Science is constantly advancing, bringing us more and more innovative recycling solutions. Some of the newest techniques are on the cusp of becoming common practice. Check out these recycling techniques you can anticipate seeing over the next few months and years:
1. Recycling concrete and rebar
Swedish student, Omer Haciomeroglu invented a robot that makes it possible to recycle concrete and even rebar when demolishing buildings. Typically, all of the materials in an old concrete building are lost, not to mention it requires an incredible amount of energy to destroy these buildings. The robot created by the student uses a water jet to take apart the concrete and suck it up. Then, the concrete is cleaned and packaged, and ready to use again for new buildings. Even the water can be reused! This opens up many opportunities for recycling more and creating less waste.
2. Cigarette recycling
While smoking is becoming less popular, it still creates plenty of waste. Now, leftover cigarette butts are being recycled to create plastic shipping pallets, among other uses. The leader in this endeavor is Terracycle, which has partnered with municipalities to lead the way in cigarette and other difficult material recycling.
3. 3-D Printing from recycled plastics
3-D printing is a very exciting development in the technology and engineering world. What’s even more exciting is the possibility to use recycled goods as the medium for doing the printing. Think along the lines of ground up plastics from around your home, even old toys are up for grabs.
4. Anaerobic Digestion
This new innovative form of recycling decomposes organic material and turns it into energy. One such facility now exists in Sacramento where over 100 tons of organic material are processed in a day. When put in regular landfills, organic waste actually produces harmful gases like methane. So, making use of this waste by turning it into energy is a great, green innovation that’s already popular in Europe.
As recycling becomes more popular, non-recyclables and one-use plastics will continue to be banned. Some of the main targets in already existing bans are styrofoam, plastic bags and plastic bottles. These bans will push consumers and producers to use more recyclable and reusable items such as glass, metals and other natural alternatives. In addition to bans, we may see required composting. Food waste is a huge problem and requiring citizens to separate and either compost on their own or with a city anaerobic biograder may become the norm.
6. E-Waste Recycling Innovations
E-waste is problematic because it’s not often safe for humans to sort through it and find the best goods to recycle. Liam, Apple’s recycling robot, picks apart smartphones and other items to separate glass from copper and plastic and more. This makes it easier to recycle because traditional methods almost always wind up with a shard of glass or plastic where it doesn’t belong.
7. Plastics into Liquid Fuel
A joint effort between researchers at the University of California Irvine and Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry have come up with a new way to recycle plastics into fuel. Using a byproduct of the oil refining process, they have come up with a solution to two problems: recycling plastics and new fuel sources.
The future of recycling is bright with many possibilities for increasing greener practices in the world.
Ready to recycle yourself? Contact Ecology to discuss your recycling needs.