The Incredible Robots That Scan and Sort Your Recycling

If your city has a recycling program, you probably do as good a job as you can to make sure that your papers, plastics, and metals are all properly sorted. But at the recycling plant it's absolutely crucial that everything is thoroughly separated, and even an assembly line full of hawk-eyed workers can't compare to… » 11/14/14 12:43pm 11/14/14 12:43pm

11 Clever Uses for Your Old Phone or Tablet

Upgrade time has finally rolled around and you're wondering what to do with your old phone or tablet. If you don't want to flog it on eBay, give it to a friend or donate it to a good cause then there are many different ways you can make use of it. Most of these ideas involve turning your phone or tablet into a… » 11/11/14 1:06pm 11/11/14 1:06pm

Simple Grooves Let This Trash Can Hold Small or Multiple Plastic Bags

It's easier to feel less guilty about forgetting your reusable bags for grocery shopping when you plan to use the plastic ones for garbage later. And in turn, it'd be easier to use those plastic bags for garbage if this clever trash bin concept, featuring strategic grooves to accommodate small or multiple bags at… » 10/02/14 12:01pm 10/02/14 12:01pm

A Lego-Like Kit for Building and Easily Repairing Household Appliances

If the motor burns out on a cheap desk fan, or the power switch breaks on a simple hand mixer, you're not going to have them repaired. But just replacing cheap appliances is pretty wasteful, so using 3D printing techniques and standard components, a group of designers have proposed a sort of building kit for creating… » 9/30/14 3:51pm 9/30/14 3:51pm

Watch Recycled Paper Go From NYC Trash to Brand-New Boxes

New York City fills recycle bins with tons and tons of discarded paper. That cast-off fiber lives to serve another day, thanks to the wonders of recycling. NYC Sanitation's director of photography Michael Anton followed that voyage from start to finish, creating this beautiful timelapse of the process. » 9/11/14 10:43am 9/11/14 10:43am

There's $2.5 Billion Worth of Silver and Gold in Phones Sold This Year

Your gadgets contain tiny specks of precious and rare earth metals—we rely on these dust-sized particles, which are so small they're often not recycled because the cost of recycling outweighs the value of the metals. But according to the American Chemical Society, the overall value of these minute materials is massive. » 9/03/14 12:28pm 9/03/14 12:28pm

The Dirty Truth About Where Your Old Electronics Go

We all know we should recycle our electronics, but we don't really know what happens after we drop them off at the e-waste center. So filmmaker Alex Gorosh followed his old iPhones, all the way to Agbogbloshie, Ghana, the largest electronics dump in the world. It's a place so dirty and dangerous it's nicknamed "Sodom… » 9/02/14 2:49pm 9/02/14 2:49pm

Here's What Happens To Your Beer Can After You Recycle It

Hey! Friday night! Time to celebrate. With beer. Since we already know what happens to us once we've popped the top on a few too many cold ones—hello, hangover—let's take a look at what happens to that can after you've pounded it; chances are, it will be less than a few months until it's already back chilling out in… » 8/29/14 10:00pm 8/29/14 10:00pm

MIT Explains How To Turn an Old Car Battery Into a Working Solar Cell

There are over 1 billion cars in the world, and the vast majority of them use batteries made from lead. As lithium batteries replace these old timers, eventually there may be many of the lead suckers sitting in landfills. Which is why MIT wanted to find a way to reuse them—by turning them into a new kind of solar… » 8/18/14 4:22pm 8/18/14 4:22pm

13 Designs That Bring Reclaimed Airplane Parts Into Your Home

So you love flying. You love every type of aircraft. You would spend the whole day high above ground if you could. But that's impossible, and when you return to your home or to your office, you want to feel at least a tiny bit of that sensation you felt at those high altitudes. Thanks to a few designer and furniture… » 7/10/14 9:00am 7/10/14 9:00am

A 3D Printer That Turns Coke Bottles Into Whatever You Can Imagine

Star Trek's replicators were not only able to produce any food or products our far-off descendants wanted, they were also able to make it from any kind of waste products. It was the ultimate recycling scenario, one that the new Ekocycle Cube 3D Printer hopes to emulate by using a new filament made in part from… » 7/01/14 9:40am 7/01/14 9:40am

Genius guy transforms plastic bottles into super strength plastic rope

Look, I have no idea what I'm going to do with super strength plastic rope either but oh my genius, this recycler's idea of turning plastic bottles into plastic rope is just brilliant. The video is perfect, he shows you the plastic rope, shows you what to do with it and then shows you how to make your own. I'm now… » 6/20/14 12:19am 6/20/14 12:19am

This Interactive Trash Bin Turns Recycling Into a Giant Game of Plinko

Recycling should be second nature now, but once you toss a plastic bottle into the dark abyss of a public bin, well—that's it. Why give it a second thought? ReFILL is an interactive installation that gives a glimpse at the pile-up of would-be trash that's destined for a second life; everything that goes in is scanned… » 6/05/14 7:20pm 6/05/14 7:20pm

Replacement Caps Upcycle Coke Bottles Into Water Guns and More

Products like the SodaStream let you make your own carbonated beverages at home without the need for yet another plastic bottle to be recycled. But the number of bottled Cokes bought around the world every day is still staggering, so to encourage consumers to upcycle those plastic containers, Coca-Cola created sixteen… » 5/29/14 4:40pm 5/29/14 4:40pm

IBM Lab Accidentally Makes New Type of Super-Strong, Recyclable Polymer

Strong, durable materials are hard to recycle—they're designed to stand up to abuse. But research chemists at an IBM laboratory just published their discovery of a never-before-seen family of polymers that's super strong, self-healing, lightweight, and easy to recycle. And it was discovered completely by accident. » 5/16/14 11:00am 5/16/14 11:00am

Your Old Phone Could Help Eavesdrop on Illegal Rainforest Loggers

How do you catch a logger in the dense, remote rainforest? For a long time, the answer has been satellites, which may sound high-tech, but actually means you're looking at photos of deforested land days after the loggers have made their getaway. A nonprofit called Rainforest Connection wants to turn old smartphones… » 5/12/14 4:40pm 5/12/14 4:40pm