The creation of construction materials like concrete and steel are maybe a third of all green house gases. This approach may cut down on that greenhouse gas production and recycle plastics at the same time. It could cut the cost of such materials in developing economies. This is a smile/smile development. I like that phrase better than win/win.
Nzambi Matee is turning recycled plastic into bricks that are stronger than concrete! According to Reuters, Matee’s bricks can be thrown against a wall and do not crack.
Matee is the founder of Gjenge Makers, in Nairobi. “Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete. There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” she told the outlet, showing off loads of plastic waste that can’t be recycled.
She produces 1,500 bricks every day, using a mix of different plastics. She gets packaging from factories for free but pays for plastic from recyclers. To make the brick, Matee heats sand, plastic and compresses them into different bricks, which are sold for construction purposes.
Matee is a materials engineer and has been at work on this business since 2017. Her factory has recycled 20 tonnes of plastic waste since she founded the company. She is planning to add a larger production line and plans to break even by year-end. Her factory was set up to help solve plastic pollution, after waiting for the government to take act
So the shell game for the oil companies was always – who can we get to take this stuff? Meaning solid supposedly recyclable plastics. For awhile anybody would take the “stuff” to burn it and Americans are like – out of sight out of mind. When they got caught at that, then they started exporting for “conversion” to other substances and China bought that one big time. Don’t get me wrong, plastic can be recycled but it is MORE expensive to do so than to throw it away. PLUS you can only recycle it once or twice and then it has to be thrown away anyway. YUP recycling was always a lie. But ain’t capitalism grand.
Laura Leebrick, a manager at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon, is standing on the end of its landfill watching an avalanche of plastic trash pour out of a semitrailer: containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups.
None of this plastic will be turned into new plastic things. All of it is buried.
“To me that felt like it was a betrayal of the public trust,” she said. “I had been lying to people … unwittingly.”
Rogue, like most recycling companies, had been sending plastic trash to China, but when China shut its doors two years ago, Leebrick scoured the U.S. for buyers. She could find only someone who wanted white milk jugs. She sends the soda bottles to the state.
But when Leebrick tried to tell people the truth about burying all the other plastic, she says people didn’t want to hear it.
“I remember the first meeting where I actually told a city council that it was costing more to recycle than it was to dispose of the same material as garbage,” she says, “and it was like heresy had been spoken in the room: You’re lying. This is gold. We take the time to clean it, take the labels off, separate it and put it here. It’s gold. This is valuable.”
Go there and read. Next time you see an empty gallon milk jug. Light it on fire in protest. More next week.
P.S. Today is recycling day in Riverton and they just took my plastic away. hahahahaa
First off, I lifted the chant below because I thought it was so cool. And timely. Second, this article about decarboning the air by a little Swiss company takes a looooong time to get to the point. Finally it does say that it takes a lot of power to run, A Nuke? I was just kidding, but maybe.
The Tiny Swiss Company That Thinks It Can Help Stop Climate Change
Two European entrepreneurs want to remove carbon from the air at prices cheap enough to matter.
By Jon Gertner
Just over a century ago in Ludwigshafen, Germany, a scientist named Carl Bosch assembled a team of engineers to exploit a new technique in chemistry. A year earlier, another German chemist, Fritz Haber, hit upon a process to pull nitrogen (N) from the air and combine it with hydrogen (H) to produce tiny amounts of ammonia (NH?). But Haber’s process was delicate, requiring the maintenance of high temperatures and high pressure. Bosch wanted to figure out how to adapt Haber’s discovery for commercial purposes — as we would say today, to “scale it up.” Anyone looking at the state of manufacturing in Europe around 1910, Bosch observed, could see that the task was daunting: The technology simply didn’t exist.
Over the next decade, however, Bosch and his team overcame a multitude of technological and metallurgical challenges. He chronicled them in his 1932 acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry — an honor he won because the Haber-Bosch process, as it came to be known, changed the world. His breakthrough made possible the production of ammonia on an industrial scale, providing the world with cheap and abundant fertilizer. The scientist and historian Vaclav Smil called Haber-Bosch “the most important technical invention of the 20th century.” Bosch had effectively removed the historical bounds on crop yields, so much so that he was widely credited with making “bread from air.” By some estimates, Bosch’s work made possible the lives of more than two billion human beings over the last 100 years.
