(3BL Media/Justmeans) - One of the cornerstones of a sustainable society is the complete eradication of the concept of waste. After all, nature has no waste; everything gets used one way or another. It’s only when people came along that the whole idea got started. Already, a number of factories have become zero waste and a few intrepid homeowners put out the equivalent of one shopping bag of trash per year, so it is possible, at least in principle. Food can be composted or turned into fuel. Aluminum, paper and plastic can be recycled. Heavier metals like steel and lead can be reclaimed and reused. But what about the really nasty stuff, like toxic waste?
Last year, a professor at Texas A&M University came up with a process to turn nuclear waste into energy. The process would utilize subcritical fission to break down the most dangerous components, the transuranics, over a period of years, producing energy in the process.
There are also people using mushrooms to clean up oil spills and plastic waste.
It seems like we need to recruit the help of Mother Nature in addressing some of our biggest mistakes. It heralds the emergence of a new field of bio-processing.
Now, a group of universities in western England and Wales have come up with a research project to decontaminate the water that has been tainted as the result of the tin mining process. At the same time, the project aims to harvest useful heavy metals and produce biofuels as a byproduct.