Eco Living & Technology

Biological recycling process for waste PET plastic

Biological recycling process for waste PET plastic

A pioneering biological recycling process discovered by French company Carbios, uses naturally occurring enzymes to transform PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic and textile waste into new products with no loss of quality. 14 million tonnes of PET products are consumed each year, half of which are incinerated and a quarter buried in landfills.

Hitachi builds hybrid battery trains in Italy

Hitachi builds hybrid battery trains in Italy

Marking the first time batteries serve as a major power source on commercial trains in Europe, Hitachi Rail produced 20 Masaccio hybrid battery trains near Florence. Hitachi hopes to build a battery-only train in two years.

Accor to serve renewable drinking water from sunlight and air

Solar-powered WaterSolar-powered WaterAccor Singapore partnered with Source Global, so as to replace single-use plastic water bottles with glass bottles filled with water made through solar-powered technology. The water is produced by solar-powered "Source Hydropanels" that harvest water vapour in the air. The reusable glass bottled will be refilled near the "Source Water Farm". 

Natural cooling with recyclable roofing made from paper

A team led by Yi Zheng, Associate Professor at Boston's Northeastern University developed a "cooling paper" mixing paper and teflon which can reduce room temperature by 6 degrees Celsius. At the end of its life, it can be recycled and turned into a new cooling paper. Now how cool is that!

Compostable Plastics Not Quite Compostable

Compostable Plastics - Brian Yurasits on UnsplashCompostable Plastics - Brian Yurasits on UnsplashA citizen science-based research involving 9,701 UK citizens, led by the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub of University College London published in Frontiers in Sustainablity, found that the majority of biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging did not fully disintegrate under different home composting conditions. Even 60% of certified "home compostable" packaging could not be composted at home. In addition the research found there is a lot of public confusion on what types of plastic are suitable for home composting versus industrial composting, and what to do with the latter type. And this is why "Reduce" continues to be the most important of the 3 Rs.

Luxury Hotel Linen to Cotton Pyjamas

Hotel Linen to PyjamasHotel Linen to PyjamasLed by textile designer Ella Campion, Hermit London upcycles a fraction of Europe's 10 million tonnes of luxury hotel bed linen thrown away every year. The high quality fabrics are currently sourced from a few 5 star London hotels and members clubs. After a lot of experimentation during lockdown Ella Campion perfected the art of turning one double bed sheet into a set of 100% white (no surprise) cotton pyjamas!

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Karditsa, Greece turns coffee residue into pellets for heating

Under a project implemented by the Karditsa Energy Community in collaboration with the local Municipality, the coffee residues are collected from the city's cafes, mixed with wood residues (from urban pruning, forest residues) and converted into high quality pellets suitable for boilers and stoves. Read more

Can Coffee balls replace plastic and aluminium Coffee pods?

Swiss company Migros has managed to do away with the annoying packaging by holding the ball-shaped coffee doses by a thin compostable outer layer that does not dissolve. Unfortunately one needs to buy a special 'CoffeeB' machine called 'Globe' to use them, but what if they or someone else can do the same for old machines?

Solar-powered device creates hydrogen from moisture in the air

Hydrogen is the holy grail of clean energy, and in particular green hydrogen, or hydrogen generated by renewable energy. The inventors, at the University of Melbourne, claim that their prototype, which now needs to be scaled, has opened a "sustainable pathway to produce green hydrogen without consuming liquid water", which means anywhere in the world! For more technical details, read the report in Nature

Old power stations could use hydrogen thanks to catalyst breakthrough

Bloomberg reports that an Australian lab succeeded in generating 700C heat from hydrogen using patented catalyst technology. If the technology can scale up, it could be retrofited to power plants currently burning coal.

