100% Leaf Plates

Sustainability Problem:

Plastic waste is a problem, because it takes hundred of thousands of years to degrade.

Technology:

Bowl is made out of a layer of leaves, a layer of water-proof leaf-made paper, and another layer of leaves. These layers are compressed with a machine press and the leaves are stitched together with palm fibers

Stakeholders:

  • Citizens of the world
  • Waste Management Facilities
  • Governments

Steps to Deployment:

  • Continue gathering support on Kickstarter
  • Advertise on Social Media

 

 

WeRecycle Android App for easier recycling in public spaces

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The Sustainability Problem

Encouraging recycling in outdoor public places is challenging because oftentimes it is inconvenient. Unlike indoor recycling in a home, an office or school where you are familiar with where the recycling bins are and they are relatively close to where you are, public spaces such as parks have wider spaces. You do not always know where the next recycling bin is. If you finish a bottle of water in the middle of the park and you do not know when you will encounter the next bin, will you hold on to it until you see the next bin or will you just toss it in the next bin you find – whether it is trash bin or a recycling bin? Chances are, many people will toss it in a trash bin if that is the more convenient choice.

The Technology

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WeRecycle at the University of Georgia studies the recycling behavior of people in public spaces by tracking the  number of bottles thrown at each bin. As a result of this study, they ave released an Android App that allows users to easily find out where the next recycling bins are, even offering them the option of identifying bins for paper, plastic, bottles or trash.

It facilitates communication among a community of recyclers, allowing users of the app to add bins on the map, including descriptions.

Lastly, if there are any areas where users feel are in need of bins, they can express a need for a public bin to be placed there. This data can then be easily used by government agencies to make their future plans.

The app currently enjoys are 4.2 out of 5 stars rating on app marketplace.

 

The Stakeholders

  • University of Georgia
  • The foundations funding the University of Georgia research
  • Users of the Android App
  • Waste management agencies in the Georgia area
  • The general public in Georgia
  • Recycling promoters and environmental nonprofits

The Process

  • Get University of Georgia students to make the initial maps of bins in certain high traffic public areas
  • Test the app in Georgia to determine strengths and weaknesses
  • Address bugs in the app
  • Share data with government agencies to see how they can leverage the data
  • Test new iterations of the app until it achieves success
  • Expand the app’s coverage beyond Georgia, possibly testing one city at a time

Source:

http://mashable.com/2011/11/02/trash-tech-recycling/#f6hq1nEissqu

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.uga.engr.werecycle&feature=search_result

 

Anti-waste lining for plastic packaging

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Sustainability Problem

A lot of product waste is caused by inefficient packaging that track the product in the container. Not only is this a waste for the user because they don’t get to use every ounce of product they paid for, it is also causing complications for recycling. Plastic containers need to be cleaned and rinsed before they can be recycled. For many, cleaning the container is an inconvenience that needs to be done. But unfortunately others find it a hassle and it deters them from recycling.

Technology Solution

Researchers at Ohio State University created a special lining texture for the inside of plastic bottles that ensure soapy liquids do not cling to the surface. While this technology already exists to effectively make food and drinks not stick, no one has developed a surface that works for soapy liquids.

How the technology works:

This anti-waste texture is the result of a technique that includes lining a plastic bottle with microscopic y-shaped structures that cradle the droplets of soap aloft above tiny air pockets, so that the soap never actually touches the inside of the bottle.

The “y” structures are built up using tiny silica nanoparticles, or quartz, which, when treated further, won’t stick to soap.

This is all to do with what is known as ‘surface tension’, which is the tendency of the molecules of a substance to stick to each other. Ketchup and other sauces are made mostly of water, and water molecules tend to stick to each other more than they stick to plastic. Conversely, soap needs organic molecules called surfactants and which do the opposite of water molecules, that is, they have a very low surface tension and stick to plastic easily.

Instead of spreading out on the surface of the plastic and sticking to it, the soap forms beads and rolls off the bottle.

Stakeholders

  • Soap and similar product manufacturers
  • Plastic bottle suppliers
  • Recycling companies
  • Consumers

Steps to Implementation

  • Pilot test the technology with a handful of soap manufacturers
  • Market research to study consumer feedback about the new plastic containers
  • Make product adjustments as needed
  • Scale up use to as many soap and similar product manufacturers
  • Conduct awareness campaigns to encourage smart product use (down to the last drop) and boost plastic recycling

Source:

http://www.justmeans.com/blogs/new-anti-waste-lining-prevents-soapy-liquids-from-sticking-to-plastic-packaging

 

 

 

New technique turns common plastic waste into fuel

Problem: Synthetic plastics are used to produce food containers, because these plastics do not to chemicals in food. This turns out to be an issue when these containers go to landfills and do not degrade. There current methods for recycling plastics are energy intensive. The technique in this article and the research is geared towards reducing plastic pollution and in turn creating usable liquid fuel.

Technology:

  • Utilizes by-products of petrochemical production known as alkanes
  • The chemical process is known as cross-alkane metathesis 
  • Uses about half the amount of energy needed to breakdown plastics

Stakeholders:

  • Government
  • Wast management/recycling entities

Steps for deploying technology:

  1. Find average cost savings this technology will provide to recycling facilities
  2. Find areas where the fuel can be used in the recycling facilities
  3. Estimate cost of deploying this technology at a recycling facility

 

Greywater recycling system for bathrooms

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The Sustainability Problem:

In homes alone, toilets account for about 40% of the water used in the home. No numbers were cited for businesses but we know certain businesses also have a substantial number of toilets such as in hotels and event spaces. This can be seen as a waste of freshwater since the processes for which toilets use water does not necessitate freshwater.

The Technology Solution:

The AQUS Grey Water Toilet System is a water system that captures the dirty water from your sink (a.k.a. “grey water”) and recycles this to flush your toilet. According to the Inhabitat article, it can save up to 6,000 gallons of freshwater per year.

Stakeholders:

  • Home owners
  • Communities who share the same source of freshwater
  • Water utility companies / agencies
  • Contractors and other people whose work deals with building/designing bathrooms
  • Businesses that have a lot of bathrooms (event venues, hotels, etc.)

Implementation:

  • Sourcing the materials
  • Selection of contractors and crew for the rennovations
  • Assessment of existing structures to determine compatibility with new system
  • Timeline planning to ensure construction/renovation time does not conflict with other important events that may need access to the bathrooms
  • Monitoring actual renovations

 


Source:

http://inhabitat.com/sloans-innovative-aqus-grey-water-toilet-system-makes-every-drop-count/aqus-water-reclamation-system-3/