This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste

July 11, 2018 by  
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More than 1,000 square feet of plastic ultimately destined to pollute the ocean is getting a second lease on life in Rotterdam. On July 4, 2018, Recycled Island Foundation opened its prototype to the public: a floating park made entirely from recycled plastic waste and appropriately named the Recycled Park. According to a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment , more than 1,000 cubic meters of plastic waste is transported every year down the Meuse River and into the North Sea. The plastics come from landfills, agriculture, sewage and inland shipping. They ultimate reach the river through a number of methods, including dumping, littering and run-off. Instead of letting the plastic reach the ocean, the Recycled Island Foundation and 25 partners created the Recycled Park: a public space in Rotterdam consisting of floating platforms made from recycled plastic waste. The team set traps along the Meuse River that collect waste, which is then gathered and transformed into platforms for the floating park. Related: A massive five-ton plastic waste whale breaches in a Bruges canal The Recycled Park project is focused on the Meuse River because of the overall viability of plastic in the aquatic space. The collected waste  is newer than in other waterways, so it can easily be made into platforms. To create the platforms, the collected plastic is sent to Wageningen University, which leads the research on effective recycling techniques . From there, the platforms are designed with HEBO Mariteimservice , who removes the garbage from the water. But the platforms aren’t just designed to reduce plastic pollution — they also serve as a wildlife habitat. Plants grow both above and below the river surface, allowing greenery to thrive on top of the platforms, providing a habitat capable of sustaining marine life and encouraging fish to lay eggs below the platforms. With the prototype park open, the organization is now looking for expansion options. Its ultimate goal is to incorporate several aquatic platform types into the park, while finding a permanent location to collect plastic from the Dutch harbor . + Recycled Park + Recycled Island Foundation Images via Recycled Island Foundation

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This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste

Kenyan activists are using human poop to make affordable cooking fuel

August 15, 2017 by  
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Resources are scarce in Kenya, and nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line , but they do have poop. Activists with Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company are providing clean fuel for local residents in the form of small balls of human feces. The group takes in truckloads of sewage from septic systems and pit latrines and transforms the waste into safe, economical briquettes that burn cleaner and longer than coal. And don’t worry: they are odor-free. Ordinarily, human feces can pose various health problems if left untreated or if disposed of improperly. Sometimes, it can even lead to cholera outbreaks or other sanitation -related diseases. However, because it is the most abundant and widely available human resource, Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company developed a method to turn it into an affordable, clean-burning fuel. To create the briquettes, the company slowly sun-dries the feces. Then, it treats it at a high temperature of 300 Celsius (572 Fahrenheit) in a kiln via a carbonizing process where sawdust is added to it. TreeHugger reports that the resulting product is then mixed with a small amount of molasses to act as a binder. It is then rolled into balls and dried. One kilo of the briquettes is said to cost just 50 cents USD — a very reasonable price for Kenyan citizens. John Irungu, the site manager at Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company, describes carbonization as “a process whereby we increase the carbon content of your materials.” He added, “In this case we are using the drum kiln whereby the sludge is fed, the drum has some holes at the bottom, these holes allow the oxygen to come in, in a controlled manner, that oxygen will only support combustion but to a certain level so that it doesn’t burn completely into ash. In this way, you are able to eliminate all the volatile matters, all the harmful gasses, and it is at this point that you ensure that your sludge doesn’t smell it is safe for handling when you are carrying out the other processes which is milling and briquette production.” Related: First-ever dog poop composting program in NYC comes to Brooklyn park It took some time to overcome the stigma that surrounds the use of human feces, but the company succeeded by informing residents that they could obtain a cleaner-burning cooking fuel for a fraction of the cost. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Turning poop into fuel These Kenyan entrepreneurs built thousands of special toilets to turn poop into sustainable fuel. Posted by Al Jazeera English on Saturday, July 15, 2017 Every month, Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company produces about two tons of the human waste briquettes. By the end of the year, the goal is to produce 10 tons per month. This will occur once additional de-watering and carbonization equipment is procured, as it will scale up and optimize the present production methods. The company is also invested in the construction of more than 6,000 toilets that can collect waste. Someday, the company will expand its offerings elsewhere in Kenya, Africa. + Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company Via TreeHugger Images via  Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company

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Kenyan activists are using human poop to make affordable cooking fuel

Mexico’s gorgeous Sunset Chapel looks like a gigantic boulder

August 15, 2017 by  
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Through several contrasting features, this striking chapel in Acapulco, Mexico embodies feelings of both hope and sadness. Mexico City-based Bunker Arquitectura constructed the Sunset Chapel on top of a hill and gave it an appearance of a huge boulder that blends into the natural environment. Bunker Arquitectura combined contrasting materials – glass and concrete – to embody elements of transparency and solidity, merging opposing ideas and religious contexts. The chapel mimics the large granite rocks piled up on the hill to blend into the surrounding landscape. Related: BNKR Arquitectura Reveals Plans for an Incredible Underground Skyscraper in Mexico City A triangular aperture functions as the main entrance into the small interior, while smaller slits in the walls provide views of the surroundings and allow natural light inside. A fully glazed wall on the upper floor features a crucifix which dominates the space. + Bunker Arquitectura Via Ignant Photos by Esteban Suárez