EPFL scientists develop new plastic from waste biomass

3D-printed leaf made with the new bioplastic - Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)3D-printed leaf made with the new bioplastic - Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)Scientists at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a new, PET-like bioplastic that is easily made from the non-edible parts of plants, or "lignocellulosic biomass". The plastic is tough, heat-resistant, and a good barrier to oxygen, making it suitable for food packaging. Due to its structure, the new plastic can also be recycled and degraded back to harmless sugars.

A mobile PV/hydrogen system that improves farm soil & biodiversity

Called H2arvester, a prototype has been installed on sugar beet land in Oude-Tonge, South Holland. Four solar "cars", measuring 12x6 m each, hosting a total of 168 solar panels and an irrigation system, are able to move 10 meters per hour. Combined with an electrolyzer, the system can also produce (green) hydrogen!

More details: PV Magazine | H2arvester 

Life-changing eco inventions

The Borgen Project presents a collection of inexpensive eco inventions that make life a bit easier for people in the global south, including a personal water filter, a manual irrigation pump, hotpot solar ovens, a solar water purification kit, and the maya pedal, a range of pedal powered machines in Guatemala.

Large heat pumps could replace gas boilers

A green district heating scheme using a giant heat pump in Gateshead, UK provides heat for 5,000 homes, replacing the need for gas boilers. New research at the University of Leeds outlines the benefits and challenges of shared ground heat exchange. Energy to heat buildings contributes around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Self-healing solar panels could last over 30 years

A team at the University of York, UK discovered that antimony selenide, a semi-conductor used in solar panels, can auto-repair its broken bonds and are how looking at how longer-lasting panels could be created. Another team at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology are experimenting with lead-free perovskites, that are also self-healing.

Vertical Forest City Complex completed in Huanggang, Hubei, China

Huanggang Vertical Forest City ComplexHuanggang Vertical Forest City ComplexAfter four years, Stefano Boeri Architetti has completed the Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex. It covers an area of ​​4.54 hectares, and has been designed to create a new green complex capable of integrating buildings for residences, hotels and large commercial spaces. The complex was intended to meet the daily needs of residents, temporary guests, inhabitants and tourists. It comprises five towers, two of which are residential and designed as vertical forests capable of providing a new life experience for the surrounding urban and natural area. The two residential towers, 80 metres high, are a form of 'vertical forest' with over 400 trees, 4,620 shrubs, and 2,408 sq. metres of perrenials, flowers and climbing plants that will absorb 22 tons of CO2 and produce 11 tons of oxygen per year. The floors have cantilevered elements, with open and closed balconies, that interrupt the regularity of the building and create a continuous ever-changing movement. Local species of trees have been selected, mostly Ginkgo biloba. 

Read More:  Stefano Boeri

The Art of Recycling, Recycling as an Art

If you are wondering what to do with your old denims, buttons, bottle caps, plastic bags, wires, cables, pc components, and other items, well, why not just give them to a true artist, for example Deniz Sagdic of Mersin, Turkey. The video is from her "Ready ReMade" exhibition at Istanbul airport and no commentary is needed: Upcycling at its best!

Natural Branding on Fruits & Vegetables Avoids Plastic Labels

Ironically, organic fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets tend to use more plastic foil in order to distinguish them from non-organic produce. A high definition laser  available since 2016, but not yet widely used, could help change this. The laser beam removes part of the pigment from the outer layer of the peel of fruits and vegetables leaving a permanent mark. It is marketed as Natural Branding©, and it is developed by JBT and LaserFood.

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3D Bioprinted Steak, Meat Without Tears

MeaTech's vision for the factory of the futureMeaTech, an Israeli food technology company has successfully 3D bioprinted a 104 gram steak, composed entirely of cultured real meat (fat and muscle cells). If scalable, the development could prove a major step towards the elimination of animal slaughter for meat and the fight against meat industry-related greenhouse gases.

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Avoiding waste, an art and a science

Avoiding waste in both an art and a science: inspired by Escher's famous tesselations and aiming to make a mathematically perfect holiday cookie, a Norwegian chemist and amateur cook, has created an extremely efficient holiday cookie cutter that does not waste any dough:

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