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Combing plastic waste out of polluted oceans: will Boyan Slat face competition?
A problem that has been discussed frequently and intensively: the amount of plastic that winds up in the earth’s oceans. At this point in time, it adds up to more than 13 million tons that ends up in the water each year - which makes up 70% of all marine litter items.   An incredible and unbelievable number, that has spurred governments to take action. Recently, the EU passed legislation that is to drastically cut down the use of single-use products by banning those products from the market for which an alternative is readily available and affordable.   As explained by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans: “ Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food. Today's proposals will reduce single use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures. We will ban some of these items, and substitute them with cleaner alternatives so people can still use their favourite products .” Getting rid of the plastic waste Although this is a great effort at reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our seas, it does not change any of the waste that is already floating around - nor will it completely solve the issue. Thankfully, more and more initiatives are arising that seek to combat the problem. One of these originates from the young German architect Marcella Hansch, who came up with a closed-loop platform that would best be described as a comb. Hansch came up with this idea while diving in Cape Verde, where she saw more plastic than fish. She learned from closer research that if the current plastic trend continues, there would be more plastic in the ocean by 2050 than fish. Determined to prevent this from happening, she created a filter system and fine-tuned it during her years in university, taking on extra engineering courses and studying ocean currents and different types of algae. A closed-loop platform that does not produce waste Eventually, her design took on the shape of a closed-loop system that does not generate any kind of waste. The combination of a bulbous shape and a extensive system of underwater channels are supposed to calm the ocean currents, which allows the plastic - which is lighter than water - to float to the surface from the depths of up to 30 meters that it could have been dragged under to, after which it can be skimmed off by the platform. This does not require any kind of filters or nets. After picking up the waste , her ultimate goal was to recycle it - which proved to be quite a laborious task, as the plastic’s molecular structure has been destroyed by the influence of the salt water, making it nearly impossible to recycle. This is why she came up with the original plan of running the waste through a plasma gasification process, that would convert the plastic to hydrogen and carbon dioxide - with the hydrogen serving as a energy source for the fuel cells powering the platform. Simultaneously, the carbon dioxide could serve as a nutrient for the algae cultures growing on the platform. Unfortunately, this approach did not make its way into the final product - as it would not have worked, according to Hansch. Yet she and her team are fully dedicated to finding a workable solution. Meanwhile, they are looking to roll out the project to get it operational soon, through the NGO Pacific Garbage Screening, that runs on volunteers (mostly engineering students) and donations, alongside support from the university of Aachen.   Testing the ‘Waste Comb’ and prototyping The system is extensively tried and tested on its validity, efficiency and feasibility, leading up to the quick development of a prototype - that will be taken out in the field to experience the real, harsh conditions of ocean life in a ‘safer’ setting, to find out whether it can hold up. For this, the team is actively raising funds and investors to help it get started. Why it would be interesting to check out this initiative? Well, for starters, because it is a scientifically and logically sound idea to rid the oceans of the plastics that are currently weighing it down. And yes, there are a large number of alternatives out there - the Ocean Cleanup initiative, and the Great Bubble Barrier, just to mention a few - but as Pacific Garbage Sceening’s Hansch strikingly put it, “ there's enough plastic in the ocean for everyone .” https://www.whatsorb.com/news/update-the-ocean-cleanup-boyan-slat
A problem that has been discussed frequently and intensively: the amount of plastic that winds up in the earth’s oceans. At this point in time, it adds up to more than 13 million tons that ends up in the water each year - which makes up 70% of all marine litter items.   An incredible and unbelievable number, that has spurred governments to take action. Recently, the EU passed legislation that is to drastically cut down the use of single-use products by banning those products from the market for which an alternative is readily available and affordable.   