When you think about recycling, the first thing that probably comes to mind is how you recycle the plastic, paper, or glass items in your household. But here are a few ideas that might make you raise your eyebrows and consider other possibilities.
Elephant dung in Uganda
The women of the Rubirizi district in Uganda often see their gardens and crops trampled by the elephants living nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park. Not wishing revenge on the animals in any respect, the women found a way to make paper out of elephant dung! It has provided them with a welcome source of income, some of which they have earmarked to combat poaching for elephant tusks.
Making paper from grass in Germany
Recycled paper can contain toxic chemicals. European Union requirements stipulate that food such as fruit and pasta must not be packaged in cardboard boxes made with recycled paper. However, a German company has discovered how to make paper out of the grass, an alternative that might allow them to expand into the foodstuffs packaging market.
Building Swiss homes with paper
Perhaps there’s a more appropriate use for recycled paper. A Swiss architect has spent 30 years developing a way to construct a house from this material. The paper house is fireproof, earthquake-proof, and 12 times lighter than concrete. It is less expensive to build than a traditional home and takes only two months to put up.
In Kenya, entrepreneurs are producing eco-friendly pencils from recycled newspapers. The innovators enjoy business success by supplying schools, corporate entities, and government agencies with their nifty pencils.
Tires as cushions
In Niger’s capital, Niamey, the residents often burn trash at illegal dumping sites since there is no regular rubbish collection. An environmental activist found a way to recycle rubber tires and create jobs for locals by using the tires to make seat cushions. The new designs are comfortable and last longer than traditional cushions.
On to e-waste recycling
A study released by the United Nations showed that in 2019, people worldwide threw away 53.6 million tons of e-waste, but only 17.4% of that was disposed of properly. Perhaps this is because e-recycling doesn’t get as much attention as, say, the recycling of plastics—or elephant dung.
However, people interested in e-recycling opportunities are thinking on their feet. For example, researchers in Finland have devised a way to make a biological filter out of mushrooms that can reclaim up to 80% of the gold found in e-waste. And at the University of Illinois, researchers have developed silicone circuit boards that can dissolve in water, reducing harmful e-waste disposal in landfills.
Here at Urban E-Recycling, we’re always aware of the harmful effects of e-waste on the environment. We’re happy to see you when you bring us your used electronics for recycling and data destruction. We invite you to drop by with your old cell phones, laptops, medical equipment, and other electronics, or you can call us for pickup. And remember, our services are always free.