What the Haber-Bosch method had going for it, from the very start, was a ready market. Fertilizer was already in high demand, but it came primarily from limited natural reserves in far-flung locales — bird droppings scraped from remote islands near Peru, for instance, or mineral stores of nitrogen dug out of the Chilean desert. Because synthetic ammonia competed with existing products, it was able to follow a timeworn pattern of innovation. In much the same way that LEDs have supplanted fluorescent and incandescent bulbs (which in turn had displaced kerosene lamps and wax candles), a novel product or process often replaces something already in demand. If it is better or cheaper — and especially if it is better and cheaper — it usually wins in the marketplace. Haber-Bosch did exactly that.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for many onlike websites.
5 Things You Should Stop Throwing Away
Wastefulness has increased in modern times because consumers can find low-cost, disposable products made from inexpensive, easy-to-manufacture materials. These products harm the environment in a variety of ways:
– Waste causes the destruction of forests and fields to create larger landfills.
– Biodegradable items in landfills decompose to create methane and other greenhouse gases.
– Burning trash creates harmful smoke that pollutes clean air.
– Animals eat plastics and plastic breakdown releases toxic chemicals into the ground and water supplies.
Garbage bags, waste disposal trucks and landfills often contain items that people can effortlessly recycle, upcycle or reuse. You simply need to rethink how you deal with trash:
Fruit and Vegetable Waste
Moldy or damaged fruit and vegetable waste is 100 percent biodegradable. In nature, waste plants feed microorganisms, insects and animals and decompose into plant soil nutrients. Instead of tossing whole fruits and vegetables or cuttings into the trash, make nutrient-rich composted fertilizer for your potted plants and garden. Drill a few out-gassing holes into the sides of a sturdy lidded container and then fill the container with starter soil, earthworms and leaves. Shred fruit and vegetable waste into small pieces and then add it to the container
So, right off the bat I have to say that this is a for profit business in the waste handling business. The part of their website about recycling is excellent. There business practices may not be. I have never been to Britain and I do not intend to start. Readers will have to judge for themselves. I f they are really bad folks or really good folks let me know.
Did you know that recycling helps save the planet from things like global warming and rubbish? That’s right, by recycling things such as food packets and old toys, you are reducing the amount that gets put into the rubbish bin. This is a very good thing, because rubbish is full of nasty bugs that spread diseases and gases that increase global warming.
But what is recycling? How are things recycled? And what can you do to get more people to recycle?
Read through this leaflet, and by the end of it you will be able to teach your parents a thing or 2 about recycling.
What is Recycling?
Fun Fact: If we took all of the UK’s rubbish and put it in its biggest lake, it would take 8 months to fill it!
Recycling means making rubbish into something new. Every time you throw something away it gets sent to a landfill. More and more rubbish is piled on top until it is too big and the landfill has to be closed.
The great thing is that most things can be recycled. Every day, clever scientists come up with new ways to make use of things we usually consider rubbish. But what exactly do they do with the recycling?
Nico loves saving energy and natural resources and wants to share his knowledge with you! Join Nico and learn the best practices of saving energy.
dot dot dot Unfortunately the actual site is graphics heavy and I am no good at copying such things, but I am going to put up the Teacher Guide. I think you will get the idea. dot dot dot
The Kids’ Guide to Saving Energy is a useful resource to incorporate into your elementary classroom’s curriculum to help students understand the importance of saving energy. Have your students complete the guide during class or as an extra credit homework assignment. Discuss the guide in class and have your students present to the class ways they saved energy at home. Below are some suggestions on how to incorporate each page of the guide into your lesson plan:
SaveOnEnergy.com® created Nico as a fun way to teach students about energy. As your students connect with Nico, be sure to tell students to check out the other kids’ guides and continue to explore with Nico!
Ask students to volunteer to read aloud the reasons why conserving energy is important. Then, review the following discussion questions with your class.
1. Do you think saving energy is important?
1. What is energy conservation?
2. What is energy efficiency?
3. How do you think we can conserve energy in the classroom?
Have the students define renewable and nonrenewable energy. Then have the students place each renewable energy source under the proper category. If students are unfamiliar with certain energy sources, have them look up and define the words. Then, have your students brainstorm ways in which we can use renewable resources for energy and discuss the advantages of renewable energy.
I also love that Nico is half of Nicodemus. Go there and read. More next week.
The terms he uses are different. Man has always extracted things. A good case can be made that for much of our species existence we have caused things to go extinct as well. We need to quit both. The human race could survive off our garbage dumps from here to eternity if we just made product loops that left no waste. That is if we treated everything and everybody for their intrinsic value.
That last sentence is a little shaky but that is because we live in a throw away culture.