As explained by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans: “ Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food. Today's proposals will reduce single use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures. We will ban some of these items, and substitute them with cleaner alternatives so people can still use their favourite products .” Getting rid of the plastic waste Although this is a great effort at reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our seas, it does not change any of the waste that is already floating around - nor will it completely solve the issue. Thankfully, more and more initiatives are arising that seek to combat the problem. One of these originates from the young German architect Marcella Hansch, who came up with a closed-loop platform that would best be described as a comb. Hansch came up with this idea while diving in Cape Verde, where she saw more plastic than fish. She learned from closer research that if the current plastic trend continues, there would be more plastic in the ocean by 2050 than fish. Determined to prevent this from happening, she created a filter system and fine-tuned it during her years in university, taking on extra engineering courses and studying ocean currents and different types of algae. A closed-loop platform that does not produce waste Eventually, her design took on the shape of a closed-loop system that does not generate any kind of waste. The combination of a bulbous shape and a extensive system of underwater channels are supposed to calm the ocean currents, which allows the plastic - which is lighter than water - to float to the surface from the depths of up to 30 meters that it could have been dragged under to, after which it can be skimmed off by the platform. This does not require any kind of filters or nets. After picking up the waste , her ultimate goal was to recycle it - which proved to be quite a laborious task, as the plastic’s molecular structure has been destroyed by the influence of the salt water, making it nearly impossible to recycle. This is why she came up with the original plan of running the waste through a plasma gasification process, that would convert the plastic to hydrogen and carbon dioxide - with the hydrogen serving as a energy source for the fuel cells powering the platform. Simultaneously, the carbon dioxide could serve as a nutrient for the algae cultures growing on the platform. Unfortunately, this approach did not make its way into the final product - as it would not have worked, according to Hansch. Yet she and her team are fully dedicated to finding a workable solution. Meanwhile, they are looking to roll out the project to get it operational soon, through the NGO Pacific Garbage Screening, that runs on volunteers (mostly engineering students) and donations, alongside support from the university of Aachen.   Testing the ‘Waste Comb’ and prototyping The system is extensively tried and tested on its validity, efficiency and feasibility, leading up to the quick development of a prototype - that will be taken out in the field to experience the real, harsh conditions of ocean life in a ‘safer’ setting, to find out whether it can hold up. For this, the team is actively raising funds and investors to help it get started. Why it would be interesting to check out this initiative? Well, for starters, because it is a scientifically and logically sound idea to rid the oceans of the plastics that are currently weighing it down. And yes, there are a large number of alternatives out there - the Ocean Cleanup initiative, and the Great Bubble Barrier, just to mention a few - but as Pacific Garbage Sceening’s Hansch strikingly put it, “ there's enough plastic in the ocean for everyone .” https://www.whatsorb.com/news/update-the-ocean-cleanup-boyan-slat
Combing plastic waste out of polluted oceans: will Boyan Slat face competition?
Combing plastic waste out of polluted oceans: will Boyan Slat face competition?
FIGHTING AGAINST THE PLASTIC SOUP
The concept of the ‘ plastic soup ’, also known as the Great Pacific garbage patch or trash vortex, has become a rather infamous one over the last few years. As the word suggests, it is best imagined as a literal bowl of soup, filled with plastic and debris instead of vermicelli. The currents of the ocean are pushing a large field of trash around, concentrating it in an area of the ocean somewhere between Hawaii and California.   Back in 1988, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States already hypothesised its existence, after which the sailer Charles J. Moore became the first to accidentally witness it in 1997 - when he ended up in a stretch of floating debris on his way home from a yacht race. According to the best current estimates, the area would roughly be the size of Spain and France combined. A great danger to animal life and the ecosystem as a whole. FIGHT THE SOUP While pretty much everyone agrees that this is a problem that has to be combatted, the science and mechanics of how to go about doing so are far from definitive. This had made it a hot issue for young, innovative companies who want to do their part in making the world a better place. One of those companies is the Amsterdam-based start-up The Great Bubble Barrier .   Only a number of weeks ago, The Great Bubble Barrier won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018 - one of the largest annual international competitions that focuses on sustainable innovation. Founder Anne Marieke Eveleens took home a cheque worth half a million euros to further develop their “Bubble Barrier”, an innovation that uses an air bubble screen to prevent plastic and debris in rivers from reaching the ocean. USING THE BUBBLE BARRIER Approximately 80% of the plastic that floats around our earth’s oceans has gotten there through the rivers. As such, cutting off this passageway could drastically decrease the amount of new plastic entering the seas. This is why the working of this Bubble Barrier is pretty nifty. It employs a perforated tube that is placed on the riverbed, through which high-pressure air is sent. This does, in turn, create a curtain of air bubbles.   This curtain blocks both plastic waste on the surface - such as floating plastic bottles and packaging - as well as microparticles that are floating underwater. Besides blocking any garbage, it also guides it alongside the bubble curtain to the waterfront. The idea is that, through dedicated and swift collection procedures, it can be collected and subsequently recycled. SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE This solution is another example of great minds finding relatively simple solutions for complicated environmental problems, such as the plastic soup. Whereas most scientists tend to focus directly on the problem at hand - reducing the floating landfill that is already the size of a good part of Europe -, the solution of The Great Bubble Barrier focusses on ensuring that this will, in fact, not grow even larger, to an area that might encompass the whole of Europe.   