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Automatic home recycling unit

  1. Jun 19, 2008 #1

    taylaron

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    Hey everybody,
    For those interested in recycling at home, is there a commercially available recycling unit for homes (about as expensive and as large as about a washer/dryer machine)?
    I'm designing one at home using CAD, but I am curious as to if it already exists in the home already. I sure haven't seen one that even roughly describes this (below).
    In other words:
    Does a unit/appliance exist that collects recyclable home materials (eg. paper, plastic, metal, glass and fabric) that would do whatever it needs to on its own in order for the recyclables to be easily accessible in a storage bin at the bottom in (possibly) [compacted cubes] or [spheres or another shape thats easy to deal with]
    in order to prepare for transportation to a larger recycling facility.

    all this is supposed to make recycling easier to transport and handle

    Or is this a ridiculous idea because you can do almost the exact same thing with some storage tubs while using a fraction of the amount of money for this machine while not having an electric bill (from the machine) ?
    :uhh::eek:
    then again, thats probably similar to what they thought about washing machines and dish washers......


    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2008 #2

    Redbelly98

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    Do you just want something that will sort different recycling materials, and then crush them? So it wouldn't do the actual recycling in the home, that would get done at a larger facility?

    I see no advantage in the sorting, since that is easily done by humans. Not only would the machine have to distinguish paper, metal, glass, and plastic, but it would have to tell if the plastics are of the recyclable or nonrecyclable type.

    I guess the compacting feature would allow for less frequent pickups, saving the local municipality some money.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2008
  4. Jun 19, 2008 #3

    Evo

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    It's been around for ages, it's a kitchen trash compactor. It's installed under the counter like a dishwasher. You put whatever you want into it and it compacts it.
     
  5. Jun 20, 2008 #4

    taylaron

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    Problems with reality

    If this is a reality already, then why isn't 'everybody' sorting out their own trash by hand, and then handing it of to a recycling plant?
    something needs to be done about why this isn't happening... "the benefits need to be higher than the cost" I'm not so sure that this contraption would even relatively help this problem, but the consumer must get something out of the work they're doing; or the results will be minimal (as they are right now). Because "doing it for the better good" will not motivate everyone... (sadly)

    So, what can be done about this? --Charge the recycling plant money for the recyclables you give to them??? then their profits from selling the raw materials will be nil.
    I doubt that this will work.

    Ideas anyone?

    But people are interested! Almost 75 people have looked at this thread in less than 2 days!
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  6. Jul 9, 2008 #5

    taylaron

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    does anyone think that people would recycle more if they were to get paid for their effort (at the recycling plant)??
    or would the costs outweigh the benefits on the consumer side??
     
  7. Jul 20, 2008 #6

    taylaron

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    I certainly would.
     
  8. Jul 21, 2008 #7

    Redbelly98

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    Of course people would recycle more if they were paid to do it, but the money has to come from somewhere. This means either:
    1. Lower profits for the recycling plant, which they may not be willing to do, or
    2. The enterprise gets funded by a government, meaning higher taxes.

    In my county, people do recycle. We (individual people) sort recyclables into 2 groups, which can be loosely described as "paper goods" and "food containers". Any additional sorting gets done at the recycling facility.
     
  9. Jul 21, 2008 #8

    cristo

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    It would be impossible to pay people to recycle! I've started recycling a lot more since I've moved into my new house. The council used a very simple tactic: they make the rubbish bins smaller than the recycle bins then, if you want all your waste taking away, you ensure you recycle things. In fact it's very easy: there is just one recycling wheelie bin here that you just dump all paper, cardboard, glass, plastic bottles, cans etc.. into.
     
  10. Sep 16, 2008 #9

    taylaron

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    so all recyclable materials are tossed into one bin? how would they effectivly sort that out?
    glass, paper, plastic, etc.....
    this is very appealing apposed to multiple bins.
     
  11. Sep 17, 2008 #10

    LURCH

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    That's a lot better plan than the one they use in my sister's county (just outside fo Seattle). There, the authorities have the power to dig through your trash, and if they find anything that could have been recycled, they can fine you for littering. It's $500, just as though you had thrown it out your car window onto the highway!
     
  12. Sep 20, 2008 #11
    Does this machine consume energy? I hope not. My friend from Germany told me they have drawers/sorters for ALL kinds of materials. The country is trying to achieve 100% recycling. Now that's a commitment right there. And it can't be done by just the government alone, people have to commit as well.
     
