Solarclave Sterilizes Medical Equipment In Remote Areas Using Sunlight.

Solarclave from MIT's Little Devices groupIn hospitals, an autoclave is an electric-powered device that is used to sterilize medical equipment and supplies. The Solarclave, designed by MIT’s Little Devices group, is an autoclave that is solar-powered and can be used cheaply and repaired easily by remote clinics in developing countries. Here’s a description of the Solarclave from the Little Devices group:

“With a bucket, a pressure cooker, and 140 pocket-sized mirrors, IIH researchers have invented a device that uses sunshine to sterilize surgical tools. Solarclave provides reliable surgical sterilization for rural clinics outside of the grid – enabling healthcare workers to provide basic, life-saving services for patients.”

And here’s how it works (SmartPlanet):

“Under a clear sky, the system takes 45 to 60 minutes to heat up to a sterilizing temperature (250 degrees Fahrenheit) and then 20 minutes to carry out the sterilization cycle.”

The final design of the Solarclave was modified based on feedback from rural users in Nicaragua. [SmartPlanet]

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Waste Solution For Not-Recycling Houston: One Trash Bin For All Waste.

Landfill
Laura Spanjian - City of Houston Sustainability DirectorHow do you get a city with a low 14% recycling rate and no enforceable recycling laws to start separating their trash and divert it from landfills?

You don’t…. you bring in some garbage sorting technology and let it do the work. The City of Houston knew it would be tough to educate and motivate their residents to separate their trash so they went out and found companies that process it for them. Spearheading the effort is Laura Spanjian, Houston’s sustainability director. From Fast Co.Exist:

“Spanjian’s dream system combines many of these technologies: It would take everyone’s trash in one bin and send it to a facility that pulls out every piece of recyclable material and separates out food waste. Recyclable commodities would be sold, and food waste would be turned into compost or put in an anaerobic digester to power facilities or trucks. Another portion of the waste would be turned into gasoline.”

Brilliant – put all the trash in one bin and let the specialized machines sort it. Much better than the alternative of sending all of the trash to landfills.

Here are some of the companies Ms. Spanjian found that can divert and reuse/recycle Houston’s trash:

“One company cited by Spanjian, Organic Energy Corporation, offers a one-bin waste sorting solution. A company called BHS operates a material recovery facility in San Jose, California–but it doesn’t deal with food waste. ZeroWaste can take care of that; the company operates anaerobic digesters to deal with food waste in the city. And CRI Catalyst Company–a Houston-based company–offers a technology that turn biomass into gasoline or diesel.”

Not all cities are like San Francisco – which diverts 80% of their trash from landfills. If Ms. Spanjian’s model is successful, other low recycling rate cities can copy and implement a scaled version of her system. Dog wags tail. [Fast Co.Exist]

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Wee-Wee Is Partially Powering A Float At Carnival In Rio. Power To The PEE-ple!

Electric Pee float at Carnival in Rio
Power to the pee-pleThis will only take a second.

Poopcycle, you’ve got competition. During this year’s Carnival in Rio, the AfroReggae float is going to be partially powered by pee-pee / urine / wiz. From JWT Brazil:

“JWT Brazil and NGO AfroReggae teamed up this year to do something about it. The result is the ‘Electric Pee’ project — a unique urinal designed to generate electric energy from urine. Using a process similar to a hydroelectric power plant, which uses flowing water to generate energy, the energy created from each use will help generate power for AfroReggae’s float at Carnival.”

Told you it wouldn’t take long to relieve ourselves of this story. [JWT via Treehugger]

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Traffic Police In Shanghai Get Anti-Smog Nasal Air Filters.

Shanghai traffic police wearing anti-smog nasal air filters.

Anti-smog nasal air filters

Unlike the became fashionable SARS masks, designer anti-smog nasal air filters are going to be a tough sell. In an effort to protect police officers in the Songjiang district of Shanghai, the department has issued the anti-smog nasal air filters to all traffic police. From the Guardian:

“The department decided to provide nasal filters – which it called ‘invisible masks’ – because unlike traditional masks they would not hinder officers from shouting and blowing whistles. A sequence of heavily polluted days in January, dubbed the ‘airpocalypse’ has transformed public attitudes towards the thick smog bedevilling many of China’s major cities.”

Here’s a suggestion for anyone traveling through Shanghai: if a police officer pulls you aside and speaks to you haltingly, don’t mimic them. It’s not easy to only breathe in through your nose and have a conversation. [Guardian]

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Air Pollution In Beijing Hits Level ‘Crazy’: The Hard-To-Hide Cost Of China’s Technological Revolution.

Air pollution in Beijing China off the charts.

“What an awful ‘welcome’ back to Beijing it is, never seen it so bad. My apartment is on the 22nd floor and at times I can’t see the ground below the smog is so thick. Think I might take up smoking to get some fresh air.”
– Balmerino comment on “Top tip if you’re going out in Beijing: don’t breathe”

This last weekend, air quality instruments measuring lung-damaging tiny particulate matter (PM2.5) in Beijing went nuts and reached 600 micrograms per square meter (MPSM) – and it’s expected to go higher! According to the World Health Organization, 25 MPSM is considered a safe level.

We all have a role in Beijing’s crazy air pollution and we’ll all have to share the results. It’s the not-so hidden cost of China’s economic growth spurred by consumers around the world. [Guardian]

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The iPotty Potty Training Toilet With iPad Holder. Waste Meets Waste?

iPotty Potty Training Toilet w/iPad holderWhat potty training kid is going to walk away from their iPotty when there’s an iPad sitting in front of them? Avoid the temporary plastic iPotty, sit your kid on the seat and tell them to sing or read until they’ve taken care of business. They’ll figure it out soon enough and you won’t be scrambling for your iPad every time they need to go. [Laughing Squid]

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