Simultaneously, it prevents a situation that would most closely resemble a game of whack-a-mole; where a single clean-up effort might somewhat decrease the affected area, only to find that a fresh new supply of plastic and hubris has already joined the floating junkyard in the meantime. LOW IMPACT ON  ENVIRONMENT The solution itself has a relatively low impact on the environment, as it is merely a tube and high-pressure air that does the trick of blocking the debris. Furthermore, founder Anne Marieke Eveleens has already pledged to use some of her prize money to look into sustainable methods of trash collection.   Additionally, while using bubbles is great for blocking plastic, it is absolutely harmless - and perhaps even a natural occurrence - for sea animals and ships alike.   THE ROAD AHEAD Now that they have won the competition and pocketed the significant investment, the team is eager to get started. As one of their primary goals, they listed the introduction of a Bubble Barrier in a city in their native The Netherlands. Each of the major cities in this country boasts some kind of festival or festivity, during which a lot of garbage ends up in the channels - for example during King’s Day or during the Amsterdam GayPride. For 2019, The Great Bubble Barrier is looking to have a Bubble Barrier installed in at least one of these major cities, to lessen the pollution that is an unfortunate side-effect of these otherwise fun events. After that, the team is looking to expand its activities into Asia - after all, 8 of the 10 most polluting rivers in the world are in this continent. Just imagine the impact that a large number of strategically placed Bubble Barriers would have on the overall plastic soup.   So, excuse the pun: the promising bubble screen of this start-up will prove to be anything but a smokescreen.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste
The concept of the ‘ plastic soup ’, also known as the Great Pacific garbage patch or trash vortex, has become a rather infamous one over the last few years. As the word suggests, it is best imagined as a literal bowl of soup, filled with plastic and debris instead of vermicelli. The currents of the ocean are pushing a large field of trash around, concentrating it in an area of the ocean somewhere between Hawaii and California.   Back in 1988, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States already hypothesised its existence, after which the sailer Charles J. Moore became the first to accidentally witness it in 1997 - when he ended up in a stretch of floating debris on his way home from a yacht race. According to the best current estimates, the area would roughly be the size of Spain and France combined. A great danger to animal life and the ecosystem as a whole. FIGHT THE SOUP While pretty much everyone agrees that this is a problem that has to be combatted, the science and mechanics of how to go about doing so are far from definitive. This had made it a hot issue for young, innovative companies who want to do their part in making the world a better place. One of those companies is the Amsterdam-based start-up The Great Bubble Barrier .   Only a number of weeks ago, The Great Bubble Barrier won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018 - one of the largest annual international competitions that focuses on sustainable innovation. Founder Anne Marieke Eveleens took home a cheque worth half a million euros to further develop their “Bubble Barrier”, an innovation that uses an air bubble screen to prevent plastic and debris in rivers from reaching the ocean. USING THE BUBBLE BARRIER Approximately 80% of the plastic that floats around our earth’s oceans has gotten there through the rivers. As such, cutting off this passageway could drastically decrease the amount of new plastic entering the seas. This is why the working of this Bubble Barrier is pretty nifty. It employs a perforated tube that is placed on the riverbed, through which high-pressure air is sent. This does, in turn, create a curtain of air bubbles.   This curtain blocks both plastic waste on the surface - such as floating plastic bottles and packaging - as well as microparticles that are floating underwater. Besides blocking any garbage, it also guides it alongside the bubble curtain to the waterfront. The idea is that, through dedicated and swift collection procedures, it can be collected and subsequently recycled. SIMPLE YET EFFECTIVE This solution is another example of great minds finding relatively simple solutions for complicated environmental problems, such as the plastic soup. Whereas most scientists tend to focus directly on the problem at hand - reducing the floating landfill that is already the size of a good part of Europe -, the solution of The Great Bubble Barrier focusses on ensuring that this will, in fact, not grow even larger, to an area that might encompass the whole of Europe.   Simultaneously, it prevents a situation that would most closely resemble a game of whack-a-mole; where a single clean-up effort might somewhat decrease the affected area, only to find that a fresh new supply of plastic and hubris has already joined the floating junkyard in the meantime. LOW IMPACT ON  ENVIRONMENT The solution itself has a relatively low impact on the environment, as it is merely a tube and high-pressure air that does the trick of blocking the debris. Furthermore, founder Anne Marieke Eveleens has already pledged to use some of her prize money to look into sustainable methods of trash collection.   