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Mexico’s gorgeous Sunset Chapel looks like a gigantic boulder

7-year-old California boy saves 10K for college with his own recycling company

January 10, 2017 by  
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A 7-year-old boy from California has demonstrated it’s never too early to start recycling . When he was three, Ryan Hickman ventured to a local recycling center in Orange County with his father. The experience moved him to such an extent he declared his intentions to start collecting recyclables from his neighbors the following day. Thus started Ryan’s Recycling Company , through which Ryan has recycled around 200,000 bottles and cans, saving thousands of dollars in the process. Ryan asked his parents if he could give their neighbors empty plastic bags to fill with cans and bottles. The neighbors were happy to cooperate with him – as were friends, his parents’ co-workers, and family members. Roughly four years later, Ryan has recycled 49,000 pounds of trash from customers throughout Orange County. His website reports he spends “part of every week” sorting through and cleaning the plastic or glass bottles and aluminum cans he then totes to the recycling center with the help of his family. Ryan has saved around $10,000 for college (although his website warns he might actually tell you he’s saving up for his own garbage truck), and $1,624 for charity. Related: How two amazing teenage girls convinced Bali to ban plastic bags Ryan told The Capistrano Dispatch people should recycle to make a few extra dollars and “because it helps the world” as birds might eat discarded trash and “get sick or die.” Ryan’s efforts ensure all that trash stays out of the landfill and the oceans , and he’s become a Youth Ambassador for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center . He also offers t-shirts for $13, and all proceeds go to the center. Ryan’s mother Andrea told The Capistrano Dispatch, “He’s very passionate about it, and he likes to get everybody else passionate about it as well. I think he’s rubbed off on all of us now. You find yourself walking past a can on the ground and needing to pick it up instead of walking away and leaving it there.” If you live in Orange County, you can pitch in too. Schedule a pickup or learn more about recycling on Ryan’s website . + Ryan’s Recycling Company Via One Green Planet and The Capistrano Dispatch Images via Ryan’s Recycling Company

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7-year-old California boy saves 10K for college with his own recycling company

French ban will outlaw all plastic utensils, cups and dishes by 2020

September 19, 2016 by  
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Back in July, a plastic bag ban went into effect in France . Now the country is going a step further with a measure that would ban all plastic utensils, cups, and dishes by 2020. While some praise the measure, others worry it’s not fair for low-income families. The measure went into effect in August, but allows producers almost four years to make the switch from plastic to compostable utensils and dishes made with biological materials. According to the Associated Press, the measure means France is apparently the ” first country to introduce a blanket ban on plastic dishware .” Consumers won’t be able to purchase coffee in plastic cups or plastic wine glasses for picnics; instead, companies will have to sell compostable dishware and utensils made of “biologically sourced materials.” Related: Edible spoons let you ditch plastic utensils (and they taste great, too) Those in favor of the ban hope it will propel the country forward as an environmental example other countries could emulate. Those opposed to the ban say it places greater strain on low income families who tend to use plastic dishware and utensils regularly. For that reason Environment Minister of France Segolene Royal said the measure is “anti-social.” Pack2Go Europe , an organization representing packaging manufacturers, even says the measure violates European Union rules for “free movement of goods.” Pack2Go Europe’s secretary general argues the measure could create more litter , as people might be tempted to simply discard the compostable dishes and utensils anywhere since they are biodegradable. He also says it has not yet been proved that utensils made of biological materials are safer for the environment than plastic utensils and dishes. Pack2Go Europe says they are willing to take legal action against the measure. Via the Associated Press Images via Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr and Matt Anderson on Flickr

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French ban will outlaw all plastic utensils, cups and dishes by 2020

Tesla to install worlds largest backup battery for the city of Los Angeles

September 19, 2016 by  
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In the latest development to solidify Tesla’s position as more than just a luxury electric car maker, the California-based company has been chosen to produce a lithium ion battery solution to power the city of Los Angeles during peak energy times. Following the massive methane leak near L.A. last year that caused more environmental damage than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, authorities demanded a peak time solution that would not carry such enormous health and environmental risks. Tesla will design and build exactly that solution at its new Gigafactory .

