Article 19/04/2022

Innovation in recycling: issue five

Avatar By Vincey Chan

At Envirobank we’re always interested in learning about new ways to recycle material in an endless loop, so it never becomes waste.

Welcome to issue five of recycling news and innovation, celebrating our nation’s progress in recycling towards a circular economy.

Join our Crunch community of recyclers subscribe to our newsletters (check your account preference) to stay up to date.

Two Source hydropanels in front of a home in the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation, near Page, Arizona. Photograph: Source
HEADLINE –

Out of thin air: can hydropanels bring water to parched communities?.

Pickup trucks hauling water are a common sight in the Navajo Nation where residents are 67 times more likely to lack running water in their homes than other Americans.

But outside more than 500 homes on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico are devices that aim to help tackle this plumbing poverty. These “hydropanels” absorb water from the air and deliver it straight to a dispenser inside the house. Each one produces around five liters (1 gallon) daily, and two panels are enough to supply a family’s drinking water, according to Source, the Arizona-based company that produces them.

Where these families used to make water runs two times a week or more, said Williams (former president of the Navajo’s LeChee Chapter), they now get their drinking water from the panels.

Source (originally called Zero Mass Water) was founded by Cody Friesen, an associate professor of materials science at Arizona State University. Friesen said he became passionate about water scarcity on trips to Indonesia and Central America, which had “10 feet of rainfall” but “nothing to drink”, he said.

Looking for a way to harness water in the air – the air holds six times as much water as the world’s rivers – he developed panels that use fans to draw in air. Once inside the device, the water vapor is converted into liquid, filtered and then mineralized. The panel’s only energy source is sunlight and it can work in a wide variety of locations, he said, including those with low humidity, high levels of pollution and areas that are entirely off grid.

Source: The Guardian

An array of Source’s hydropanels in Dubai. (Photograph: Source)
HEADLINE –

Lia Debuts World’s First Biodegradable & Flushable Pregnancy Test To Market.

Lia, the women-founded startup developing eco-friendly reproductive health and wellness products, has just launched the world’s first biodegradable and flushable pregnancy test. After years of research and development, the much-anticipated 100% plastic-free product that takes aim at the 20 million pregnancy tests thrown away annually in the U.S. alone, is now available to consumers. 

It marks the first major disruption to the pregnancy test market in over three decades, according to the firm, whose technological upgrade featuring a proprietary coating technology that combines non-woven and paper techniques is “engineered to be discreet and good for the environment, without sacrificing accuracy”. 

As well as being flushable, Lia’s water-dispersible version is also home compostable, though the packaging, instructions, test wrapper must be recycled – not flushed or composted.

Source: Green Queen

Lia eliminates plastic and electronic waste from pregnancy test kits. (Source: Lia)
HEADLINE –

Can we improve the way we recycle? Silicon Valley’s developers might have solutions.

The continuous question of what is and isn’t recyclable, alongside what is or isn’t clean enough leads to massive redundant waste. Plastic and glass items that would have otherwise been recycled end up in piles of landfill.

Developers in Silicon Valley have engineered a machine they believe is the next environmentally friendly appliance to recycle while also combatting climate change. And it’s available for home use. The Lasso Loop sorts through, cleans, and compacts recyclables into a neat block shipped directly to factories that repurpose them.

“It takes out the guesswork. You just insert an item, and if it isn’t recyclable, it will present it right back to you. If it is, it’ll take it and it will process it down into its raw form,” Dominique Leonard, marketing manager of Lasso Loop, says. For example, if you’re recycling glass, the Lasso Loop will use its complex set of scanners and artificial intelligence to sort a glass bottle by color, remove the label, wash and dry it, and then break it into shards suitable for commercial recyclers to make into new glassware.

At this stage of development, there are still some quirks. It’s a bit noisy like a coffee grinder, a bit too large, larger than a dishwasher, and costs a pretty penny, $3,500 apiece. However, as it continues to be developed and mass commercialized, these oddities should be resolved.

Source: ABC 7 News

Lasso smart robot in black in the kitchen (Photograph: The Gadget Flow)

Avatar By Vincey Chan