Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Another Brick in the Sustainability Wall
Recycled paper has been transformed into many useful products: recently, it has become popular as insulation material. But human ingenuity can always surprise us. Take the case of Spanish researchers at the University of Jaen, who have been experimenting with a method to create bricks out of paper.
According to a report on Gizmag, the researchers used the waste cellulose from a recycled paper mill. Those substances were then mixed with clay used in building construction, pressurized and extruded through laboratory machines.
The prototypes are small at 3 x 1 x 6 cm, but the researchers have produced larger samples with similar results. The technique could bring environmental and energy benefits to brick-makers, besides recycling material that would otherwise be discarded.
The researchers recognize that their paper brick is less mechanically resistant than its traditional counterparts, although it meets minimum legal requirements. They will carry on working to further develop the product to find the balance between sustainability and strength, in addition to investigating the advantages of incorporating other products, such as sewage sludge or waste generated by brewing, olive oil or biodiesel.
Further north in the UK, one company is trying to reduce waste . . . in the water. Nylon fishing nets litter the ocean and kill sea life, often slowly and painfully. For that reason, carpet tile manufacturer Interface and conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have teamed up on a pilot project that turns discarded fishing nets into recycled material for carpet tiles. The project is called simply Net-Works, and it brings economic benefits to coastal communities who are employed by it.
Image credit: Gizmag (Via SINC)