Waste disposal: using garbage as a valuable resource

The average person generates 1,9 kg of waste per day, which multiplied by the world population is 13,6 billion kg per day. What could be done to process solid waste and use garbage as a valuable resource? In order to answer this question, we used Mergeflow to find out more about innovative waste management solutions.

Fishing nets into 3D-printer fibers

A UK startup called Fishy Filaments turns discarded fishing nets into 3D-printer filaments. This company is a demonstration of how local thinking, combined with the latest emerging technology, can produce innovative results. The company showed that its recycled fishing nets could be used by many commercially available 3D printers.

The potential, especially in the fisheries sector, is more for a regional or franchise-like model. For this reason, at the beginning of 2017 they launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $6,178 and take the project to the next level. Even though this is just a very modest amount, the money raised will go toward a commercial feasibility study, requiring a new extruder for melting the netting strands together, along with a reel for collecting them.

Discarded electronics into cash

Tech products often contain lead and mercury, which are toxic to the environment. Burning such electronics can cause serious health issues. Renew Logic, a logistics company based in Austin, has taken a greener approach with the discarded tech equipment. They argue that what many people consider electronic junk, he considers as a chance to develop a business model and save the environment.

The company received an R2 certification, which is the highest certification for keeping the environment safe. They manage the equipment from the moment it arrives at their facility, all the way downstream. By doing so, they are aware of where the material has gone. Anyone can find out if their smartphone or computer is being disposed of correctly, simply by checking in the R2 Certification website. Here is a direct link to their site, where the R2 certified recyclers in the Austin area can be checked.

Nappies into oil and gas fuels

From New Zealand, a nappy disposal service called EnviroComp has partnered with Eneform, a tech company that has developed a technology which turns used tyres, industrial plastic, and nappies into oil and gas fuels. EnviroComp has facilities in Upper Hutt, Christchurch, Wellington, and in the UK.

In 2018 they will start putting the waste streams into different heated tubes, which are under vacuum. The waste will then break down into char, oil and a gas similar to liquified petroleum gas. This process is known as pyrolysis. The oil can be used as boiler fuel but can also be refined into diesel.