Five weird ways to build and fuel the future

16 November 2015

With an increasing need to hunt out alternative and sustainable energy sources, a bit of creative thinking has unearthed a few surprising potential future fuel sources, along with environmentally friendly recycling ideas to create the things we all need, like building materials and even clothing.

1. Coffee can boost more than just your own energy levels.

Could something as simple as your daily caffeine fix really be utilised to heat buildings and fuel transportation? Arthur Kay, founder of Bio Bean is proving that it can, by using leftover coffee to create biodiesel. He’s found a way to refine the incredibly high oil content in waste coffee grounds, and convert this waste into biomass pellets which can be used to fuel office blocks and supermarkets, along with many other potential applications.

2. From waste electronic plastic to traffic sign.

Californian company EcoStrate cleverly uses waste electronic plastics, along with textile waste to create things like traffic signs, signage and flooring, in an attempt to reduce the amount of waste material sent to landfill and lessen greenhouse gas emissions. With the financial support of The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, EcoStrate has a vision of providing products for roadways and buildings across the USA.

“If you’re not buying recycled products, you’re not really recycling.” Ed Begley, Jr. Actor and environmentalist

3. Nappies as roofing?

It may not be the most pleasant of reuse ideas, but with special recycling plants to separate the ‘organic material’ from the polymers in all the nappies we throw out, these polymers can then be used to create fibre-based construction materials such as roof tiles. Other nifty construction material recycling ideas include ‘newspaper wood’, ‘bottle bricks’ and even ‘mushroom walls’.

4. From drinks bottles to denim in sustainable style.

Levi’s ‘Waste Less’ collection incorporates post-consumer waste such as drinks bottles and food trays to create denim, sorting the waste by colour and crushing it into flakes to make a polyester fibre which then gets blended with cotton fibre and finally woven with traditional cotton yarn. On average eight 12 to 20 ounce bottles are used per pair of jeans.


5. Turning e-waste into energy.


Researchers have developed an innovative system that uses discarded electronic boards to create clean hydrogen which can then be used as fuel. Plastic waste from electronic components is increasing rapidly in developed countries, and these waste materials need specific treatment because they contain a variety of valuable materials. The waste is treated using steam, and under certain conditions hydrogen is obtained. This gasification of plastic waste has already been deployed on an industrial scale in Japan, creating a beneficial fuel source.


Fuel the innovation with secure computer recycling.

With so many potential applications for waste electronic products, there’s no excuse for not committing to responsible computer recycling. So if your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration, to ensure ultimate data security and a sustainable future. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.

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