Additionally, while using bubbles is great for blocking plastic, it is absolutely harmless - and perhaps even a natural occurrence - for sea animals and ships alike.   THE ROAD AHEAD Now that they have won the competition and pocketed the significant investment, the team is eager to get started. As one of their primary goals, they listed the introduction of a Bubble Barrier in a city in their native The Netherlands. Each of the major cities in this country boasts some kind of festival or festivity, during which a lot of garbage ends up in the channels - for example during King’s Day or during the Amsterdam GayPride. For 2019, The Great Bubble Barrier is looking to have a Bubble Barrier installed in at least one of these major cities, to lessen the pollution that is an unfortunate side-effect of these otherwise fun events. After that, the team is looking to expand its activities into Asia - after all, 8 of the 10 most polluting rivers in the world are in this continent. Just imagine the impact that a large number of strategically placed Bubble Barriers would have on the overall plastic soup.   So, excuse the pun: the promising bubble screen of this start-up will prove to be anything but a smokescreen.   https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste
FIGHTING AGAINST THE PLASTIC SOUP
FIGHTING AGAINST THE PLASTIC SOUP
Municipal Solid Waste Management – How You Can Make a Difference
Every first Monday of October we celebrate World Habitat Day. First introduced in 1986, this United Nations event aims to “reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter”. Municipal Solid Waste Management is the main theme of this year’s celebration, and, as usual, I would like to use this opportunity to bring more awareness of the sustainability issues that are related to it and try to take a look at some of the solutions. So what is Municipal Solid Waste and how is it managed? Municipal Solid Waste consists of various types of refuse we encounter most often in our daily lives: household waste, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue and waste from streets. There are two mains methods of managing solid waste – the centralised method, where all of the waste is collected and discarded without separation, usually into a landfill, and de-centralised method, where the waste requires prior separation into biodegradeable and non-biodegradable and is then disposed of based on its type. Once the waste is collected, there are several ways the municipality can dispose of it. In many parts of the world the most popular options are sanitary landfills and dumps. They are essentially the same – a place where all of the waste is collected in one area – with the only difference being that sanitary landfills are more concentrated and the waste’s contact with the environment is highly reduced. Dumps, on the other hand, are open areas that are exposed to the elements and animals and are often responsible for contamination of land and water. Another danger of dumps is the biodiversity impacts that they have: many species of animals that lived in the area get replaced by refuse-feeding species, such as rats and crows. These species will also spread disease and thus affect health of the residents in the area. Lastly, landfills harm the natural landscape and the smell makes them an unwanted sight in most residential areas. Another disposal method that is gaining popularity is thermal treatment. There are several types of thermal treatment, such as incineration, gasification, pyrolysis and others. This method allows to save space and is thus particularly beneficial in countries where land is scarce such as Japan. Incineration plants can also be constructed in a way that allows to harvest the energy released during the burning process and use that to generate electric power and heating. Many European countries rely heavily on this method, with Sweden actually importing trash from other countries to generate more energy. While this thermal treatment is a more sustainable alternative to landfills, there are concerns about its safety as harmful chemicals may get released into the air during the process. Many developed nations are moving towards the more sustainable thermal treatment and recycling , however according to World Bank over 90% of the waste in low-income countries is disposed of in unregulated dumps or openly burned. Effective waste management is expensive and requires specialised infrastructure, something many poor urban communities simply cannot afford. Lack of municipal resources pushes up demand for informal waste pickers and disposers - occupations that are highly dangerous and are often filled by women and children; air pollution, injuries and landfill collapses are only the few of the risks that they face on a daily basis.  And it’s not only the workers that are dealing with the waste directly that are affected by it. When waste is left untreated and unattended, it will inevitably start leaching toxic materials and pathogens into the soil and water. Many communities are left with no choice but to use the contaminated soil for farming and continue drinking the water, thereby consuming harmful chemicals. Communities that are located directly next to waste dumping sites often experience high occurrences of cancer, birth defects and various health issues. As treatment of contaminated soil and water requires use of advanced and expensive technology, it is nearly impossible to reverse the damage that was already done. Luckily, more organisations around the world are taking notice of the problem and are actively trying to help develop more affordable waste treatment methods and provide financing for waste management projects in poorer countries. While this will not help clean the areas that were already affected by waste, it will create safer