Tag Archives: recycling

IDEO.org Challenge – How might we establish better recycling habits at home?

Recycling is something in which we all have a role to play. It’s one of the easiest ways we can contribute to protecting our environment. When it comes to recycling at home, there often seems to be a mismatch between our good intentions and our actions and in many countries around the world, less than a third of us recycle at home. ideo

How can we nudge people to incorporate better recycling habits into their daily routines at home? What tools, campaigns or services might we design to support habit changes that stick? Together with Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) – one of the world’s largest independent bottlers of Coca-Cola products – we’re asking the OpenIDEO community to help us find creative ways to encourage people to recycle at home.

UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’

UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’ | Source: Environmental Leader – Oct 10 2013

Recycling and waste treatment can be a “gold mine,” perhaps literally, according to a UN report that finds treated waste can be put to profitable use. un-landfills

For example, 1 metric ton of electrical and electronic wastecontains as much gold as 5 to 15 metric tons of typical gold ore, and amounts of copper, aluminum and rare metals that exceed by many times the levels found in typical ores. As a result, printed circuit boards are probably the “richest ore stream you’re ever going to find,” according to the Guidelines for National Waste Management Strategies: Moving from Challenges to Opportunities.

Many waste products can be reused and, if waste is separated at source, the uncontaminated organic fraction can be composted or digested anaerobically, the report says.

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WASHplus Weekly – Focus on Waste Pickers

Issue 75 October 19, 2012 | Focus on Waste Pickers

This week’s issue contains reports, videos and blog posts that discuss the health, environmental and other issues that affect waste pickers. According to the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, the term “waste pickers” can be broadly defined as people who reclaim reusable and recyclable materials from what others have cast aside as waste. 

In many countries, family-based enterprises in the solid waste informal sector account for most recycling of metal, paper, plastic, glass, and kitchen and garden waste. Without the activity of these micro-entrepreneurs, much more waste would end up in dumps or in the environment, but at the same time their conditions of work are difficult and unhealthy.

Please let WASHplus know at any time if you have resources to share for future issues of WASHplus Weekly or if you have suggestions for future topics. An archive of past Weekly issues is available on the WASHplus website. 

WASHplus Weekly – The informal sector and solid waste management

Issue 50 April 6, 2012 | Focus on the Informal Sector and Solid Waste Management

The informal waste sector provides a much needed service in the developing world; the work of this sector reduces waste in communities, increases the reclamation and reuse of materials, and helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions. This issue of the WASHplus Weekly contains recent reviews on the economics of the informal sector and the diseases and injuries that waste pickers endure. Also included are case studies from Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan, the Philippines, and recent videos.

Please let WASHplus know at any time if you have resources to share for future issues of WASHplus Weekly or if you have suggestions for future topics. An archive of past Weekly issues is available on the WASHplus website. 

Pakistan’s waste gets a second life

Dec. 1, 2011 – Entrepreneur turns Pakistan’s tons of garbage into a handsome profit while saving the environment.

Clean” and “green” are words not usually associated with the streets of Lahore, but a garbage collecting business is changing the image of the Pakistani city.

And it is making millions of dollars in the process, by turning waste into liquefied petroleum products and fertiliser for farmlands.

NY Times – Foundations Try to Legitimize India’s ‘Invisible Environmentalists’

May 16, 2011 – Sarasa Satish is a waste picker. Every morning, she starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. going door to door, collecting throwaway materials from houses in the Rajendra Nagar slums of Bangalore, India.

The neighborhood is crowded, with an average of about five people packed into each of its 4,000 households. Most are poor; some don’t have running water. A typical workday ends with her sorting out the recyclable material once she’s dumped the rejects, or non-recyclable waste. A few years ago, she would most likely have done that in a cramped alleyway.

But now she segregates the remaining plastics, paper and compostable material in a small neighborhood center built by CHF International, a humanitarian aid organization once called the Cooperative Housing Foundation. It has a large presence in developing countries.

