UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic

April 25, 2017 by  
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Around 24.8 million miles of roads crisscross the surface of Earth. And hundreds of millions of barrels of oil have been used for that development. Engineer Toby McCartney came up with a solution to that waste of natural resources and the growing plastic pollution problem. His company, Scotland-based MacRebur , lays roads that are as much as 60 percent stronger than regular asphalt roads and last around 10 times longer – and they’re made with recycled plastic. Our city roads require a lot of maintenance over time as weather deteriorates them and potholes open up. Meanwhile there are around five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. McCartney came up with an answer to both issues. He turns 100 percent recycled plastic into what he calls MR6 pellets, or small pellets of waste plastic, which replace bitumen , the material used to bind roads together (extracted from crude oil) and sold by oil companies like Shell. Related: Vancouver Becomes First City to Pave Its Streets With Recycled Plastic Normal roads are comprised of around 90 percent rock, sand, and limestone, with 10 percent bitumen. MacRebur’s process replaces most of the bitumen, using household waste plastic, farm waste, and commercial waste. Much of the trash would have otherwise ended up in a landfill . At asphalt plants the MR6 pellets are mixed with quarried rock and a bit of bitumen, and a plant worker told the BBC the process is actually the same “as mixing the conventional way with additions into a bitumen product.” McCartney was inspired to design plastic roads after his daughter’s teacher asked the class what lives in the ocean, and his daughter said, “Plastics.” He didn’t want her to grow up in a world where that was true. He’d also spent time in India, where he saw locals would fix holes in the road by putting waste plastic into the holes and then burning it. He started MacRebur with friends Nick Burnett and Gordon Reid. MacRebur’s first road was McCartney’s own driveway, and now the company’s roads have been laid in the county of Cumbria in the United Kingdom . + MacRebur Via the BBC Images via MacRebur Facebook

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UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic

World’s first mobile recycling plant turns trash into tiles

April 25, 2017 by  
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Waste management is a pressing problem all over the world, but it’s especially hard for isolated communities that lack access to recycling facilities. Taiwan-based architecture studio Miniwiz has come up with an environmentally friendly solution: TRASHPRESSO, a traveling solar-powered recycling plant that turns trash into tiles. Wherever it goes, TRASHPRESSO takes local waste and recycles it into tiles for use in architecture. The mobile recycling plant is in a 40-foot container platform that a trailer truck can transport, and Miniwiz says the plant opens up similar to how a satellite unpacks in orbit. It can recycle plastic and fabric waste, running on solar power . Garbage is “washed, shredded, melted, and molded” into architectural tiles, and the water to clean the trash is reused in the process. Related: Verti-Cult: Miniwiz Unveils Glowing Green Wall Made From Recycled Bottles The off-grid plant can pump out 10 square meters, or over 107 square feet, of the architectural tiles every 40 minutes. Each tile contains the equivalent of five plastic PET bottles . They can be utilized for exterior or interior floor finishes, according to Miniwiz, “or sold as raw material for further upcycling manufacturing processes like yarning, injection, and extrusion.” Miniwiz CEO and co-founder Arthur Huang said in a statement, “Until now, industrial grade recycling was limited to plants. The TRASHPRESSO overcomes the distance and energy barriers by showing that recycling is possible everywhere. Not only does it serve to transform trash on-site, it also serves as an educational tool in isolated communities.” The TRASHPRESSO will be deployed for the first time this summer to NianBao Yuze on the Tibetan Plateau. The natural beauty of the glacier region has been trashed by tourists who leave behind litter. From there TRASHPRESSO will travel to other remote areas where garbage gathers, such as beaches, lakes, reservoirs, or rivers. Miniwiz showed off the TRASHPRESSO recently in Shanghai to celebrate Earth Day . They’ll bring the recycling plant to NianBao Yuze in partnership with Jackie Chan’s Green Heroes documentary series on National Geographic . + Miniwiz Images courtesy of Miniwiz

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World’s first mobile recycling plant turns trash into tiles