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Tesla to install worlds largest backup battery for the city of Los Angeles

Copenhagen’s Hanging Gardens will allow residents to grow and sell their own vegetables on-site

September 19, 2016 by  
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Designed with sustainability in mind, the Hanging Gardens Tower is envisioned with locally sourced construction materials and its gardens provide benefits to the environment through the management of rainwater, habitat creation for local fauna, and air purification. The building features a checkered facade with floor-to-ceiling windows that alternate with prefabricated angled bays. The tower’s identical bays provide room for an outdoor balcony and gardens, while its angled form helps provide privacy and protect the interior from solar heat gain. Related: MVRDV’s Gorgeous Tunnel-Shaped Market Hall Opens its Doors in Rotterdam Each apartment will have access to a private vegetable garden and hanging gardens , where residents can grow their produce. Residents will also be able to trade and sell their produce on the ground floor farmer’s market, an addition inspired by the site’s history as a former vegetable market. “The utilization of contextual shapes in new combinations gave the building a series of architectural benefits for the residents,” write the architects. “As an example, the layout of the facade generates more than 200 balconies, without compromising the daylight intake of the apartments. The geometry furthermore shields the users from wind nuisance, while enhancing the acoustic environment of the balconies. Lastly the balconies are designed to give the highest amount of comfort, in respect to daylight and privacy.” The Hanging Gardens Tower is slated to begin construction by April 2017. + Studio LOKAL Via ArchDaily Images via Studio LOKAL

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Copenhagen’s Hanging Gardens will allow residents to grow and sell their own vegetables on-site

Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones

August 23, 2016 by  
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The Rio Games may have just ended, but Tokyo is already gearing up for the 2020 Olympics – and organizers want to source materials for the gold, silver, and bronze medals from discarded smartphones and other electronics . The country’s e-waste stream could certainly provide enough precious metals to cover the demand; the problem lies with collecting the discarded devices from the public. In 2014 Japan recovered 143 kg of gold, 1,566 kg of silver and 1,112 tons of copper – an essential component in bronze – from small, discarded electronics, according to Nikkei Asian Review . Judging from London’s 2012 Olympics, only 9.6kg of gold, 1,210kg of silver and 700kg of copper were needed to make all the winning medals. Usually cities hosting the games ask mines to donate the materials, but Japan may not have to go that route. Related: Japan promises to make 2020 Olympics a high-tech fest of self-driving cars, 5G networks and more The plan does face some challenges, however – Japan has not fully implemented a system for collecting discarded consumer electronics , and a 2013 law requiring the recycling of home appliances was not as effective as lawmakers hoped. Recycled precious materials are also commonly used to produce new electronic devices, with silver being in especially high demand. A meeting was held on June 10 where Tokyo Olympics officials met with government members and representatives from a mobile phone company, precious metals company, and recycling companies. Proposals are being considered regarding how to increase public awareness of recycling programs and how to streamline the collection process in time for the Games’ arrival in Tokyo. Via Nikkei Asian Review Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones

Canadian funeral home dissolves the dead and pours them down the drain

June 26, 2016 by  
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A Canadian funeral home called Hilton’s AquaGreen Dispositions is the first in Ontario to use a pioneering “flameless” cremation method to dispose of dead bodies. Unlike a conventional cremation, the process does not release carbon dioxide or other pollutants into the atmosphere, instead using a combination of water, salt, and potash to dissolve organic material into a sludge that can be filtered and then safely disposed of using the existing sewer system. While the process may sound unsavory , it’s actually not very different from the natural breakdown of a body buried in a grave. The difference is, of course, that the alkaline hydrolysis takes only two hours to complete a decomposition process that would take 15-20 years with a body buried in a casket. And the entire process only creates about a quarter of the carbon emissions normally involved in traditional cremation . The solution used to dissolve the body is heated to about 300 degrees, hot enough to destroy any microbes or infectious prions present in the body, so that there is no health risk from being exposed to the remains. As such, it can simply be treated with normal sewage. Related: Choose Liquidation Over Cremation & Save the Environment Even In Death While most organic tissue is liquefied with this process, the bones themselves remain. After the liquid is filtered out, the skeleton can be dried and crushed into ash, which is returned to the family to be scattered or kept in an urn. Any artificial joints or surgical hardware will remain intact, however, and can be donated and reused by doctors in developing countries. While many may have (understandable) concerns about the liquefied remains of a dead body being poured into the sewage system, local water utility workers have inspected the business and claim that they aren’t concerned about any effect on local water quality. They caution that it could be a problem further down the road if a large number of bodies undergo the process a day, but so far it’s simply not a popular enough option to cause any problems. Related: Urban Death Project aims to rebuild our soil by composting corpses If you’re interested in having a greener cremation after you’ve passed away, be warned — the process is not legal everywhere . In fact, in the US it’s only legal in thirteen states: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming. In Canada it’s only been approved for use in Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Ontario. Via CBC News Photos via Hilton’s AquaGreen Dispositions

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Canadian funeral home dissolves the dead and pours them down the drain

INFOGRAPHIC: The dangerous untold story of e-waste

June 24, 2016 by  
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 60 million tons of electronic waste is dumped in landfills every year. In Agbogbloshie, Ghana one of the world’s largest e-waste burial grounds houses thousands of tons of electronics. The soil is a breeding ground for lead poisoning. Children as young as seven years-old sort through this waste on a daily basis, causing chronic health problems and crippling injuries. See the infographic below for an in-depth look at this devastating epidemic. Graphic courtesy Ecogreen IT Recycling. The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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INFOGRAPHIC: The dangerous untold story of e-waste

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