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How to turn waste into treasure

Views: 3     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2019-09-17      Origin: Site

            - the world isn't just turning algae from the sea into waste, it's also turning plastic from sinful humans into recyclable goods.

 

Around the world, 4.8 million to 12.7 million tons of plastic waste is thrown into the ocean every year. It is even predicted that by 2050 the total weight of fish will be outweighed by plastic waste from the oceans. 

These shocking scenes may cause you to reflect for a minute. But under the scorching sun, you'll still buy a plastic bottle of coke with a "momentary amnesia," and you'll probably leave it somewhere because you can't find a trash can nearby.

 

The world is concerned about how to recycle plastic waste, but the solutions tend to be "professional", which cannot be implemented by ordinary people.

 

Hundreds of tons of sargasso are washed up on popular tourist sites every year, threatening fragile coral reefs. Man is great after all, but two Dutch designers, Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros, who graduated from the eindhoven school of design, developed a bioplastic using algae as a raw material.

 

Klarenbeek and Dros began growing algae plants many years ago. Working with different universities and biological research institutions, they found a way to dry algae and make it into materials that can be used in 3D printing. In an introduction to the project, known as Algae Lab, Klarenbeek wrote: "in our research, we are concerned about methods for converting co2 into biopolymers. Some algae expel starches as waste, and using this property would be more environmentally friendly than using starches from grown potatoes, which absorb nutrients from the land. Algae can be farmed in seawater, and as it grows, it can purify the water. It absorbs carbon dioxide from the water and produces starches that can be used to make bio-plastics or adhesives."

 

"Usually a scientific study is put into practice in collaboration with large multinational companies. But it slows things down, and a setback stops them."Klarenbeek says, "by contrast, we are very efficient and flexible, and can develop and produce by setting up small studios. We are trying to build a bridge between scientific research and the local economy." Currently, seaweed lab participants are scanning ancient vessels in the arles museum and reprinting them with new materials. The designers believe the method could be used to make everything from dishware to shampoo bottles, trash cans and medicine bottles in the future. Their current ambition is to be able to supply all the restaurants and dining events in arles with dishes made in algae LABS.

 

But in fact, the world isn't just turning algae from the sea into waste, it's also turning plastic from sinful humans into recyclable goods.

 

An inventor in Mexico has come up with a material to make shoes: an organic sneaker made from recycled plastic and seaweed. Jorge Castro Ramos has been experimenting with making shoes out of old bottles for years, but recently hit on the idea of processing sargassum seaweed for the soles. "We've been dreaming of making ecological footwear for nine years now. It's taken four or five years of trial and error to make this patented Mexican fibre from plastic bottles, and then six-eight months ago we managed to make ecological organic footwear with sargassum," he said in the Cancun holiday resort on the Caribbean coast.

 

Last year, he began working with sargasso and eventually succeeded in creating a sole containing 100 grams of algae, as well as five or eight plastic bottles for waterproof uppers. Mr Castro reckons the shoes will last two years, after which the owner can return them to  Renovare Marine company for recycling.

 

"The recycled plastic can also be used to make bags, t-shirts, leggings and sportswear, but the sargassum is just used for the soles as it contains metals that might otherwise be harmful," he told La Jornada Maya newspaper. The business community in Quintana Roo thinks the eco-shoes could help boost the local economy and improve the environment. Adrian Lopez Sanchez of the Coparmex employers federation told the TV that "talks are already underway with the hotel sector to promote the shoes to employees, and 10% of the cost of a pair could go either to clearing up the beaches, or donating shoes to children in need." This is not the first business to try to put the seaweed to practical but environmentally-friendly use. One businessman has already built three houses out of sargassum and adobe bricks in the town of Puerto Morelos, and plans to build a hotel with them in the resort of Tulum, the Riviera Maya News site reports. Omar Vázquez Sánchez told El Financiero newspaper last September that sagassum bricks could "help counteract the waste on the coast, as it can't be used for much else".

 

There is still a long way to go before waste can be turned into treasure and mass production can be achieved. However, enterprises are willing to contribute their little efforts to make every little bit a mickle.

 

Hopefully in the near future the problem of plastic pollution will be gradually reduced, no more sea birds and fish accidentally eating plastic, no more animals strangled by plastic waste.


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