disposals that will prevent further damage to the eco system. Reduce, reuse, recycle The reality is that we produce more and more trash every year and it is essential to improve the way solid waste is managed. This can be done on many levels – we should be changing the way we consume and produce various items, improving municipal governance systems, educating more capable city managers and changing our own daily habits. Naturally the best place to start making changes is ourselves, so let’s look at the ways we can contribute to better solid waste management. According to World Bank, in 2016 people living in cities produced 0.74 kilograms (1.63 lb) of waste per person per day. The first step one can take to help improve solid waste management is to produce less waste. Take a good look at what you buy and consume every week. Perhaps it is time to get yourself a nice shopper for your groceries or a stylish tumbler for your morning coffee (some coffee chains will offer you a discount for using your own tumbler!)? It is also worth researching what kind of packaging you might be able to return to the store – depending on where you live, you might be able to return glass or plastic bottles to the supermarkets and some farmers’ markets will be happy to accept empty egg cartons. Step two on the road to becoming more sustainable is reusing. This is probably something that you have heard a lot about recently when it comes to furniture and clothes – upcycling has definitely become a bit of a buzzword with many bloggers. The idea of taking objects that can no longer be used or repaired and using the parts to create something else is as old as time and it can take many forms. As an example, you could turn an old tablecloth that has stains in all the wrong places into a set of napkins, transform a picture frame into a vertical planter or use wooden pallets to make just about any piece of furniture you could think of. There are many very creative ideas to be found online and it is definitely worth taking some time to browse Pinterest or websites like www.upcyclethat.com before throwing something out. Who knows, perhaps you could turn old IKEA table into an amazing piece of art or discover a way to build a house out of pallets to keep all of your newly made pallet furniture in? Lastly, there is recycling. Normally recycling is presented as the most responsible way of managing waste, but it really should be the last step of the journey for an item. When something has already been bought and can no longer be used or transformed into something else – this is when it is time to recycle it. Recycling allows the items to be converted back into raw materials and objects, something that isn’t always possible to achieve at home. Every area will have different rules for separating recyclable materials, so please make sure to follow those as closely as possible – this is the only way you can be certain that they will get a second life. If you’re interested in this topic, click here to read more about one of the Seven Natural Wonders that is being overtaken by trash. And fashion is more your thing, click here to read why circular fashion is the trendiest choice you could make. Do you know of any waste management initiatives in your area? Or do you have interesting upcycling ideas? Share them in the comments!   https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/waste/recycling
Every first Monday of October we celebrate World Habitat Day. First introduced in 1986, this United Nations event aims to “reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter”. Municipal Solid Waste Management is the main theme of this year’s celebration, and, as usual, I would like to use this opportunity to bring more awareness of the sustainability issues that are related to it and try to take a look at some of the solutions. So what is Municipal Solid Waste and how is it managed? Municipal Solid Waste consists of various types of refuse we encounter most often in our daily lives: household waste, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue and waste from streets. There are two mains methods of managing solid waste – the centralised method, where all of the waste is collected and discarded without separation, usually into a landfill, and de-centralised method, where the waste requires prior separation into biodegradeable and non-biodegradable and is then disposed of based on its type. Once the waste is collected, there are several ways the municipality can dispose of it. In many parts of the world the most popular options are sanitary landfills and dumps. They are essentially the same – a place where all of the waste is collected in one area – with the only difference being that sanitary landfills are more concentrated and the waste’s contact with the environment is highly reduced. Dumps, on the other hand, are open areas that are exposed to the elements and animals and are often responsible for contamination of land and water. Another danger of dumps is the biodiversity impacts that they have: many species of animals that lived in the area get replaced by refuse-feeding species, such as rats and crows. These species will also spread disease and thus affect health of the residents in the area. Lastly, landfills harm the natural landscape and the smell makes them an unwanted sight in most residential areas. Another disposal method that is gaining popularity is thermal treatment. There are several types of thermal treatment, such as incineration, gasification, pyrolysis and others. This method allows to save space and is thus particularly beneficial in countries where land is scarce such as Japan. Incineration plants can also be constructed in a way that allows to harvest the energy released during the burning process and use that to generate electric power and heating. Many European countries rely heavily on this