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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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What is medical waste and how is it disposed of?


landscape

Typically, medical waste is classified as any waste that has resulted from the diagnosis or treatment of people in clinics and hospitals. Some common varieties of medical waste include used bandages, used medical equipment (such as syringes), bodily fluids and human organs.

It can also be produced in laboratories or research facilities that are carrying out biological testing.

Additionally, facilities such as dental surgeries and veterinary practices also contribute to the estimated 200 million tonnes of worldwide medical waste produced each year. There are a whole host of risks and dangers associated with medical waste and it is vital that it is disposed of in the correct manner.

Classification of medical waste
Medical waste can be classified into four broad categories. Each form of waste needs to be treated individually due to the variety of associated hazards.

Outlined below are the four main categories of medical waste:

  • General waste: the most common form of medical waste. It accounts for almost 85% of the total amount produced and contains everyday items such as paper, plastics and liquids. This is by far the least hazardous form of medical waste.
  • Hazardous waste: predominantly waste that has no infectious capabilities but can be dangerous to humans in a physical sense. Sharp objects such as syringes, broken glass or scalpels fall into this category.
  • Radioactive waste – an extremely dangerous form of waste which results from any radioactive treatments such as chemotherapy. Equipment and materials involved in these forms of treatments need to be disposed of carefully due to the risks they present to people.
  • Infectious waste – this revolves around waste that has the potential to infect other humans. Used bandages, syringes, bodily fluids and tissue make up the bulk of this category.

How is medical waste disposed of?
Due to improved methods, medical waste disposal is now much more environmentally-friendly than it was a number of years ago. Incineration was once the only method used to dispose of medical waste but there are now a number of other processes that reduce potential risks during disposal.

Irradiation, steam sterilization and the process of treating the waste with chemicals allows medical waste to be disposed of alongside regular waste in landfills. This not only benefits the environment but it also reduces the danger to the general public.

Whilst incineration is still used to a certain degree, the benefits of this more environmentally-friendly approach is growing in popularity and could transform the face of this industry for good.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Abattis Bioceuticals Biocube System – the Future of Sustainable Farming?


Farming - Landscape

Where does your food come from? Who is producing it and what goes into it? These previously questions are being uttered from a growing number of people in the United States, as tales of inefficient water use, polluting fertilizer runoff, or our consumption of mysterious genetically modified crops commonly sweep across our news feeds and regularly grace our dinner tables. plants and produce We are blessed with a wealth of arable lands and favorable climates in the United States which have historically secured the availability of affordable foods in our society, so why must we overuse artificial fertilizers, poisonous herbicides and pesticides or implant genes from fish into our tomato plants? The answer: the American farmer is ultimately limited by the amount and distribution of flatland available for cultivation. (more…)

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Let the EWG Seafood Calculator Determine the Best Seafood for You


circling school of fish

Most people know the health benefits from regularly including fish and other seafood in their diets; they provide us with the essential, long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. A third, short-chain form of Omega-3 is found in several plant seeds and nuts, but the forms found in seafood are proven to have more effective health benefits. On the other hand, there are opposite reports of the health risks associated with eating seafood due to an increase of toxic mercury levels in the world’s oceans. In fact, a recent study concluded that in “ocean waters shallower than about 100 meters… have tripled in mercury concentration since the Industrial Revolution.” Emissions from coal fired power plants, smelting, cement manufacturing and certain mining activities are only some of the industries contributing to a unnatural amount of airborne mercury, which is eventually deposited in water bodies around the world, infecting marine life. So while the Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood are essential to our health, harmful levels of mercury could accompany them. Luckily, the cost – benefit analysis between these two traits in different species of fish has been spelled out in a quick and pleasing “seafood calculator” from Environmental Working Group. (more…)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tomato Sushi? a tasty, vegan way to save bluefin tuna


Mediterranean bluefin tuna

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see sushi sold in your local grocery store. Sushi has been rising in popularity over the years, and alongside it, the demand for fish; in particular tuna. In Japan, the Bluefin tuna is considered to be the cream of the crop and the average price for one Bluefin in Japan’s main fish market, Tsukiji, can range from 2,000 to 20,000 dollars. With prices like, that it’s not hard to see how fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry. But unfortunately, these high prices have also led to excessive overfishing.

