Emerging Tech: Technology Entrepreneurs Address Plastics Pollution & Recycling

High-Tech In-Store Machine developed by an entrepreneur from Apple and an aerospace engineer Incentivizes Recycling. Being introduced in Northern California Safeway Stores First.

What if recycling of plastic, glass, and metal beverage containers was done at supermarket to make it convenient?  And what if the recycling machine was so easy to use and loaded with high-tech components so that it was more like a large, attractive device?

Who knew recycling could be so simple and look so sleek? It really should encourage people to recycle more. Such an elegant solution was engineered by Olyns, a leader in technology-centric recycling solutions, which announced July 28 the launch of its new bottle collection machine designed for high-traffic, indoor locations. To increase recycling of plastics, the innovative solution provides a convenient way for consumers to redeem bottle deposits while earning rewards through a mobile app. The approach also helps break down barriers surrounding the collection and transportation of recyclables. A single Olyns machine can deliver more than one and a half metric tons of clean recycled PET per year.

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World’s First Fully-Recyclable Electronic Transistor Produced By 3D Printers at Duke University

image recyclable electronic transistor


Engineers at Duke University have developed the world’s first fully recyclable printed electronics. Their recycling process recovers nearly 100% of the materials used—and preserves most of their performance capabilities for reuse. By demonstrating a crucial and relatively complex computer component—the transistor—created with three carbon-based inks, the researchers hope to inspire a new generation of recyclable electronics.

“Silicon-based computer components are probably never going away, and we don’t expect easily recyclable electronics like ours to replace the technology and devices that are already widely used,” said Aaron Franklin, the Addy Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke. “But we hope that by creating new, fully recyclable, easily printed electronics and showing what they can do, that they might become widely used in future applications.”

Even though the ever-growing pile of discarded electronics is now on the decline, less than a quarter of it each year is recycled, according to a United Nations estimate. Part of the problem is that electronic devices are difficult to recycle. Large plants employ hundreds of workers who hack at bulky devices. But while scraps of copper, aluminum and steel can be recycled, the silicon chips at the heart of the devices cannot. . . . . full story