This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

April 21, 2017 by  
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In 1959, the small village of Caowangba in China ’s Guizhou Province had a problem – a drought had dried up all the nearby water sources, and residents were forced to rely on a single well for drinking water. Even that single well was faltering, sometimes leaving the people of the town without enough water to go around. Worse yet, the town’s single rice paddy had dried up, making it hard for residents to access enough food. Something had to be done. But rather than give up and move to a new home, one man named Huang Dafa decided to lead an ambitious project to dig a 10-kilometer canal along the face of several sheer cliffs to bring water to his home. It took 36 years and at least one failed attempt, but now enough water flows to the city to provide food and drinking water to everyone. Many have compared Dafa to the legendary figure Yu Gong , an old man whose determination caused the gods to literally move mountains from his path. At only 23 years old, Dafa made the project his life’s work. To build the canal, villagers had to carve along the sheer cliffs of three karst mountains , dangerous work that involved climbing up the side of the mountains, tying themselves to trees, and rappelling hundreds of meters down the cliff to dig. Related: Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest Naturally, it took a bit of persuading before anyone else in town was willing to take on this dangerous work. But in the end, the only other option was to do nothing and watch the town continue to struggle. Unfortunately, after a decade of work, the first attempt at a canal was unsuccessful in bringing water to the city. It wasn’t a total waste: the effort did create a tunnel through the mountains that allowed for easy travel through the stone, rather than around, which is still in use today. Dafa realized they needed a better understanding of irrigation to make the project work. So he left to study engineering for several years, and planned his next attempt even more meticulously. In the early 1990s, he persuaded the villagers to try again. The workers often slept in caves along the cliff side, and the remote location made it difficult to reach them in case of emergency – in fact, Dafa was working in the mountains when his daughter and grandson passed away, unable to reach them before they died. Related: Hundreds of beehives hang off a steep cliff in China to save wild honeybees Finally, in 1995, the new channel was finished, and water began to flow to Caowangba. As if the channel weren’t enough, Dafa’s efforts were also responsible for bringing electricity and a new road to the town that same year, allowing the residents to step into the modern era. Now, the community is thriving, and Huang Dafa is celebrated as a local hero at 82 years old. The channel provides running water to three other villages that happen to cross its path as well, providing water to 1,200 people and allowing them to grow 400,000 kilograms of rice every year. Via Oddity Central Images via VGC , China Daily

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This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

Dads, daughters and sustainability — a view from the road

June 20, 2016 by  
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Recently, I had the luxury of spending a week on the road to drive my daughter Sofija back home to Minneapolis from Oregon, where she goes to college. We covered over 2300 miles in five days in a rented Ford Fusion Hybrid. (The car was a revelation — 44 miles per gallon, a beautifully designed interior and enough cargo space for five suitcases, a bag of trail mix and five chocolate bars.)

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Dads, daughters and sustainability — a view from the road

Big-Time Cold Relief For Your Baby? Try These Tiny Cold Tablets

October 19, 2015 by  
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Nothing is worse than a sick child. Even if it’s just a common cold, it’s incredibly hard to see your little one coughing and wheezing, and exhausted but unable to sleep.  Something about my daughter being sick always sets me off into a tailspin of…

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Big-Time Cold Relief For Your Baby? Try These Tiny Cold Tablets

New Uses For Old Film

September 18, 2015 by  
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I really look forward to the day when I can tell my daughter about cameras. Real cameras – film cameras! I can’t wait to tell her that if you wanted to take pictures you had to go to the store and buy a roll of film that could only hold 24 grainy…

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New Uses For Old Film

Super dad makes Star Wars Speeder Bike Rocker for his little Leia

August 23, 2015 by  
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Most of the Star Wars fans I know go crazy when they hear about any kind of DIY involving something from the films. I guess it’s a fun way to bring part of an iconic movie to life, and make it part of your life. That’s essentially what Tez Gemir did for his daughter when he built a 74-Z Speeder Bike rocker in honor of her first birthday. The intergalactic rocker features a 3D-printed shell, and Gemir was pretty meticulous about the design, making sure it’s built to last without small parts that might be hazardous to his little one. A birthday gift like this is a bit of a tradition in the Gemir family, as the creative father says on his Instructables page that he built “lots of projects” for his sons before coming up with this idea for his daughter. Of course, dressing her up like Princess Leia wasn’t even a question… READ MORE >

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Super dad makes Star Wars Speeder Bike Rocker for his little Leia

Weekday Vegetarian: Homemade Corn Chips

October 11, 2011 by  
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Photo: Emma Alter Thank goodness our Provincial election is over so I can go back to cooking for 3 instead of 23 or more , as I’ve been doing for the staff and volunteers of our local candidate. While I tried to keep all of the food I delivered light and healthy , I must admit that my daughter and I succumbed to the allure of making our own homemade corn chips. It actually worked out perfectly because we got to taste and enjoy them a bit, … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Weekday Vegetarian: Homemade Corn Chips

NASA Climate Scientist: Skeptics are "Winning the Argument"

October 11, 2011 by  
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Photo: thewritingzone , Flickr / CC BY-SA NASA’s James Hansen, perhaps the world’s foremost climate scientist, said that “climate contrarians … have been winning the argument for several years, even though the science has become clearer.” He made the remarks yesterday at a briefing at the Royal Society in London, and went on to expound upon why scientists (and common sense) have been losing out to misinformation — and what he thinks can … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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NASA Climate Scientist: Skeptics are "Winning the Argument"

Regulating Coal Ash Could Create 28,000 Jobs

October 11, 2011 by  
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Image: Lee Cannon via flickr The EPA has been considering stricter regulations of coal ash , the toxic solid waste from coal power plants that the public was largely unaware of before the

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Regulating Coal Ash Could Create 28,000 Jobs

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