The Plan to Turn Jellyfish Into Diapers and Paper Towels

Of the many problems on Earth, here are two: there are too many jellyfish in the seas, and there are too many diapers in our landfills. An Israeli nanotech start-up called Cine'al says it has found the answer to both in Hydromash, a super-absorbent material made from the bodies of jellyfish. But why stop at diapers?… » 4/11/14 3:40pm 4/11/14 3:40pm

Shipping Containers Lost at Sea and the Search for Flight 370

Just how many large mysterious objects can there be floating at sea? That's what many of us have wondered after the search for debris from Malaysia Airlines 370 turned up piece after piece of ocean trash. The search for flight 370 has focused our attention on empty patches of ocean and, in the process, shed light on… » 4/02/14 1:40pm 4/02/14 1:40pm

These Compost Islands Would Turn NYC's Garbage Into Gold

The average New Yorker generates about three pounds of trash every day, and a huge amount of that is food waste—which could be composted, if only we had the space. Enter "Green Loop," a proposal to build massive composting islands off the coastline of NYC. » 3/03/14 3:40pm 3/03/14 3:40pm

Nepal Will Force Each Everest Climber To Collect 18 Pounds of Trash

Mount Everest might be the be-all, end-all of mountaineering, but it's also a dumping ground for the climbers striving upon its face—which is littered, as National Geographic puts it, "with garbage leaking out of the glaciers and pyramids of human excrement befouling the high camps." This week, Nepal announced a new rule … » 3/03/14 11:20am 3/03/14 11:20am

A Landfill Park Is Leaking Toxic Waste Thanks to Burrowing Gophers

Let this be your cautionary tale against building a pretty waterfront park on a landfill. At Cesar Chavez Park on the Berkeley Marina, squirrels and gophers are burrowing through old trash, turning the ground into toxin-leaching swiss cheese. Poison from the estimated 1.9 million tons of residential, commercial, and… » 2/24/14 3:25pm 2/24/14 3:25pm

Bees To Humans: We'll Make Hives Out Of Your Plastic Trash

It's hard to be a bee these days, what with the sinister—and still mysterious—Colony Collapse Disorder decimating millions of hives over the past decade. But a few highly resourceful Canadian species have started adapting new nesting techniques, using plain old everyday plastic garbage to build their homes. » 2/12/14 10:40am 2/12/14 10:40am

Our Trash Has Become A New Ocean Ecosystem Called "The Plastisphere"

Sure, we all know pollution destroys ecosystems, but, for better or for worse, pollution can create ecosystems, too. The billions of tiny pieces of plastic that are now floating in our oceans are exactly that: a novel ecosystem humans have unwittingly made by throwing away too much plastic. Microbes and insects that… » 1/01/14 6:00pm 1/01/14 6:00pm

These Classic Nike Sneakers Are Actually Made Out of Cigarette Packs

We've all felt it: The unique kind of envy that results from encountering something you want, but can't afford. For some of us, it's the new iPhone. For others, it's an eight-foot-long hot tub boat. For artist Jason Ruff in his younger years, it was sneakers and cigarettes—which serve as materials for his latest… » 10/18/13 2:20pm 10/18/13 2:20pm

Scientists Found a New Way to Turn Plastic Bags into a Supermaterial

Have you ever had a roommate who saves plastic grocery bags just in case they ever have the need to reuse the dang things? Like, hundreds of plastic grocery bags? Well, thanks to some Australian engineers, those extra bags can not only have a purpose, they can become technology of the future. » 9/25/13 12:20pm 9/25/13 12:20pm

The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Solve NYC's Trash Woes With Pneumatic Tubes

New Yorkers have a history of experimenting with pneumatic tubes—both for mail delivery (seen above) and public transit—but only one version ever really stuck: An automated vacuum trash collection system beneath the streets of Roosevelt Island. According to two recent studies, this 40-year-old relic might hold the key… » 9/18/13 3:40pm 9/18/13 3:40pm

This Giant Floating Orb Is Built Out of NYC's Discarded Umbrellas

If you happen to be walking around the northern tip of Manhattan these days, you'll see a strange sphere floating in the water near the Inwood Hill Park. From afar, it looks like a geodesic dome stitched together from thin slivers of metal, but inching closer, you'll notice something startling. It's made of trash. » 8/06/13 4:02pm 8/06/13 4:02pm

A Garbage-Crushing Trash Can You Control With Your Bare Hands

Who likes taking out the trash? Nobody, that's who. We'll do anything we can to avoid trips to the curb, or the garbage chute, including letting it pile up for weeks on end. But a giant mountain of stinking trash in your kitchen isn't the only solution. This stainless steel trash can includes a manual compressor » 6/26/13 11:09am 6/26/13 11:09am

Watch These Kids Play Musical Instruments Made Out of Trash

Sometimes you've just got to make do with what you've got, but that doesn't mean you have to want for things, things like musical instruments. The upcoming documentary Landfill Harmonic (a totally righteous pun, I feel obligated to note) is about a slum in Cateura, Paraguay that still has an orchestra, and orchestra… » 12/08/12 9:00pm 12/08/12 9:00pm

Did You Know Your Trash Is a Treasure Trove of Weapons Waiting To…

Our favorite crazy slingshot maker, Joerg Sprave, can seemingly turn anything into a weapon. And recently his scavenging skills were put to the ultimate test when a magazine challenged him to turn everyday trash into an improvised arsenal. » 5/28/12 9:00am 5/28/12 9:00am

The Olympics Will Have Bombproof Trash Cans with LCD Screens

Trash cans are the eye sores of city life, like the grimy physical manifestation of popped pimples overflowing with bags and Chinese takeout ooze. The Olympics? A magnifying glass on a city's life. That's why it's not surprising to see a city (in this case, London) introduce new, stylish trash cans as a quick makeover. … » 2/07/12 5:40pm 2/07/12 5:40pm