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June 13, 2012

Future Tech: the future of recycling

We all recycle (don’t we? If you’re reading this and you don’t – start today!), but how will what we recycle change in the future? And how will it be done? Nokia Connects investigates for Sustainability Week.

via Go Green Zine

A few years ago recycling seemed something new and inventive, it was exciting to see that our municipal councils were getting their collective acts together and doing something for the future. Now it’s a day to day activity most of us do without thinking. Personally, I recycle plastic, metal, paper, milk cartons, cardboard and all the food scraps from my culinary efforts. Having to pay a 5 or 10 cent surcharge when purchasing a plastic bottle of pop is a real incentive to return to the store (walking, of course) to claim it back when I’m done. But what does the future hold for recycling? Are we ever going to be a zero waste society?

via Compost Mania

The Compost Mania site mentions that certain states in the U.S. are targeting a zero waste future, but to get there will we need new technology to convert the many different resources into reusable products? There are companies all round the world that are coming up with way to recycle materials previously thought unrecyclable (such as fridges and fluorescent tubes) like Advanced Recycling Technologies in Australia. By separating out the different parts, virtually everything can be recycled, so there’s no new tech needed, but I can foresee a massive machine into which everything is fed, and new products come out at the other end. A little like Bertha.

But that’s for junk that exists. What about junk that will come in the future? There’s already talk of collecting some of the detritus that’s clogging up the space around the planet (I can’t actually believe that we’re not just content to mess up where we live, but where we don’t. See also: oceans) and recycling that.

Or you could go the whole hog and make a house entirely out of reclaimed materials.

How do you see the future of recycling? What else could you do to help (recycling your old Nokia is a start)? Share your thoughts in the comments, or #FutureTech us on Twitter.