What’s Banned in Landfills: A State-by-State Guide

November 27, 2017 by  
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In some cases, it’s not about whether you should recycle … The post What’s Banned in Landfills: A State-by-State Guide appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What’s Banned in Landfills: A State-by-State Guide

What’s Banned in Landfills: A State-by-State Guide

November 27, 2017 by  
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In some cases, it’s not about whether you should recycle … The post What’s Banned in Landfills: A State-by-State Guide appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What’s Banned in Landfills: A State-by-State Guide

MIT students develop method to reinforce concrete using plastic bottles

October 26, 2017 by  
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Americans consume 8.6 billion water bottles — every year. Of those, only 1 of 5 is recycled . Fortunately, a handful of MIT students have developed a solution to this problem, and it involves repurposing waste plastic bottles to reinforce concrete. Because the newly-invented method results in the concrete being more durable than existing concrete, plastic bottles may soon be used to construct everything from stronger building foundations to sidewalks and street barriers. According to the study , which was published in the journal Waste Management, MIT students discovered a method to produce concrete that is up to 20 percent stronger than conventional concrete. First, plastic flakes are exposed to small amounts of harmless gamma radiation . Then, they are pulverized into a fine powder, after which it is added to concrete. The discovery has far-reaching implications, as concrete is the second most widely used material on Earth (the first is water). MIT News reports that approximately 4.5 percent of the world’s human-induced carbon emissions are generated by manufacturing concrete. By replacing small portions of concrete with recycled plastic, the cement industry’s toll on the environment would be reduced. The newly-discovered method would also prevent millions of water and soda bottles from ending up in landfills . Michael Short, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, said, “There is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year. Our technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. This has the potential to pull plastic landfill waste out of the landfill and into buildings, where it could actually help to make them stronger.” Related: MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months MIT students Carolyn Schaefer and Michael Ortega explored the possibility of plastic-reinforced concrete as part of their class’s Nuclear Systems Design Project. In the future, the team intends to experiment with different types of plastic , along with various doses of gamma radiation, to determine their effects on concrete. So far, they’ve determined that substituting 1.5 percent of concrete with irradiated plastic significantly improves the mixture’s strength. While this may not seem like a lot, it is enough to have a significant impact if implemented on a global scale. “Concrete produces about 4.5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions,” said Short. “Take out 1.5 percent of that, and you’re already talking about 0.0675 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. That’s a huge amount of greenhouse gases in one fell swoop.”’’ Via MIT News Images via MIT , Pixabay

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MIT students develop method to reinforce concrete using plastic bottles

These hurricane-proof floating homes are packed with green features

October 26, 2017 by  
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These solar-powered, zero-emission floating homes are packed with green goodness. Designed by Dutch architect Koen Olthius in collaboration with Arkup , an “avant-garde life on water” company based in Miami, the livable yachts operate 100% off the grid and feature waste management, rainwater harvesting and water purification systems. The 4,350-square-foot homes are equipped with 30 kW of solar panels , 1,000 kWh of lithium-ion batteries and high-grade insulation. They are also extremely safe and, thanks to the inclusion of self-elevating systems, they can withstand high winds, floods and hurricanes. Related: Koen Olthuis of WaterStudio.nl talks about design for a Water World The 40-foot-long hydraulic legs can stabilize the floating homes or even lift them out of the water. If you want to relocate, two 136 horsepower electric thrusters can move the structure at 7 knots. Rainwater is collected from the roof, stored in the hull, and purified to ensure complete water autonomy. The 24×12 foot sliding terrace adds plenty of integrated outdoor space and is surrounded by shock-resistant glass panels, while a smart communications system (including satellite TV and WI-FI antennas, LTE and VHF) allows you to stay connected at all times. + Arkup + Waterstudio

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These hurricane-proof floating homes are packed with green features

Shocking Caribbean photos reveal a "sea of plastic and Styrofoam"

October 26, 2017 by  
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We hear about the issue of ocean plastic a lot, but new photographs visually demonstrate just how pervasive the pollution is. Roatán-based photographer Caroline Power shared pictures on Facebook taken near the Caribbean island belonging to Honduras, revealing what she calls a “sea of plastic and Styrofoam”. Power said, “This has to stop.” Power shared photographs of waves of plastic garbage floating in seaweed in a part of the world we tend to think of as pristine. Pressure group Blue Planet Society said the trash could have come from the Montagua River in Guatemala. Related: Could France-sized ocean garbage patch become 196th nation? Power seems to have posted in hopes of prompting people to think about their own consumption of single-use plastic. She wrote in the Facebook post, “Think about your daily lives. How did you take your food to go last time you ate out? How was your last street food served? Chances are it was styrofoam and served with a plastic fork and then put in a plastic bag. Do you still use plastic garbage bags? Plastic soda bottles? Ziplock bags? Plastic wrap on your food? Do you buy toilet paper that comes wrapped in plastic instead of paper? Do you put your fruit and veggies in produce bags at the grocery?” Power challenged people and businesses to keep their garbage, after sorting out organic and recyclable trash, for a week. She said, “You will be disgusted by how many single-use items you use.” Every single year, eight million metric tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans . Plastic pollution isn’t just an eyesore; The Independent quoted statistics saying it’s harming over 600 species around the world. Around 100,000 marine animals and more than one million birds perish because of plastic every year. Surely we can do better? Via Caroline Power and The Independent Images via Caroline Power on Facebook

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Shocking Caribbean photos reveal a "sea of plastic and Styrofoam"

