Modern technology and waste management are not two terms you often hear together. That said, some of the brightest minds in science and engineering are coming up with new ways to deal with the world’s rising waste problem. Join us as we take a look at some of the most promising technologies out there…
Automated waste collection
Think about how much energy, labour, transport costs and pollution it takes to collect your bins and take the rubbish to a landfill. Now imagine if that process could be done out of sight and without all the vehicles. According to this report by Greener Ideal, that could soon become a reality.
This is how it works: You sort your rubbish into general waste, organic waste and recyclables – much like you already do now – but instead of rubbish trucks taking the waste away, it is sucked into underground vacuum tubes and sent to a central collection centre to be processed.
The idea has been trialled in a handful of locations, but many are eager to make it more mainstream. As well as cost, engineers need to figure out a way to prevent blockages and deal with larger items.
Producing fuel and fertiliser with anaerobic digestion
The need for sustainable fuel and the issue of rising waste are two major environmental challenges facing the world today – anaerobic digestion could be the solution to both of these problems.
Using microorganisms in an oxygen-deprived environment, organic waste can be broken down into biogas and fertiliser – killing two birds with one stone. It could be a real game-changer if implemented on a large scale, so says Waste Management World. Before that can happen however, we have to figure out a way to make it cost-effective, as the tanks and vessels needed aren’t exactly cheap.
Enzyme and oils
Petrol & diesel vehicles are one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gasses. However their environmental impact can be lessened by using enzymes to convert old cooking oil into biodiesel. One company already doing this is Novozymes, who have developed a system that produces biodiesel without having to use sodium methoxide – a hazardous chemical normally used in biodiesel production.
SkipBuddy is a smartphone app that makes hiring a skip modern, simple and easy. Rather than waiting around on the phone, users can order a skip, send it back or re-order a skip with just a tap. You can order a range of skips, from wait and load skip hire to hazardous waste skips, quickly and efficiently.
Too Good To Go
Another ingenious smartphone app, Too Good To Go lets you buy surplus food from shops or restaurants that otherwise would have been thrown away. The people behind the app claim that it has saved the equivalent of 2.5 million meals from going to waste.
Too Good To Go currently works with 5,000 outlets in eight European countries, with plans to expand.