  13. May 24, 2009 #12
    Sorry to bump the thread back to the top of the active discussion lists.

    I can't recall the exact reference, but I saw an article in the "Sun" about a fellow who had come up with a unit that sounds like what you're describing. The description claimed that it would sort all waste products into various categories (metals, plastics, paper, etc.) with no human supervision, as well as render all of the materials down into easily-transported units.

    To be fair, the unit in the photo looked large enough to handle the garbage/recycling for an entire apartment building, rather than an individual home.

    Getting people to recycle more may entail setting up some kind of infrastructure, in which the individuals offer their reclaimed raw materials for sale to middlemen, who buy the materials and transport them to manufacturing interests. The larger companies might not be interested in buying directly from individual homeowners, as accumulating a metric ton (sorry, my American accent is showing in print :biggrin: ) of waste paper, plastics, or whatnot could take quite some time, so the middlemen might be necessary. Larger apartment buildings or corporate office sites or similar buildings might be able to avoid the middlemen, depending mostly on how convincingly the middlemen present their offers. :rolleyes:

    Power requirements for such a system might be offset by hooking it up to a series of other systems, such as wind turbines, solar panels, and methane-furnaces. After all, regardless of whether or not a given area offers high potential for wind- or solar-power, humans and other animals will always produce... *ahem* methane.
     
  14. May 25, 2009 #13

    taylaron

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    good thought initiative, now its just an issue of convincing the public utilities to provide such an ideal service. that would be great!

    -Tay
     
  15. May 25, 2009 #14

    Pengwuino

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    Wait wait, what do you guys mean you can't get people to recycle even if you pay them to??? None of you guys turn in your plastics and cans to recycling centers and redeem them for money? Am I missing something? Maybe it's just not worth it anymore...
     
  16. May 25, 2009 #15

    russ_watters

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    It's a math problem: in order to pay people to recycle you'd first have to charge them to pay them to recycle. Net payment: zero.
    I didn't know that that was done anymore, since it is a huge waste of money. Sending a truck around to pick up the trash is far more efficient.

    Have you actually calculated your net profit after subtracting out the gas you burn (and fraction of maintenance costs) to take your recyclables to the recycling center?
     
  17. May 26, 2009 #16
    I submit that the equation needs a few extra factors:
    Cost of locating "pure" raw materials
    Cost of obtaining raw materials
    Cost of transporting raw materials to manufacturing centers
    Cost of processing materials into finished products (which may include several iterations, depending on the complexity of the finished product; automobiles have far more steps than, say, candy bars)
    Cost of shipping finished products to consumers (which may also include several stops and transportation modes)

    Recycling removes the first cost from this list, since the materials to be recycled would be delivered to recycling centers.
    Recycling reduces the second cost, since there's no need to build complicated machinery to extract petroleum, iron, aluminum or other materials from increasingly difficult depths; it's all right there in the recycling centers.
    Transporting recycled materials is less expensive than raw materials, because recycled materials generally don't need to be transported quite so far.
    The cost of reprocessing recycled materials is reduced in certain cases, usually metals. Recycling chemicals is more complex, depending on the processes involved, but recovering certain chemicals (such as phosphorus) remains a viable alternative to finding new sources of raw materials.
    Admittedly, the costs of transporting components to final assembly, and finished products to consumers remain the same. But it all adds up to savings when the entire process gets brought into consideration.

    This equation also could use a few extra factors, such as whether or not the consumers actually use petroleum-powered vehicles to take their recyclables to the centers. Enterprising folk with no other available options will push a shopping-cart-load of recyclables using their own foot-power. Others might use biodiesel-powered vehicles, and certain municipalities might incorporate that technology into their garbage-collection trucks.
    Admittedly, these options don't cover all the ones in use. You're right, quite a lot of people currently drive their recyclable materials to the recycling centers in petroleum-powered vehicles. But recycling remains a superior option to simply throwing everything away.

    But I'll let people who've really done their homework present an alternative opinion:
    http://www.sho.com/site/ptbs/previous_episodes.do?episodeid=s2/r
     
  18. May 26, 2009 #17

    Pengwuino

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    Yah I thought the point was they charge the nickle per can and bottle and what have you and to get that money back, you went to the recycling center to turn in your cans and bottles. So it was more of getting your money back instead of always losing it on the initial purchase of the drink.

    Yah this was back before the trucks but it still can be done now. It certainly was profitable. The recycling center is maybe 5 miles away from us and lets see, last i remember was you being able to comfortably fit $80 worth of cans in a truck and haul them over.

    Am I sounding like a hobo?
     
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