There may be as many as 1.5 million waste pickers in India. Most make the equivalent of $2 a day. In Delhi, India’s largest city, waste pickers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million tons a year, according to Chintan, a Delhi-based non-governmental agency. Globally, there are estimated to be 15 million waste pickers working in developing countries.

Although they reduce energy use and related emissions through recycling, the fruits of their labors are often ignored. That’s why some people refer to them as “invisible environmentalists.”

In Bangalore, recycling isn’t even regarded as a formal industry, even though the work is essential. Cities are rapidly expanding in India, but with city growth comes slum growth. India alone accounts for a third of the world’s poor, people making less than $2 a day.

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Scientist to Turn Human Waste Into Fertiliser

Ghana – Scientist Wins Support for Plan to Turn Human Waste Into Fertiliser

Accra — A female Ghanaian scientist is one of four researchers from developing countries who received US$100,000 each to pursue their dream ideas for solving global health problems.

Olufunke Cofie, a soil scientist at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research‘s Challenge Program on Water and Food will develop fertiliser pellets from treated human waste to boost agricultural productivity and improve sanitation.

She is one of the latest 88 winners in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s Grand Challenges in Global Health programme, funded through the Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative, which include scientists from Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya and the Philippines.

“Recycling readily available excrement has the potential to both reduce the environmental pollution burden and prolong the lifespan of [waste] treatment plants, while also significantly improving soil productivity,” Cofie told SciDev.Net.

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Kibera, Kenya – Community Turns Garbage Into Energy Source

Kibera, Kenya – Community Turns Garbage Into Energy Source

A community-based organisation in the Kenyan slum area of Kibera set out to clean up garbage and deal with waste water; Ushiriki Wa Safi ended up creating a community cooker that turns waste into an energy source.

Open sewers and piles of garbage are an all too familiar scene in many of Kenya’s poorest urban areas. Local authorities are invisible in most of these slums, and poor public hygiene and the absence of sanitation leaves residents to their own devices to maintain a level of cleanliness and keep diseases like diarrhoea at bay.

But some have seen this as an opportunity to bring about change to communities. Ushirika Wa Safi – (loosely translated, the name means “an association to maintain cleanliness” in Swahili) – a community-based organisation in Kibera, was formed to deal with the garbage problem in Laini Saba, one of the thirteen villages that form Kibera slums, often described as Africa’s largest.

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CNN – Ghana bags a handy new way to tackle plastic waste

London, England (CNN) — In Ghana’s capital, Accra, the streets are choked with trash and littered with plastic waste that blocks gutters and clogs storm drains.

Drinking water comes in sachets that cost a few cents. Cheap and convenient, they are sold in shops and by street hawkers. But once they have been drunk they are often simply dropped on the ground.

When British entrepreneur Stuart Gold saw Accra’s plastic problem he recognized an opportunity for a business venture — an NGO that could clean up the streets and create jobs in the community.

His idea was to collect discarded sachets, clean them up and stitch them together to make brightly colored, fashionable bags.

Two-and-a-half years later, Trashy Bags makes around 250 items a week and produces 350 different designs of bags, wallets and raincoats.

And crucially, its network of collectors has gathered some 15 million plastic sachets that might otherwise be on the streets of Accra.

“One of the problems in Ghana is the amount of plastic littering the streets,” Gold told CNN. “There isn’t a proper way of collecting waste and people aren’t educated as to the problems of plastic waste.

“The pure-water sachet is ubiquitous. When anyone wants water they can’t drink tap water so they buy these sachets, even for their home.

“Once they’ve drunk the water they drop it in the street. You can see people drop them from their cars,” he said.

Gold said that while waste collection is slowly improving in Accra, recycling is still in its infancy and landfills are inadequate.

