It seems logical that keeping trash off the roadways is the eco-friendly thing to do, but not in this case. Vancouver B.C. is the first city in the world integrating a new plastic-to-asphalt technology to literally add trash into the asphalt mix. It’s all part of the city’s plan to become the world’s Greenest City by 2020.
Photo Source: Gary Jackson Typically, the goal is to get garbage out of the house and carted off to the landfill. That’s not the case here. Some creative, eco-minded individuals are taking trash and using it to construct full-fledged, livable housing. These homes are built from scrap metal, reclaimed lumber, soda cans and bottles, plastic waste, shipping containers, and plain old trash. Living in a “dump” has never been so sweet!
Some people see garbage as an opportunity. It takes quite a bit of imagination and ingenuity to transform household junk into innovative tech gadgets and doohickeys. Here are some of the coolest examples of how you can repurpose trash with a twist of tech.
A group of young musicians living in a remote Paraguayan village located near a landfill view trash in a much brighter light than the rest of us. So many kids in the area were interested in playing music that there weren’t enough instruments to go around. Solution: Build musical instruments out of found materials at the landfill. Ceteura, Paraguay is a slum town situated virtually on top of a landfill. Many of the residents make their income by rummaging through the trash to find any valuables they can turn around and sell. For some, it’s their only way to make money.
Source: Earth911.com The holidays are over but now the real work begins: Cleaning up the excess of wrapping paper, cardboard, obsolete household items, and the list goes on. Fortunately, technology is here to help. An innovative new mobile makes it a breeze to find recycling centers near you willing to take your unwanted holiday junk.
Levi’s 2013 denim collection will be a bit different than previous collections—not necessarily in the look of the popular jeans, but you’ll notice a major change in the materials used to make them. The company’s new Waste-Less product will feature jeans made from recycled plastic bottles.
Image via Wikimedia Commons; user: XAtsukex The City of San Jose, CA recently announced a partnership with Anaergia Services to construct a renewable energy facility at its wastewater treatment plant. The plant will extract biogas from sludge and convert it to heat and electricity.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) just announced a new partnership with MaxBack that will make it easier than ever for consumers to get rid of old electronic devices in an eco-friendly way. Not only is the USPS offering to ship the e-waste free of charge, but MaxBack will pay you for sending them your working or non-working electronic devices. The USPS is expanding upon a recycling program currently in place at 3,100 retailers across the country that will now allow consumers to make money for offloading old electronics. The USPS is working with MaxBack, an electronics recycling company focused on reducing e-waste in landfills.
Another example of how robots are taking over the world! Well, the world’s first robotic recycling system isn’t out to takeover humanity (…I don’t think), but it can help save it. Baetsen Recycling based in Son, the Netherlands has made plans to integrate a robotic recycling system created by the tech experts at ZenRobotics. It will no doubt be the most technologically advanced system of its kind.
Remember the old Lincoln Logs, erector sets and Legos you played with as a kid? Ron Aarons, a LEED-certified architect and loving grandfather, certainly does. He has created his own version of these all-time classic children’s toys, but with a unique twist. His “toys” are made exclusively from recyclable materials.
It’s hard for kids to understand just how much waste is generated in the U.S. each year and how this waste is disposed of or recycled. You can tell a child that the U.S. produces 250 million tons of municipal solid waste per year, but do they really understand what that means? Maybe more important than helping kids understand the overall scale of waste management in America is teaching them how to properly dispose of various materials. It’s critical to teach kids what things go in the trash can, recycle bin, or compost pile, and what gets reused.
These aren’t your average trashcans! Believe it or not, trash and recycle bin design has come a long way. Although most of us probably still use the basic cylindrical waste basket design used for decades, there are plenty of other options out there. From recycle bins with full-fledge built-in computers to garbage cans with onboard vacuum cleaners, garbage bins now feature technology we would’ve never imagined 20 years ago. Here are some of the best examples of futuristic trash and recycle bins for 2012 and beyond…
Sure, you could just throw old office paper into the recycle bin and have piece-of-mind, but why not turn office paper into brand new pencils? It sounds strange, but a new gadget claims to do just that. Feed it some paper, and it spits out a fresh, new pencil. Pretty cool! Chinese designers Chengzhu Ruan, Yuanyuan Liu, Xinwei Yuan, and Chao Chen created the so-called P&P Office Waste Processor. The device isn’t in production yet, but it’s a viable product. After all, aren’t all pencils made from trees, the same thing paper is made out of?
Are you sick and tired of stumbling upon illegal dumping sites in your community? Most responsible citizens are. A cool new app available on iPhone and Android devices lets you report these illegal garbage dumps quickly and easily. The TrashOut app is free and easy-to-use. To report an illegal dumping site, you simply snap a photo of it with your smartphone, press a button for the size and type of trash, include a comment with the picture and submit the photo via the app. The image is then loaded into TrashOut’s TrashMap, which plots all reported illegal dumping sites on a map of your geographic area.
Household hazardous waste collection event in New Hampshire. Image courtesy of UnionLeader.com. Virtually every household in the U.S. contains some household hazardous waste. This would include common items like pesticides/fertilizers, household cleaning products, and motor oil. These types of chemicals are prohibited from being disposed of in the municipal waste system as well as in most rented dumpsters. Disposing properly of household hazardous waste is critical to the health of the environment as well as our own health.