Extreme Recycling: Toilets, Cigarette Butts And Dirty Nappies!

Our last couple of posts have looked at items that can be recycled in Australia. Meanwhile overseas, and even in space, some very unlikely items are getting the recycling treatment. Mind you, some of them require a pretty strong stomach.

Recycling urine to recover water is nothing new for astronauts. But wouldn’t it be nice to achieve the feat without using any power? NASA has tested a solution that can also be used with any earthly source of dirty or contaminated water.

Water recycling is a growing issue worldwide. During the London Olympics you were probably focused on the athletes and didn’t give a thought to the sewerage from the Park and Village that was treated and used to flush toilets and irrigate the grounds.

In New York, dumpster diving really comes to life when an old dumpster is converted into a swimming pool on Park Avenue. Maybe this is one place where it might be an idea not to use recycled sewerage. Another US city has turned to old toilets to gain a double benefit. The toilet bowls were diverted from landfill, and usefully put to work to make a walkway.

Amongst the more unusual items being recycled are cigarette butts. The remaining tobacco and paper are composted, and the cellulose acetate filter material blended with other recyclable plastics.

But we think this one takes the cake as the most surprising recyclable: dirty nappies. Your yuck meter probably just shot up into the red zone but this really is a fantastic idea. The “organic waste” gets dried and gasified to generate energy. The wood pulp and plastic end up in recycled paper or building materials. And with each baby getting though around 6,000 nappies each before they are toilet trained, there’s plenty of raw material to work with.

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