Posts Tagged ‘pollution’

Clean Dishes…No Soap

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Normally plastics are not a part of the green equation.  They cause massive amounts of pollution to manufacture, and if not disposed of properly, can cause vast areas of our oceans to be covered in trash.  However, Dr. Jeffrey P. Youngblood of Purdue University has been working on new transparent plastic coatings that may eliminate the need for detergents and soaps.  The hope is that one could just leave dishes in water and they would clean themselves.  If commercialized, this could have a huge impact on the amount of phosphates entering our marine ecosystems. read more »

Project Kaisei

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

plasticvortexAll along we have all heard rumors about vast areas of floating garbage in our oceans, particularly with problematic plastics in the area officially known as the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone. But, until you see the images of sea turtles tangled in plastic shopping bags and dolphins dodging discarded plastic toys and containers in the North Pacific Gyre, it is hard to grasp just how vast and complicated this issue has become. read more »

Leftovers to Electricity

Monday, August 17th, 2009

virgin-island1With 2 million tourists visiting the Virgin Island every year, it is not surprising that the small island of about 100,000 has a problem with tourist waste.  In fact, they have so much of it that the EPA has fined the territory for the excessive solid waste and is now running out of places to put it 146,000 tons of garbage.

Alpine Energy Group to the rescue.  They plan on building 2 waste-to-energy plants that would essentially burn all the excess municipal solid waste in order to create steam that will create electricity.

The process starts by making the waste into a homogeneous material called “fluff”.  Then the remaining metal scraps are taken out and the fluff is compressed into pellets that are then burned.  The steam produced will then power turbines which will in turn produce electricity.  This seems like a great solution to an overwhelming problem…right?

I hate to be the one that simply points out faults in a plan instead of coming up with something better, but aren’t we just replacing one kind of pollution (trash) into another kind of pollution (air)?  The vast majority of municipal solid waste is either biodegradable or recyclable.  Is this a case of out of sight out of mind?  Is it not possible that the organic matter could be composted and sold and the paper and plastic could be recycled?

Overall, I am glad that they are less dependent on fossil fuels, but this cannot be the best solution to ultimate problem of pollution.  What are your thoughts?

via cleantechnica

image via

Statue Absorbs Pollution

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Two 30 foot statues looking like the international symbol for water have been erected on Minnesota’s I-35W bridge. Not only is it appropriate considering it’s on the Mississippi River, it’s made of a photocatalytic concrete…meaning it can use ultraviolet light and make the exhaust out of your car less damaging to the environment. Gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and sulfur dioxides will be put into a higher oxidized state causing less damage. It basically works like an outdoor catalytic converter. Aesthetically, it will never look old and will always keep that white finish.

via autoblog

Bacteria to Help Detect Pollution

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Scientists have come up with a way to produce color coded bacteria that could help to locate oil spills and other hazardous types of pollution. They have successfully tested a “blue” bacteria at sea to detect oil spills. They are cheaper to produce than their chemical counterparts, more environmentally friendly, and not harmful to humans.

“Because bacteria have simple single-celled bodies, it is relatively easy to equip them with a sensor and a brightly coloured reporter protein which shows up under a microscope, alerting us to different substances leaking into the soil or seawater,” said Professor Jan Van der Meer, from the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland.

“Our own tests, and checks by other laboratories, have shown that pollution testing using bacteria is a remarkably robust technique and produces reliable results,” he added.

“The heart of our colour sensor system is the bacteria themselves. They reproduce themselves in a growth medium, which makes the whole set-up really cheap.”

In the future it is speculated that the bacteria could reside in buoys that would continuously monitor the waters around them to detect pollution.