How scientists are working to build a ‘smart’ carbon-based biodegradable trash can
The idea of using the trash can as a carbon-neutral landfill is catching on with scientists and environmentalists.
The new technology has been developed by researchers at UC Berkeley, Stanford, University of Texas, the University of Michigan and UC Berkeley.
The researchers hope to reduce the carbon footprint of the trash by up to half and reduce the energy consumption of the landfill by a third.
Here’s how it works.
The system can be used to store plastic, cardboard, metal and other items that aren’t biodegraded and is relatively inexpensive to build.
The idea is that once they’re sorted, the trash will be recycled.
The trash can is designed to hold the waste material for about four months and is made of an organic material.
It’s designed to be recyclable and has been engineered to minimize the amount of plastic and other materials that are recycled.
“The technology we’re building could potentially reduce carbon emissions by up a third over the next 20 years,” said Andrew Sacks, a UC Berkeley graduate student and the project’s senior research engineer.
“It’s very much a work in progress and it’s not yet commercially available, but we believe we can reduce the impact of the biodegradation process and reduce carbon emission by about 60 percent.”
“It will help us reduce our waste,” said Stanford graduate student Ting Liu, who is leading the project with fellow graduate student Kevin Liu.
“If we can lower the amount that is recycled, then the carbon that’s emitted is less of a problem.
We’re hoping that it will also reduce the amount the garbage gets into the sea.”
The team’s design uses a combination of natural materials and synthetic organic compounds to make a biodegradeable trash bin.
The materials include organic materials that break down into smaller components, such as cellulose, and natural substances, such the biotin found in trees and other vegetation.
“We’re using a combination that is natural, that is synthetic and that is biodegrading,” Sacks said.
“So basically it’s a process that we’re really, really excited about.”
“We have a huge opportunity to get into the recycling business,” Liu said.
Liu and Liu are collaborating with other students from UC Berkeley’s Center for Sustainable and Appropriate Technology and Stanford’s Center on Biotechnologies and Environment.
The team also has the support of the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California State Department of Transportation.
“This is a really exciting project,” said UC Berkeley Professor of Materials and Environmental Engineering Dr. Matthew E. Fadiman.
“I think it’s really exciting for the industry, and it will be interesting to see how it’s actually being used.”
“This work is the beginning of a huge project that will lead to new ways of thinking about the waste management of a waste stream, especially in the global context,” Fadman said.
The project’s results will be published in the journal Carbon.
A waste bin is an ideal trash receptacle for recycling plastic, paper, metals and other recyclables.
It also has a large volume capacity, so it can be placed into a landfill to be recycled as well.
The concept is similar to how people place their trash in bins in grocery stores and other places, but in this case, trash is stored on the outside of the bin.
“Once we sort the trash, we take it out of the way, and we store it in a plastic bag and we put it into a container and we then put it back into the grocery store,” Liu explained.
Liu added that the recycling process could be used in other applications.
For example, if there’s a need to store materials in a landfill, for example, they could simply put the materials in bins on the side of the road.
“That way you could put it in your car, or in a container on the truck or a bin on your farm,” Liu added.
The plastic and cellulose fibers in the material that are biodegrades can be mixed with chemicals to make biofuel, which could be converted into electricity and used to power the garbage can.
The waste bin can also be recycled into plastic containers for other uses, such a packaging material.
“There are already a number of biodegradable plastic containers out there that can be made to reuse,” Liu told the Berkeley Weekly.
Liu said the trash bin will be ready for a large scale use within the next five years.