According to the Blue Ocean Institute Bluefin tuna has been exploited heavily science the 1970’s. And in 1996 the World Conservation Union listed the western populations of Atlantic Bluefin as critically endangered and the eastern population as endangered. With no end in sight to the demand, and no end to the exploitation, it’s only a matter of time before populations collapse.

tomato sushi

In response to a client’s challenge of creating vegetarian sushi, Master Chef James Corwell came up with the idea of Tomato Sushi. The San Francisco based chef and his chef-partner, Brian Doyle, created the company and product:  Tomato Sushi(more…)

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How Can Old Tires Change the Way We Make Asphalt?


used-dumped-various-car-tires-

When we look at an old, discarded tire we don’t think to ourselves that it might contribute to making a better roadway; but old tires may do just that. Currently most old tires are collected by tire retailers and recycled for a small fee. Once collected they are separated and then reduced. The larger pieces are used as stone aggregates or fuel to power kilns. But the small fine pieces are considered crumb rubber. Crumb rubber is used as a raw material for a wide variety of applications including molded rubber goods and adhesives.

rubberized asphalt

Tires can also be recycled into a form of asphalt. (more…)

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wind Energy: As Easy As Flying a Kite … A Very Big Kite


altaeros wind turbine

If you find yourself traveling down your 5-mile gravel driveway in the pouring rain, returning from a bi-weekly grocery run or a quick trip to the mailbox, and an unidentified flying donut appears high in the evening sky, do not be alarmed. It is not going to hurt you; this is not an Independence Day-type scenario; the Led Zeppelin tour likely has not stopped in your small town in rural America, either. Your home greets you with porch and interior lights as you clamber up the steps to your front door, reusable grocery bags and a wealth of paper bills in hand. You find that the phone, television, internet and trash utilities await payment, but the power bill has been strangely absent for some time. Soon thereafter, you collapse into your couch and turn the television to the nightly news, where the headline story covers the widespread electrical outages in the city in the next county. The newscaster says that high winds and heavy rains have knocked out critical elements of the power grid leaving hundreds without electricity, as you think to yourself, “what was that man’s name from Altaeros? I must thank him for the ‘BAT’ outside.”

altaeros wind turbines

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Altaeros is a leading innovator in the wind energy sector, recently receiving a large grant from the Alaska Energy Authority to field test their new Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT) system in the skies over Fairbanks, Alaska.  (more…)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Transparent Photovoltaic Glass May Soon Power Smartphones and Buildings


Apollo Glass

There are so many technologies and sensory contraptions packed into today’s smart devices, the average Joe or Jane would not know of many besides perhaps the battery, some sort of high-definition touchscreen and a few volume, home and power buttons. To illustrate, one could consider the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone as an all-in-one personal computer, television, digital camera, cordless payphone, flashlight, mp3 player, global positioning device, and personal trainer. If we include what these little metal and glass rectangles can replace through software functions, one could also consider them alarm clocks, calendars, shopping malls, personalized banking centers, address books, instant messengers, newspapers, or photo albums. Most adults in the United States are walking around with small weathermen, stockbrokers and personal assistants in their pockets; wireless and free to move about their daily lives, these smart devices still must inevitably rest and recharge just like their owners. But in the near future, just as we may feel energized from a cool, radiant day, our smart devices may benefit from some daily sunlight exposure as well.  (more…)

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Shoes that Sprout: Biodegradable Shoes that Grow Plants


OAT shoe with plant

When your trusty tennis shoes wear out, the fastest and easiest option to dispose of them – also the one that is not eco-friendly – is to pitch them in the trash. Once in the trash your old shoes find their way to the landfill where they remain for many, many years. If you think about how many shoes you and everyone else have tossed out over the years, it adds up to a lot of shoes in the ground.

OAT shoe

But with footwear from OAT shoes, your shoes will biodegrade in about a year’s time and plants might even sprout from them. OAT shoes are completely biodegradable and the shoes actually contain seeds in the tongue that can sprout if buried.  (more…)

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