Archive | Recycling

Plastic Bags Recycled into Batteries at Argonne National Laboratory

ARGONNE, Ill., Dec. 22 (UPI) — Plastic bags found in abundance at grocery stores could be recycled into carbon nanotubes, a component in lithium ion batteries, an Illinois scientist said.

Vilas Pol, of Argonne National Laboratory 25-miles southwest of Chicago, developed the process as a way to turn plastic waste into an energy resource, the Southtown Star reported Tuesday.

With cobalt acetate as a catalyst, plastic bags were heated to 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit, which caused the carbon in the plastic to grow as nanotubes on the cobalt particles, Pol said, noting the process could be used on plastic water bottles and plastic cups.

The cobalt acetate, which is relatively expensive, could be recovered when the batteries were recycled, Pol said. Performing the process without cobalt acetate yields carbon spheres that could be used in printer ink.

Yet to be determined is how to collect enough bags to make the project cost efficient, Pol said. Recycling programs find the bags difficult to collect because they often get swept up in air currents, causing a problem for curbside collectors and recycling centers.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumer Products, Consumer Waste, Electronic Waste, Electronics, House & Home, Packaging, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

U.N Climate Change Summit Considered a 'Failure' to European Leaders

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 21 (UPI) — The climate change summit in Denmark, expected to produce a historic document, fell way short of the mark, officials and organizations said.

European leaders called the two-week gathering at Copenhagen “disappointing” while environmental organizations characterized it as a “failure,” the reported.

After nearly two weeks of stalled talks on a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol for curbing greenhouse gases, the countries approved a five-page document that recognizes the need to limit global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius over 10 years, but doesn’t require signatories to take measures to address climate change.

As explained by U.S. President Barack Obama Friday, countries will list “concrete commitments” into the document’s appendix, and would be subject to international consultation and analysis, leading to a hoped-for more binding document later. Among other things, the accord also sets a goal of delivering $100 billion annually to developing countries to help them address climate change.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden’s prime minister and sitting as EU’s six-month rotating president, said the conference’s document won’t counter global warming.

“Let’s be honest. This is not a perfect agreement. It will not solve the climate threat,” he told

The agreement, while a step forward was “clearly below our ambitions,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said. “I will not hide my disappointment.”

The United States bullied developing countries “into backing a plan that completely undermines the existing U.N. process,” said Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth executive director. “This summit has been a complete failure — the climate accord should be sent to the recycling bin.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Causes, Effects Of Air Pollution, International Relations & Treaties, Organizations, Other, Policy, Law, & Government, Recycling0 Comments

Aircraft Recycling & Salvage Companies are Having a Big Year

LONDON, Dec. 18 (UPI) — Airplane salvage companies, which operate much like junk yards for cars, are having a banner year in Britain and elsewhere, an international trade group said.

Sky News, a British news service, said airlines are rushing to recycle equipment as funds are scarce in an industry hit hard by the recession.

“The industry is in turmoil and airlines are struggling to manage their costs,” said International Bureau of Aviation President Phil Seymour.

A used jet engine can be worth as much as $4.8 million and times are tough. “If you are an airline trying to cut costs do you really want to be buying new parts from Boeing?” Seymour asked.

Air Salvage International, a British firm that has salvaged 25 planes this year, had “our best year in the 15 years we’ve been operating,” said managing director Mark Gregory

About 80 percent of a salvaged airplane can be re-sold. Breaking one down can take as long as two months, Sky News said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Aviation, Cars, Consumer Waste, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Reduce & Reuse, Transportation0 Comments

Landfills Still Filling Up in Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 25 (UPI) — Landfill operators in Northern California say it will take more than recycling to reduce the need for trash dumps in the coming years.

Tighter environmental regulations have led to some landfills in the San Francisco region to close, but at the same time has required other waste facilities to expand.

“We are on a path toward zero waste but we’re not there yet, and there’s a finite amount of landfill space in the Bay Area,” said Adam Alberti, spokesman for the waste-hauling company Recology. “A big part of it is that consumers need to change their behaviors — not just in recycling, but in consumption.”

The San Francisco Chronicle said Wednesday that Recology was seeking permits to begin shipping trash to Nevada by rail as some Bay Area dumps move closer to capacity or are shut down due to environmental concerns.

The newspaper said three landfills serving the area have either closed in the past four years on the verge of shutting down. Environmentalists say that causes more communities to truck their refuse farther to massive regional dumps.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Causes, Consumption, Landfills, Other, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Regional0 Comments

Chinese Man Ties Together Styrofoam for Recycling in Beijing

Chinese Man Ties Together Styrofoam in Beijing.

