Search Results for Tag: recycling
Scientists turn trash into crude energy
Remember Doc Brown? That crazy, white haired caricature of a scientist from the 1980s blockbuster scifi comedy Back to the Future? He’s the inventor of a spectacular (and – sadly – fictitious) device called the flux capacitor that is running first on plutonium, later on ordinary household garbage to power a time machine. Here’s what it looks like when Doc Brown is searching for fuel:
Scientists in Denmark have now hit upon a novel way to do just that: producing energy from household waste. While not quite matching Doc Browns achievement when it comes to the amount of energy harvested (let alone building a time machine) the scientists’ feat is impressive enough: Feeding biomass (comprising anything from sewage, compost, household garbage or waste from meat and dairy production) into what is essentially a 400 °C hot pressure cooker they managed to create something very close to fossil crude oil. What’s more, the production process used is more energy efficient than any other way of getting energy out of biomass.
We figure, if the Danish research team is still unhappy with the energy yield of their trash, they only have to wait another two years for expert help: In Back to the Future – Part II we learn that Doc Brown is going to visit us in 2015.
DateFebruary 7, 2013
Tagsback to the future, biomass, energy, flux capacitor, garbage, movie, oil, recycling, science, waste
Minister receives green bracelet
Ahmed’s big eyes are beaming with pride. The young Egyptian is standing on the stage of the German Pavillon in Rio de Janeiro. The 16 year old pupil has started a recycling project at Kairo’s German school which he is presenting to an international audience today at the Rio+20 conference.
“Be the change you want to see in the world“
While politicians are negotiating the final document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development just across the street, Ahmed wants to take action: „In Egypt no one separates their rubbish. Plastic, paper, food waste – everything goes into one bin.”
Triggered by the German initiative Youthinkgreen, the couragious teenager and his classmates set up a plastic recycling scheme at their school. The green initiative is supported by chancelor Angela Merkel and has reached over 200 young people in over ten countries so far. Some of them have come to the Rio+20 summit to present their local projects.
Change does not come easily
“A recycling company to pick up the plastic waste was found very easily.“ Ahmed reflects on his own initiative back home. “But after a few weeks, the garbage man told me that he would stop picking up our bin. It was flooding over with a variety of food scraps, paper and aluminium cans.” To get everyone at school to separate their rubbish correctly, a rota was set up. When asked how he made his classmates do the smelly job, Ahmed laughs: „At the beginning no one wanted to bring down the odd rubbish bin. Now you get a bag of sweets, so my friends sometimes even fight over it.”
Handshake with a Minister
After the presentation, Ahmed even gets a chance to meet the German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier. Together with his friends from the Youthinkgreen crew, the young man has managed to sneak into Hall 4 – a restricted area and normally reserved for state and United Nations delegates only. But Ahmed keeps his cool and steps up right next to Altmaier: „We have come to bind a green bracelet to your wrist!“ Ahmed and his friends hope that through this little gesture the politician will be reminded of young people’s longing for a greener future.
Altmaier who just turned 54 two days before, laughs heartily and stresses how important it is that young people take action. The Minister takes his time, listens patiently to everything the youngsters tell him. “Please visit Egypt and help us to put up more solar panels.“ Before the journalists can push in to fire their questions at the Minister, Ahmed has grabbed the opportunity to speak up again. Altmaier says that he wishes all the best for Egypt but that he unfortunately can not be in every country at the same time but will remember this meeting. Then he turns around to talk into the television cameras.
At the Rio+20 congress, teenagers from Youthinkgreen handed over green bracelets and a position paper to politicians and scientists from around the world.
DateJune 22, 2012
Disposable diapers may be a blessing for new parents. But they’re an environmental nightmare. They end up in landfills by the millions and the plastics in them can take hundreds of years to decompose.
To combat the problem, the UK’s first diaper recycling plant has opened in West Bromich in the Midlands. It will work with local operators who collect waste from hospitals, nursing homes and child care facilities. Operated by Canadian company Knowaste, the facility is to use technology to sterilize and separate the materials to recover plastic and fiber that can be used for making new products such as roof tiles and commercial tubes.
The company estimates that the plant, which will also recycle female hygiene products, will save about 110,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year. It plans to open a further four facilities in the coming years.
What do you think? Could something like this help to reduce the planet’s plastic footprint?
DateSeptember 13, 2011
Saving Green Technology
Recycling has become part of everyday life in many parts of the world, but that usually means recycling things like plastics, glass and paper. We often forget to recycle valuable materials that we actually really need, like metals. A new report from the UN says less than one third of the earth’s metals have a recycling rate more than 50%.
That creates a big–and ironic–problem: the green technology we want to invest in for the future depends on those materials, so if we don’t do a better job recycling them, we might not have enough to produce the clean energy we want. The metals used in semi-conductors, LED lights, hybrid car batteries or magnets in wind turbines are all precious materials that are disappearing fast.
The message from the European Environment Agency is clear: improve the recycling rates. So how can we do a better job recycling important metals? Tell us what you think!
DateMay 30, 2011
Ban on plastic bags?
“Fifty years ago, the single-use plastic bag was almost unheard of. Now we use them for a few minutes and they pollute our environment for decades,” says Janez Potocnik, Environment Commissioner of the the European Union. Each European uses 500 of these bags each year, most of them are used just once. In 2008 alone a total of 3.4 million tonnes of plastic bags were produced in Europe, that makes the same weight as two million cars.
Starting this week (18. May) the European Commission is seeking a solution. The approach is planed to be made with the help of European people and the bags manufacturers. The Commission calls everyone to a online-poll. Finally a tax or a ban on plastic bags is considered. The Commission called for suggestions on how to deal with the billions of bags used in the European Union each year. The public consultation will close at the end of August.
DateMay 20, 2011