This company wants to turn food waste into building materials heres how

October 20, 2017 by  
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What do peanuts, rice, bananas, potatoes, and mushrooms have in common? In addition to being delicious, they could be transformed into building materials. In a report entitled The Urban Bio-Loop , the Arup group proposes to use food waste (something developed nations have an abundance of) to develop low-cost and eco-friendly materials for use in construction. The authors of the report aim to demonstrate ‘that a different paradigm for materials in construction is possible.” Because first-world nations, such as the United States , waste up to 40 percent of all food , the goal is to turn the waste into a resource for the creation of “construction, engineering, and architecture products,” reports Archinect . This could be done by modifying the traditional waste management system. Discarded organic materials that could prove useful include peanut shells, which could be used to create low-cost partition boards that are resistant to fire and ice; rice , which could be turned into ash and mixed with cement to eliminate the need for fillers; bananas, a fruit whose leaves can make rugged textiles as a result of high-strength fibers; mushrooms, which can be used to grow buildings ; and potato peels, which can be cleaned, pressed and dried to produce a light, fire-resistant and water-repellent insulating material. The group argues that using food waste for building would contribute to a circular economy where organic waste is put to use, rather than tossed into landfills . Repurposing food waste would also reduce the amount of methane that is produced when fruit and vegetable scraps slowly decompose. The gas contributes to global warming , a phenomenon which results in warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and worsening natural disasters. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger Arup’s goal is to ameliorate rising levels of waste and a shortage of raw material. Using the low-cost, low-carbon materials would go a long way towards this goal. + “ The Urban Bio-Loop” Via Archinect Images via Wikipedia , Arup Group

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This company wants to turn food waste into building materials heres how

Plastic-eating caterpillar could revolutionize waste treatment

April 25, 2017 by  
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The answer to our global plastic catastrophe may be in sight. Spanish researchers have discovered that the wax worm, a caterpillar known for munching on the wax within beehives, is able to devour and biodegrade polyethylene plastic, converting it into a form of alcohol found in antifreeze. Federica Bertocchini, a scientist at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria, first uncovered the worm’s unique abilities by chance, when she attempted to clean up a wax worm infestation in one of her home beehives . She placed the worms in a plastic bag, tied it off, and left it in her house – only to find that the worms had chewed through the plastic and escaped. In a new paper published in Current Biology , she describes how 100 of the worms can chew through an ordinary polyethylene shopping bag in 40 minutes. At first, Bertocchini and her colleagues assumed the worms might be simply chewing through the plastic and shredding it. But then they took slightly nauseating step of pureeing the worms and leaving the resulting paste in contact with the plastic itself. Related: Scientists develop way to efficiently degrade plastics into diesel fuel The results were bizarre – after 14 hours in contact with the worm paste, 13 percent of the plastic had dissolved and degraded into ethylene glycol, the main component in antifreeze. Rather than simply shredding the plastic with their mouths, this showed that some compound in the worms’ digestive systems is actually breaking down and digesting the material. There have been attempts to degrade plastic before using fungus and bacteria, but none of these experiments have yielded results within a matter of hours. This finding could revolutionize the way that we currently manage waste. At the moment, landfills around the globe are packed with polyethylene shopping bags , which take between 100-400 years to degrade naturally. If researchers can isolate the enzyme the wax worms use to digest it, they could potentially treat the plastic in landfills with the substance to help it break down faster. Via Daily Mail Images via Pixabay and the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria

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Plastic-eating caterpillar could revolutionize waste treatment

Humanity’s footprint is weighing down the planet with 30 trillion tons of junk

December 6, 2016 by  
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Everyone knows that humanity has an enormous footprint on the planet – but few of us have thought to ask just how much our collective impact weighs . A new study published in The Anthropocene Review examines exactly that question, and has found that the so-called human “technosphere” is bogging down the planet with a staggering 30 trillion tons of infrastructure, development, and manufactured products. To understand the sheer volume of our impact on the planet, it’s important to recognize what’s being included in the tally. The paper includes all of the structures people have built or modified, as well as all of the gadgets and junk we’ve created – that means everything from farmed land to smartphones is being counted in that estimate. It includes all of our buildings, factories, roads, and trash, “active urban, agricultural and marine components used to sustain energy and material flow for current human life, and a growing residue layer.” Related: Scientists say that we are entering a new geological epoch thanks to human activity The mass of all the technosphere was estimated using an interesting method – basically, the authors compiled information on the area, thickness, and density of our cities , roads, croplands, and other structures worldwide. This is just one more piece of evidence that the Earth has entered a new geological era, what some are calling the “ Anthropocene ” epoch. In order to declare the current era its own geologic epoch, scientists need to be convinced that our footprint will last throughout the planet’s history, -even if our species fades away – as part of the fossil record. It’s hard to argue against the theory – after all, many of our structures will never decompose and may be preserved into the far future. But where previous epochs have been marked by the evolution of new life, our era will be marked in history by “techno-fossils” – the structures and trash we leave behind. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Humanity’s footprint is weighing down the planet with 30 trillion tons of junk

Deconstructing Construction Waste

August 22, 2016 by  
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When I approached my neighbor’s construction site, Edward Small of Sheridan Brick & Stone Work was chiseling off construction waste — mortar from old bricks to be exact. He suspects they were salvaged from a nearby Maine paper mill, and…

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Deconstructing Construction Waste

How To Repurpose Old Books Into New Masterpieces

March 28, 2016 by  
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Repurposing is something that is becoming ever more important for our environment. Fortunately, it can be fun to repurpose too! Today, we’re bringing you a plethora of ideas for repurposing old books so they stay out of our landfills – and continue…

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