A Chinese man ties together a big haul of styrofoam outside a hotel in downtown Beijing on November 9, 2009. The screen cost US$32 million dollars. Many migrant Chinese workers depend on recycling trash to help make ends meet. UPI/Stephen Shaver

Date Taken: November 9, 2009

Posted in Recycling, Recycling & Waste0 Comments

More Companies Embrace Concept of 'Zero Waste' and Reducing Garbage

NEW YORK, Oct. 20 (UPI) — More companies, national parks and even restaurants are embracing the idea of zero waste when it comes to reducing garbage, a U.S. trash expert says.

The zero waste movement means shunning polystyrene foam containers, or other packaging that is not biodegradable, and recycling or composting what you can, said Jon Johnston, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency manager who is helping to lead the zero-waste movement.

Companies are embracing the concept more quickly than private citizens because of the cost of disposing of waste, Johnston said.

“Reaching down to my household and yours is the greatest challenge,” he told The New York Times.

Honda has become so good at recycling that eight of its North American plants no longer use trash Dumpsters. At Yellowstone National Park, the soda cups and utensils are made of plant-based plastics that dissolve when heated for more than a few minutes.

“Technology exists, but a lot of education still needs to be done,” Johnston said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Business & Economics, Composting, Education, Other, Packaging, Recycling, Science, Space, & Technology1 Comment

Scales Can Distinguish Between Wild and Farmed Salmon

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Oct. 5 (UPI) — British scientists have developed a new technology that can distinguish between farmed and wild salmon by examining the chemistry of their scales.

University of Southampton geochemist Clive Trueman, who led the research in collaboration with the Scottish Association for Marine Science, said fish scales are formed from the same chemicals as bones and teeth, preserving a chemical record of the water the fish lived in throughout its whole life. The scientist found levels of the trace metal manganese were always much higher in fish of farmed origin.

“This is probably caused by manganese supplements in fish food, and also because conditions underneath the fish cages promote recycling of manganese in the water column,” Elizabeth Adey, lead author of the research, said.

Using relatively simple techniques, the team said it was able to distinguish between farmed and wild fish with 98 percent accuracy.

“Because of its non-destructive nature, this technique could be used to assess the proportion of farm escape salmon present in any river, and therefore identify where additional conservation and wildlife protection measures are needed,” Trueman said.

The team also found differences in the chemistry of scales between fish farms that might allow researchers to identify individual farms responsible for the release of wild fish.

The research appeared in the journal Marine Ecology Progress.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Chemicals, Conservation, Fish, Recycling, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

NASA Sponsors Water Recycling Competition

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) — NASA says it’s inviting fifth- through eighth-grade U.S. students to take part in a water limitation management and recycling design competition.

“Participants in the competition will design and test water recycling systems that could be used for future exploration of the moon,” the space agency said in a statement. “The top three teams will receive awards, and the first place team will receive an expense-paid trip to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.”

Teams should consist of up to six students and one teacher or mentor, with proposals and results submitted for evaluation by Feb. 1. Schools in the United States and its territories, science museums, science centers and home school groups may host teams.

Winners will be announced in May.

Officials said the competition is designed to engage and retain students in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines critical to NASA’s missions.

Additional information is available at

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Engineering, Museums, Other, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

Recycling Workers Find $3,200 at California Recycling Station

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 24 (UPI) — Workers at a California recycling station said they discovered $3,200 cash among the cans, bottles and cardboard being sorted at the plant.

Employees at the SMaRT recycling plant in Sunnyvale said the cash began flying around the room Tuesday while recyclables collected from Mountain View, Calif., were being sorted, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported Thursday.

The employees collected the money in a plastic bucket and turned it over to the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, which said the cash will go toward the city’s general fund if it is not claimed within 90 days.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Other, Recycling, Recycling & Waste0 Comments

Old Electronics Seen as Major Environmental Threat

BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 14 (UPI) — U.S. landfills are filling up with unwanted old electronic items and posing an increasing environmental threat, experts say.

Experts said the used televisions, music players and other electronics sitting in landfills can result in heavy metals leaking into soil and ground water, The Buffalo (N.Y.) News said Monday.

“It’s a huge problem. It’s literally poisoning communities,” said Barbara Kyle, national coordinator for the non-profit Electronics TakeBack Coalition.

Jim Simon, the University at Buffalo Green Office’s associate environmental educator, blamed the rising number of unwanted electronic items on regular advancements in technology that make such products outdated.

“In an age when there’s a new iPhone or television every other week, it seems, people are hemorrhaging their old electronics,” Simon said.

The Buffalo News said some advocates support increased recycling of electronic items by consumers while some states imposing limits on the disposal of such items.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Electronics, Landfills, Office, Other, People, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Science, Space, & Technology, Television0 Comments

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