How Americans recycle their products and how those products are reused have evolved a great deal from just paper and cans. Introduction of new materials in consumer goods like rare earth metals in electronics and battery components have created the need for new disposal and recycling methods.
There are many materials that many people believe go straight to landfills, however; a great deal of different materials are recycled and used to produce everything from more consumer goods to fuel for energy generation.
Here are five innovative recycling practices found throughout the world that may change how you sort your garbage.
Turning Plastic Bags Into Petroleum
But wait, plastic bags are a petroleum-based product right? Yes.
The news here is that the process has become cost-effective. Researchers at the University of Illinois have created a cost-effective way of returning used plastic bags into diesel fuel as well as other petroleum-based products while eliminating contaminants like dirt and debris.
From Tires to Electrodes
Scientists have been working for years on finding alternatives to throwing used tires into landfills. One way to repurpose old tires is to convert them into rubber-based products, but a new process is reclaiming carbon emitted from melting tires down to create electrodes for batteries.
This process aims to collect the carbon, which scientists found suitable to use as electrode material in supercapacitors. By substituting the tire carbon for traditional, toxic materials to create supercapacitors are used less and we are able to get more use from recycled tires.
Cigarette Butt Supercapacitors
Scientists in Seoul, South Korea discovered that the fibers in cigarette butts can be used to store energy when processed correctly, thus finding a use for one of the world’s most-littered items. When heated, the fibers become porous, allowing for much higher rates of energy storage.
Supercapacitors are used in some cars to capture the energy released from braking and use it to bring the car back up to speed.
Recycled Bottles Used as 3d Printing Material
For avid designers who are using a professional 3d printer at home, products are available to melt down used plastic bottles to be used as printing material. However, students at UC Berkeley are taking this small-scale operation and applying it to the entire campus.
Students are trying to implement a closed-loop recycling system where all plastic materials would never need to leave campus to be utilized. The 3D Printer Filament Reclamation Project is currently trying to raise $5,000 for a grinder and other equipment to make their process more efficient. Donations can be made through their crowdfunding page.
New Metal Reclamation Process from UBC
Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada have refined a process for reclaiming metals from discarded light-emitting diode bulbs. Their new process have proven to be efficient at collecting metals copper, lead, zinc, silver, lutetium, cerium and europium, gallium and indium.
The recovery rates from their process outperform ore refining in terms of percentage of material collected.
Have anything to Share?
We are always looking for new, innovative ways to put recycled scrap tires and other materials to work again. Rubberform is always looking to expand our line of quality recycled rubber products.
Custom order? Give us a call at (716) 478-0404 and we’ll work together to develop your recycled materials for your worksite or business.