Mobile Foundries for Aluminum Can Recycling

mobile foundry for aluminum recycling

“In São Paulo, the vast majority of recycling is done by individuals called catadores. They collect discarded drink cans in their carts to recycle for money to help support themselves. London-based Studio Swine took to the streets to create a project that would help catadores get much more money for their work.

The duo behind Studio Swine made an improvised mobile foundry to smelt the aluminum from the cans. They then pressed locally-found objects into sand found at a nearby construction site to make molds. After pouring the liquid aluminum into the molds, the team had created interestingly-shaped stool seats. Each stool requires around 60 cans to produce. This may sound like a lot, but a catadore can collect thousands of cans in one workday.”

See & read more: Mobile foundry gives recyclers a creative income stream.

Metals Used in High-Tech Products Face Future Supply Risks

In a new paper, a team of Yale researchers assesses the “criticality” of all 62 metals on the Periodic Table of Elements, providing key insights into which materials might become more difficult to find in the coming decades, which ones will exact the highest environmental costs — and which ones simply cannot be replaced as components of vital technologies.

the criticality of 62 metalsMany of the metals traditionally used in manufacturing, such as zinc, copper, and aluminum, show no signs of vulnerability. But other metals critical in the production of newer technologies — like smartphones, infrared optics, and medical imaging — may be harder to obtain in coming decades, said Thomas Graedel, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Industrial Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and lead author of the paper.

“Some metals that have become deployed for technology only in the last 10 or 20 years are available almost entirely as byproducts. You can’t mine specifically for them; they often exist in small quantities and are used for specialty purposes. And they don’t have any decent substitutes.”

The researchers also analyzed how recycling rates have evolved over the years and the degree to which different industries are able to utilize “non-virgin” sources of materials. Some materials, such as lead, are highly recycled because they are typically used in bulk, Graedel said. But the relatively rare materials that have become critical in some modern electronics are far more difficult to recycle because they are used in such miniscule amounts — and can be difficult to extricate from the increasingly complex and compact new technologies.

“I think these results should send a message to product designers to spend more time thinking about what happens after their products are no longer being used,” he said. “So much of what makes the recycling of these materials difficult is their design.”

Read more: Study: Metals Used in High-Tech Products Face Future Supply Risks, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Animals as the Answer to Recycling Food waste

Mountains of food scraps end up in landfills every day. While northern countries glorify attempts to facilitate this trash-to-treasure process using state-of-the-art technologies, Bobbili, a town in Northeast India, adopts a tech-free solution – a park using animals for solid waste management.

animals recycling food waste

Livestock at waste management park in Bobbili, India

[Read more…]

Pedal Powered Electronic Waste Recycling Machine

Bicyclean recycling electronic waste“The bicyclean is a safe, affordable, and efficient alternative for
harvesting electronic waste in developing regions. The bicyclean is a modified bicycle, where a processing chamber replaces the rear wheel and an external steel frame supports the rear hub. Processing of the circuit boards occurs within the sealed chamber and the particles are removed in a covered tray. A feed tube presses circuit board pieces into a large grinding wheel and become pulverized.”

“The particles pass a magnet that extracts ferrous metal particles. The particles then flow over a small eddy current rotor, which is positioned underneath the grinding wheel and powered by a 3:1 gear ratio with the bicycle chain. The changing magnetic fields of the eddy current rotor repulse conducting metal, but have no effect on non-metals; the metal particles are projected horizontally while the nonmetals fall vertically, separating particles in the bottom collection tray. The bicyclean requires a single operator.”

Read more: Bicyclean. Via Co.EXIST.

French Towns Swap Rubbish Trucks for Horse-Drawn Carts

Horse-and-cart-recycling-005 Perpignan is one of 60 French towns that have struck upon a cheaper and greener way to collect household waste – ditching the dustbin lorry in favour of a horse and cart. Read. Thanks, Johan.

Waste to Meat Recycling

“If pigs are fed on residues and waste, and cattle on straw, stovers and grass from fallows and rangelands – food for which humans don’t compete – meat becomes a very efficient means of food production”. Read. Via Energy Bulletin.

Construction in Reverse

“Deconstructing, as opposed to demolishing, abandoned buildings will revitalize our cities by reducing waste, creating green jobs, and providing high-quality recycled materials for new construction”. Read. More.

Can Cars

Can car 3

More pictures and plans at Sandy’s Can Cars (via Ikkaro). Related: 26 paper models of vintage cars.

Stop recycling. Start repairing.

The repair manifesto

Here. (Hat tip to Sally)