Today’s global economy is causing shortages of natural resources (both renewable and nonrenewable) as we come to the end of what might be called the Age of Extraction. A true cost, steady state economy, on the other hand, would prevent resource problems by maintaining population and resource consumption well within the carrying capacity of the planet.
Energy and mineral shortages, along with depletion of forests and fisheries, are driving the extractors and harvesters to evermore remote places. No longer able to find gushing oilfields, vast stands of virgin timber, or waterways teeming with fish, the extraction companies are racing to the farthest reaches of the planet in search of profits.
The end of the Age of Extraction does not mean that such resources will disappear. In his recent book, The Quest, Daniel Yergin describes oil and gas discoveries that he predicts will turn the Western Hemisphere — from Canada to Brazil — into the next Saudi Arabia. But today’s extraction is pursuing fuels that are either dirty or hard to get. We see more pollution, both from accidents and mundane chronic causes, increasingly pushing civilization beyond the carrying capacity of the earth, wiping out more and more species, and accelerating climate destabilization.
Today’s global economic operating system tolerates and even abets severe pollution damages as industries externalize the costs from their books. Scarcity has made some of the most environmentally devastating energy and mining projects “short-term cost effective.” For example, according to price and revenue figures, it’s cost effective to extract oil from tar sands in Alberta, a process that requires huge energy inputs, grotesquely contaminates land and water, and poisons people, fish, and wildlife.
This concludes my meditation on handicapped devices for the home. It was never meant to be a catalog or even a realistic sampling. After all, this is a blog about energy and the environment. That said, this is a blog that envisions humans being good to the planet and using nonpolluting energy sources not as living in a cave huddle around a fire. It is actually about improving the efficiency and quality of life for everyone including the handicapped. Today’s post is one from my deep past. My grandmother was in a wheelchair for 30 years. Her legs were paralyzed from the waist down. We had a Hoyer lift in our home for that whole time. So this is for you Treva where ever you are.
Hoyer’s Heavy-Duty Power Lift features a power operated base with a clearance of 4.5″. The 6-point cradle design maximizes patient comfort, and the long padded handles offer a plethora of grip choices. This lift also features an extended reach for floor pick-up capabilities. Emergency stop and power manual lowering for added safety. Optional upgrade model features a scale for convenient weighing.
Power operated base
6-Point cradle design for maximum patient comfort
Long, padded handles offer a plethora of grip choices
Extended reach for floor pick-up
Emergency stop for added safety
Power manual lowering
700 lbs. Weight capacity
One Hoyer Heavy-Duty Power Lift with Optional Scale
First on the list of actual green active organizations is Greenpeace. As with most activist organizations, I like them or I hate them based on their actions. When they challenge the whalers, I applaud. When they unroll banners from bridges over the Mississippi River or chain themselves up in trees, I must admit I become embarrassed. I have never been a member needless to say.
My Greenpeace colleagues aboard the Rainbow Warrior in the Indian Ocean shared a heartwarming experience when a frolicking group of humpback and minke whales put on quite a show. It’s not a stretch to say these whales were happy and playful. Why wouldn’t they be as the entire Indian Ocean is a whale sanctuary where they can live in peace? What a contrast this is to other parts of the world where whales not only don’t have protections but face a myriad of direct threats from humans. One huge emerging threat to whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife is happening now in the coastal waters of California. Read more
Methane is the single biggest greenhouse gas that never gets talked about because environmentalists see it as a “bridge” to a clean energy future. Making power from food refuse makes complete sense. I hate to say it but backyard composters, as well meaning as they are, just throw the stuff up in the air. Ashley Halligan sent me this article:
Although the number of U.S. landfills has steadily declined since 1990, the size of landfills has increased. In fact, Americans generated 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2010 alone. It’s thus no surprise that MSW landfills are our third-largest, human-generated source of methane emissions. But this is more an opportunity than it is a problem.
Many landfills are becoming resource recovery facilities–places where waste or byproducts are reclaimed and converted into energy. Captured by wells installed throughout a landfill, naturally-occurring methane emissions (or landfill gas–LFG) can be converted into multiple energy sources, including electricity, a replacement for fossil fuels in industrial operations, or upgraded to pipeline-quality gas. Methane’s heat can also be used directly. Of the approximately 2,400 operating or recently closed MSW landfills in the U.S., 535 (around 22 percent) currently have resource recovery projects.
To learn more about these projects and the benefits they deliver, I spoke to several industry experts–including David Specca, Assistant Director for Bioenergy and Controlled Environment Agriculture at the Rutgers University EcoComplex, and Barry Edwards, Director of Engineering and Utilities at Catawba County–and looked at three examples of successful projects.