method, with Sweden actually importing trash from other countries to generate more energy. While this thermal treatment is a more sustainable alternative to landfills, there are concerns about its safety as harmful chemicals may get released into the air during the process. Many developed nations are moving towards the more sustainable thermal treatment and recycling , however according to World Bank over 90% of the waste in low-income countries is disposed of in unregulated dumps or openly burned. Effective waste management is expensive and requires specialised infrastructure, something many poor urban communities simply cannot afford. Lack of municipal resources pushes up demand for informal waste pickers and disposers - occupations that are highly dangerous and are often filled by women and children; air pollution, injuries and landfill collapses are only the few of the risks that they face on a daily basis.  And it’s not only the workers that are dealing with the waste directly that are affected by it. When waste is left untreated and unattended, it will inevitably start leaching toxic materials and pathogens into the soil and water. Many communities are left with no choice but to use the contaminated soil for farming and continue drinking the water, thereby consuming harmful chemicals. Communities that are located directly next to waste dumping sites often experience high occurrences of cancer, birth defects and various health issues. As treatment of contaminated soil and water requires use of advanced and expensive technology, it is nearly impossible to reverse the damage that was already done. Luckily, more organisations around the world are taking notice of the problem and are actively trying to help develop more affordable waste treatment methods and provide financing for waste management projects in poorer countries. While this will not help clean the areas that were already affected by waste, it will create safer disposals that will prevent further damage to the eco system. Reduce, reuse, recycle The reality is that we produce more and more trash every year and it is essential to improve the way solid waste is managed. This can be done on many levels – we should be changing the way we consume and produce various items, improving municipal governance systems, educating more capable city managers and changing our own daily habits. Naturally the best place to start making changes is ourselves, so let’s look at the ways we can contribute to better solid waste management. According to World Bank, in 2016 people living in cities produced 0.74 kilograms (1.63 lb) of waste per person per day. The first step one can take to help improve solid waste management is to produce less waste. Take a good look at what you buy and consume every week. Perhaps it is time to get yourself a nice shopper for your groceries or a stylish tumbler for your morning coffee (some coffee chains will offer you a discount for using your own tumbler!)? It is also worth researching what kind of packaging you might be able to return to the store – depending on where you live, you might be able to return glass or plastic bottles to the supermarkets and some farmers’ markets will be happy to accept empty egg cartons. Step two on the road to becoming more sustainable is reusing. This is probably something that you have heard a lot about recently when it comes to furniture and clothes – upcycling has definitely become a bit of a buzzword with many bloggers. The idea of taking objects that can no longer be used or repaired and using the parts to create something else is as old as time and it can take many forms. As an example, you could turn an old tablecloth that has stains in all the wrong places into a set of napkins, transform a picture frame into a vertical planter or use wooden pallets to make just about any piece of furniture you could think of. There are many very creative ideas to be found online and it is definitely worth taking some time to browse Pinterest or websites like www.upcyclethat.com before throwing something out. Who knows, perhaps you could turn old IKEA table into an amazing piece of art or discover a way to build a house out of pallets to keep all of your newly made pallet furniture in? Lastly, there is recycling. Normally recycling is presented as the most responsible way of managing waste, but it really should be the last step of the journey for an item. When something has already been bought and can no longer be used or transformed into something else – this is when it is time to recycle it. Recycling allows the items to be converted back into raw materials and objects, something that isn’t always possible to achieve at home. Every area will have different rules for separating recyclable materials, so please make sure to follow those as closely as possible – this is the only way you can be certain that they will get a second life. If you’re interested in this topic, click here to read more about one of the Seven Natural Wonders that is being overtaken by trash. And fashion is more your thing, click here to read why circular fashion is the trendiest choice you could make. Do you know of any waste management initiatives in your area? Or do you have interesting upcycling ideas? Share them in the comments!   https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/waste/recycling
Municipal Solid Waste Management – How You Can Make a Difference
Municipal Solid Waste Management – How You Can Make a Difference
