Each day, New York’s public garbage trucks collect nearly 7,000 tonnes of residential mixed solid waste. After finishing their routes, most of these trucks will deposit the garbage in one of New York’s waste transfer stations located throughout the city. From there, the garbage will eventually be loaded on to a barge or train and carried as far as 600 miles to its final stop. For most of New York’s mixed solid waste (about 80% of it by tonnage), this last stop will be a landfill. — the Guardian
Malaysia has too much sewage sludge and not enough concrete, a problem which naturally prompted an "aha!" moment among researchers. By burning and drying wet sewage sludge cake and then grinding and sieving the dry cake to produce Domestic Waste Sludge Powder (DWSP), the Malaysian researchers are...
A handful of scientists and policy makers are...grappling with the long-term environmental effect of an economy that runs increasingly on gotta-have-it-now gratification [...]
The environmental cost can include the additional cardboard — 35.4 million tons of containerboard were produced in 2014 in the United States, with e-commerce companies among the fastest-growing users — and the emissions from increasingly personalized freight services. — NY Times
The appetite of western consumers for home furnishings has reached its peak – according to Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer.
The Swedish company’s head of sustainability told a Guardian conference that consumption of many familiar goods was at its limit.
“If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings,” Steve Howard said [...] — the Guardian
The Digital Junkyard is an experiment in virtual salvage. It is a repository of donated digital information that is used to generate real physical and spatial objects...This project is an embodiment of the growing collective intelligence that technology affords us; and an experiment in ideas about digital ecology. It also honours the time and energy that designers put into testing and making mistakes. — digital junkyard
Since the capping and closure of Fresh Kills’ five mounds, this 2,200-acre expanse of wetlands, marshlands, dry lowlands, forests, and grasslands has evolved into an unusual combination of natural and engineered beauty. — urbanomnibus.net
Even on a dry day, tens of millions of gallons of dirty water dumps into the ocean through the region’s vast storm drain system. The 3,500-mile network was designed and built to empty streets of rainwater, but tons of litter also flow into the ocean through the intricate system of curbside drainages, underground channels, pumps and creeks. Stormwater pollution puts beach swimmers at risk, particularly after it rains. Marine animals and plants can also get sick or die — LA Times
A team of researchers from Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia are working on another solution: A swarm of tiny robots that could cover the construction site of the future, quickly and cheaply building greener buildings of any size. [...]
"The robots can work simultaneously while performing different tasks, and having a fixed size they can create objects of virtually any scale, as far as material properties permit” — fastcoexist.com
The long and varied history of waste and its removal in New York from the 18th century onwards is the subject of Elizabeth Royte’s 2005 book Garbage Land and of the Urban Omnibus City of Systems video she narrates. In the video, Royte describes how her research into where exactly her trash was going after she threw it out has led her to become a more ecological citizen, with “a systems view” of our interconnected processes of manufacturing, transportation, disposal and re-use. — Urban Omnibus
It works like this: people empty their latrines into a sewage receptacle (currently, latrines are often emptied into rivers), the waste gets funneled through a series of tubes and is pressurized at extreme temperatures, and the byproduct is clean, possibly drinkable water. Deshusses describes the process as “a pressure cooker on steroids.” — wunc.org
What if the rubbish was refabricated to become real urban spaces or buildings? If it is plausible to adapt current machinery, how much material is available? At first sight, any sanitary landfill may be viewed as an ample supply of building materials. Heavy industrial technologies crush cars or to automatically sort out garbage are readily available. 3-D printing has exhausting capabilities if adjusted to larger scales. — bbc.com
'[R]emember that a place like Dubai really emerged in the last 50 years. It was a sleepy, you know, Bedouin town half a century ago. And what you do is when you bring in the world’s, you know, most sophisticated architects and engineers, you can literally build anything, including a building of 140 or 150 stories. But designing a municipal network of sewage treatment is in some ways more complex. - KATE ASCHER — Boing Boing
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