More uses than an old toothbrush (Day 251)

Old toothbrush and toothpasteIf there’s nine billion people on the planet by 2050 and we all follow our dentist’s advice, we might end up using around 36 billion toothbrushes or replacement heads in our quest for excellent oral health.

That’s also a lot of toothpaste tubes (assuming we still use them in 2050).

Old toothbrushes have many cleaning uses once they are past their best – cleaning jewelry, bathroom taps and appliances, computer keyboards and even applying hair dye (see my profile page and you’ll know I don’t do this – yet!).

But recycling toothpaste tubes hasn’t been that easy – they just end up in our trash once we’ve squeezed the life out of them.

However, some chemical engineering wizardry developed at the University of Cambridge, UK, can now turn toothpaste tubes and drinks pouches into both aluminium and fuel in just three minutes.

Continue reading More uses than an old toothbrush (Day 251)

The red mud challenge (Day 156)

Drinks cans Image by Radu Bercan / Shutterstock.comAluminium is everywhere. In fact, it’s the third most abundant element on planet earth after oxygen and silicon.

Its low density and strength, coupled with its outstanding resistance to corrosion, make it one of the most useful metals we have.

Aluminium and its alloys are essential to the aerospace and construction industries where it finds widespread use as a structural material.

Our homes wouldn’t be the same without Aluminium either. Modern doors and window frames are commonly constructed from PVC coated aluminium. Many kitchen utensils are made from aluminium as are the cans that contain beer and soft drinks.

And where would we be without that handy roll of ‘tin’ foil, which is of course made from – you’ve guessed it; aluminium.

Continue reading The red mud challenge (Day 156)