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Mount Everest – the highest mountain above sea level, a lifelong goal for many climbers and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But it turns out these days it isn’t quite as magnificent up close and humans are the ones to blame. In 1953, a famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the 8,848-metre peak. Since then, thousands of people have attempted the journey and it has led to a real tragedy – the once pure nature is now littered with trash and excrement that were left behind. Garbage policies and fines The situation is so dire that Tibet and Nepal have introduced special policies and fines to encourage the climbers to not only clean up their own trash, but also help collect what adventurers before them left behind. Both require each of the climbers to collect at least 8kgs(17,4 lbs) of trash and human waste, with Tibet fining those who fell short $100 for each kilogram not collected and Nepal retaining a $4,000 per team deposit that was paid before the climb. While these penalties seem substantial, they are not substantial enough – many clumbers pay up to $100,000 for their journey and these fines just don’t make a significant dent in the budget. Another important aspect is that Mount Everest is one of the most challenging treks in the world where many have perished. This can make some climbers face a choice between spending their energy on getting down safely or bringing back their own trash and it is hard to argue for the latter. While we’d think that things like discarded food packaging and gear would be the main problem, it is actually the faeces that are making the biggest stink. The excrements that were left behind in unlined ice pits get washed down by the melting snow and then start running down the slope. This not only creates foul-smelling piles of human waste, but also poses a health risk to those dependent on water from rivers that are fed by the glaciers. Unfortunately, even the human waste collected responsibly ends up in dumpsites that are only marginally safer. Long-term solutions are in sight Luckily, the problem of the “highest trash dump in the world” is not being taken lightly and while Eco Everest expeditions and teams of locals venture out to clean up the mountain, experts around the world are looking for better long-term solutions. Mount Everest Biogas Project is hoping to create a biogas plant that will convert human waste into renewable fuel. This will help clean up the dumpsites, minimize health risks for locals and provide them with a new, clean fuel for cooking and heating to reduce dependence on wood and thus curtail deforestation. This will certainly help make this area much more sustainable and preserve the beauty of one of the most breath-taking sights in the world (and will make it smell a lot nicer too!). Have you heard of any other initiatives that are focused on cleaning up Mt. Everest? Or are there perhaps other mountains that are in dire need of attention? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Cover photo by: Mari Partyka
Mount Everest – the highest mountain above sea level, a lifelong goal for many climbers and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But it turns out these days it isn’t quite as magnificent up close and humans are the ones to blame. In 1953, a famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the 8,848-metre peak. Since then, thousands of people have attempted the journey and it has led to a real tragedy – the once pure nature is now littered with trash and excrement that were left behind. Garbage policies and fines The situation is so dire that Tibet and Nepal have introduced special policies and fines to encourage the climbers to not only clean up their own trash, but also help collect what adventurers before them left behind. Both require each of the climbers to collect at least 8kgs(17,4 lbs) of trash and human waste, with Tibet fining those who fell short $100 for each kilogram not collected and Nepal retaining a $4,000 per team deposit that was paid before the climb. While these penalties seem substantial, they are not substantial enough – many clumbers pay up to $100,000 for their journey and these fines just don’t make a significant dent in the budget. Another important aspect is that Mount Everest is one of the most challenging treks in the world where many have perished. This can make some climbers face a choice between spending their energy on getting down safely or bringing back their own trash and it is hard to argue for the latter. While we’d think that things like discarded food packaging and gear would be the main problem, it is actually the faeces that are making the biggest stink. The excrements that were left behind in unlined ice pits get washed down by the melting snow and then start running down the slope. This not only creates foul-smelling piles of human waste, but also poses a health risk to those dependent on water from rivers that are fed by the glaciers. Unfortunately, even the human waste collected responsibly ends up in dumpsites that are only marginally safer. Long-term solutions are in sight Luckily, the problem of the “highest trash dump in the world” is not being taken lightly and while Eco Everest expeditions and teams of locals venture out to clean up the mountain, experts around the world are looking for better long-term solutions. Mount Everest Biogas Project is hoping to create a biogas plant that will convert human waste into renewable fuel. This will help clean up the dumpsites, minimize health risks for locals and provide them with a new, clean fuel for cooking and heating to reduce dependence on wood and thus curtail deforestation. This will certainly help make this area much more sustainable and preserve the beauty of one of the most breath-taking sights in the world (and will make it smell a lot nicer too!). Have you heard of any other initiatives that are focused on cleaning up Mt. Everest? Or are there perhaps other mountains that are in dire need of attention? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Cover photo by: Mari Partyka
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Waste

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