Plastic dumped in the streets ends up blocking drains, which Gold said can cause seasonal flooding. Other waste makes it into the sea, with unsightly tangles of plastic bags washing up on the beaches to the east of Accra, he said.

Trashy Bags encourages people to bring them empty sachets, paying about 20 cents for each kilogram of water sachets (about 100 sachets) they deliver. It pays more for ice cream, fruit drink and yogurt sachets, which are harder to come by.

The sachets are sorted, hand washed, disinfected and dried in the sun, before being flattened by hand and stitched into sheets.

The sheets are then cut according to templates and assembled as finished bags, wallets and even rain jackets.

It’s a labor-intensive process that means Trashy Bags products are more expensive than mass-produced items, according to Gold.

Prices range from $1 for a wallet to $26 for sports bags and Gold said most of his products are bought by expats and tourists, or exported to countries including Japan, Germany and Denmark.

But he added that Trashy Bag’s reusable shopping bag, which costs about $4.30, is proving a hit with Ghanaians.

And the labor-intensive manufacture does mean jobs for locals. Trashy Bags currently employs 60 Ghanaians in its workshops and around 100 others collect sachets for the company

“For lots of people collecting sachets is their whole livelihood,” said Gold.

“One woman makes more money than any of our actual workers. She organizes other women to collect and she pays them and she brings the sachets in.”

The result, said Gold, is that instead of discarding sachets, some people are keeping them and selling them on to collectors.

He acknowledged that Trashy Bags’ efforts are only a drop in the ocean of waste, and that despite his goal of turning the NGO into a self-sustaining venture it is struggling to break even.

But he said an important part of the project is education. Whereas a number of clothing companies around the world use materials made from recycled plastic, Trashy Bags are visibly made from the original plastic packaging.

“We don’t melt it down, so it’s very obvious it’s made from recycled plastic trash. So, the Ghanaians love them, and they do appreciate the solution because it’s very graphic,” said Gold.

There are similar projects to Trashy Bags in other countries. “Bazura Bags” in the Philippines makes bags from offcuts left over by packaging companies, India’s “Thunk in India,” makes all kinds of recycled products, including pencil cases made from fruit juice cartons, and “Terracycle” in the United States makes a range of items, including backpacks made from cookie wrappers.

It’s a sign that attitudes to waste are changing around the world. And in Ghana too. The government has acknowledged there is a problem with plastic waste and has even talked about banning plastic.

While a ban may be unrealistic, the fact it has been considered is a sign the environment is a growing concern in the country.

“People in West Africa don’t take the environment particularly seriously, but more and more in Ghana they do,” said Gold.

“They are gradually seeing there are problems other than just disease, and [polluting] the environment is one of them.”

Source – CNN, June 1, 2010

China scientists find use for cigarette butts

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chemical extracts from cigarette butts — so toxic they kill fish — can be used to protect steel pipes from rusting, a study in China has found.

In a paper published in the American Chemical Society’s bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the scientists in China said they identified nine chemicals after immersing cigarette butts in water.

They applied the extracts to N80, a type of steel used in oil pipes, and found that they protected the steel from rusting.

“The metal surface can be protected and the iron atom’s further dissolution can be prevented,” they wrote.

The chemicals, including nicotine, appear to be responsible for this anti-corrosion effect, they added.

The research was led by Jun Zhao at Xi’an Jiaotong University’s School of Energy and Power Engineering and funded by China’s state oil firm China National Petroleum Corporation.

Corrosion of steel pipes used by the oil industry costs oil producers millions of dollars annually to repair or replace.

According to the paper, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year. Apart from being an eyesore, they contain toxins that can kill fish.

“Recycling could solve those problems, but finding practical uses for cigarette butts has been difficult,” the researchers wrote.

China, which has 300 million smokers, is the world’s largest smoking nation and it consumes a third of the world’s cigarettes. Nearly 60 percent of men in China smoke, puffing an average of 15 cigarettes per day.

Source – http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100513/sc_nm/us_butts