Indoor farms could fine-tune the flavours of our food

In the future, produce could be grown directly in supermarkets or restaurants.

A new way to farm indoors using different wavelengths of light could boost the taste of fruits, salads and herbs, while also increasing food supply and nutritional value. Growing food inside brings many benefits to farmers by reducing the amount of land, fertilisers, energy and water needed to cultivate the plants. But it can come … Read more

Smart containers to reward people for recycling properly

Europe's waste plastic represents more than €10 billion in lost resources each year.

Smart recycling containers that reward people for proper use could help drive up the rate of plastic recycling, reducing the amount of plastic that goes into oceans and landfill, and creating business opportunities out of the challenge to cut back on waste. It’s part of a wave of innovations aiming to keep plastic circulating in the … Read more

Construction waste to be turned into gas masks and sports equipment

MDF is widely used in the walls of buildings and has so far proven hard to recycle.

Huge volumes of waste building materials that are discarded every year could be recycled into new products such as gas masks and sports equipment following research being conducted by scientists and recycling firms. Dr Kenny Vanreppelen, a renewable product researcher and founder of Belgian start-up Act&Sorb, set up the FibreCarb project to recycle waste fibreboard … Read more

Smart beehives and heat treatments could protect bees from decline

New technologies are being developed to protect beehives from theft, parasites and illnesses without the use of chemicals.

Since the mid-1980s, the number of bees in Europe has been in decline. Threatened by pesticides, insecticides and climate change, they are also being struck by infestations of mites and a crippling virus that deforms their wings. But new technology aims to take the sting out of the situation. The number of Varroa mites, a bee parasite, … Read more

Eco detergents – for greener whites in the airing cupboard

Giving enzymes in detergents and fabric softeners a microencapsulation can make them reusable.

by Rob Coppinger ‘Clean’ and ‘soft’ are words strongly associated with washing products and fabric softeners, and soon they are set to be described as ‘green’ too with less chemical waste and longer-lasting action. Of all modern conveniences, the humble washing machine is perhaps the greatest labour-saving device. Hours of dunking, scrubbing and wringing wet … Read more

Sticky tape and simulations help assess microplastic risk

Microplastics are considered the most common form of marine litter.

by Natalie Grover Tiny pieces of plastic, now ubiquitous in the marine environment, have long been a cause of concern for their ability to absorb toxic substances and potentially penetrate the food chain. Now scientists are beginning to understand the level of threat posed to life, by gauging the extent of marine accumulation and tracking … Read more