the means to reduce that waste. To see a company like GM not just do it, but do it profitably, is great for others to emulate.

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Ames Laboratory improving process to recycle rare-earth materials

Ames Laboratory improving process to recycle rare-earth materials | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The use of rare earths (also called specialty metals) is becoming increasingly prevalent in high tech equipment. These metals are used in low concentrations and are generally not well recovered.

 

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's  Ames Laboratory have been working to more effectively remove the neodymium, a rare earth element, from the mix of other materials in a magnet. Initial results show recycled materials maintain the properties that make rare-earth magnets useful.

 

This has the effect of extracting the rare earths from the magnet. Work is now underway to optimise the extraction process and demonstrate it on a larger scale.

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Material Mix: A marketplace for waste

Material Mix: A marketplace for waste | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

If there is to be efficient transfer of waste from generator to reprocessor and back into industry, efficient markets for waste are important. There are several approaches to do this - Materials Mix is one.

 

Marketplaces will be especially useful once there is a means for easily capturing data on waste quantity, type and location. This might be some sort of sensor system,or software than can understand generation of waste from other data a company might have, like inventory levels. Having that information, it can be made available for market participants to bid on.

 

Once we have a marketplace for waste that requires little or no engagement from generators, then we will be well on our way to overcoming waste.

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What is zero waste?

The Future of Waste will look a lot like a zero waste future. Candice sets out the "seven essential elements" to zero waste in this blog, and explores them further in the blog. It is well worth a look:

 

1. Waste is anything unusable, unwanted and unrecyclable
2. Zero waste is a visionary goal
3. Waste must be avoided, not minimized or reduced
4. Waste is evidence of poor design
5. Utilize the precautionary principle to eliminate potential toxins
6. Adhere to the principle of highest and best use
7. Recognize and address institutional and ideological barriers

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CRADLE to CRADLE Production for LED tubes

CRADLE to CRADLE Production for LED tubes | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

The Future of Waste will involve manufacting removing toxics, and designing for cradle to cradle. It will also look to design products that are energy efficient.

 

Even if Independence Lighting doesn't entirely deliver on its Five Star Commitment, it is a worthwhile step in the right direction:

1. We have met RoHS compliance for our LED tubes (restricting the use of certain hazardous substances)

2. We have the external driver advantage (easy to dismantle driver and thus recycle

3.We recycle the aluminium for the heat sinks and the printed circuit boards

4. We have a recycle value that exceeds the disposal cost

5. We focus on the closed loop of product rebirth

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Starbucks turns food waste into plastic

Starbucks turns food waste into plastic | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

In Hong Kong, Starbucks is funding a new biorefinery to process its coffee grounds and any leftovers from its bakery.

 

New technology in Hong Kong could address the issue of food waste while providing a sustainable supply of bioplastics. Starbucks Hong Kong has invested in the development of new biorefinery technology which converts food waste into succinic acid, a key chemical in the manufacture of high-value products such as plastics and detergents. Carbohydrates in the food are broken down by fungal enzymes into simple sugars, before bacterial fermentation – of which succinic acid is a by-product.

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World first robotic recycling system to be introduced

World first robotic recycling system to be introduced | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

It was only a matter of time before somebody introduced a robotic recycling system. Developed by ZenRobotics (http://www.zenrobotics.com), the robot is claimed to provide enhanced sorting capabilities and replaces hand-picking at Materials Recovery Facilities.

 

The robot will be installed in February 2013. No doubt we will hear more about its success or otherwise.

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Kiverdi - Waste to replace petrochemical and oleochemical compounds

Kiverdi - Waste to replace petrochemical and oleochemical compounds | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it

Kiverdi’s proprietary technology produces sustainable oils from gasified waste and waste carbon. They do this using microbes in their Carbon Engineering™ platform, applying biotechnology and carbon engineering tools to tailor oils to match different applications – from consumer chemicals to jet fuel.

 

Kiverdi uses proprietary microbes that are rich in oils and consume waste carbon feedstocks and syngas that can be sourced from diverse inputs, including landfills, agricultural residue, wood waste, industrial flue gas streams and manufacturing waste, enabling lower cost conversion of waste carbon into high-value products.

 

The products targeted by Kiverdi are consumer chemicals, biomaterials and drop-in fuels.


Replacing petrochemicals and oleochemicals with compounds generated from waste would have to be step toward the future of waste.

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What to do with waste? Make our own fossil fuels!

What to do with waste? Make our own fossil fuels! | The Future of Waste | Scoop.it
Making biofuel from waste. The Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion Process or IH2 can use any wood, cornstalks, algae from rivers, other plant material and solid municipal waste to generate fuel.

 

This is a very interesting development. To be able to convert waste into biofuel would be a very important step forward from the current approach of biofuel from food (such as corn).

 

I think this work is well worth watching closely.

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