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This is the place to find clever ideas happening today. It’s real projects, businesses, and ideas in action. We believe in inspiring action by sharing clever ideas.

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97% of plastic bottles recycled

An industry-led scheme in Norway is credited with increasing plastic bottle recycling levels to 97 per cent. Consumers pay a small additional charge on each bottle they buy. When the bottle is returned either to the shop or a recycling machine, the deposit is refunded. Shops are given a small handling fee for taking the returned bottles. Recycling machines – often found in supermarkets – read the barcodes of the bottles and usually offer customers vouchers for the shop, or the option of making a charitable donation. www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-plastic-bottle-recycling-system-norway-adopt-ocean-pollution-latest-news-a8198761.html

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A simpler and more effective way to purify water

A new patented form of graphene, called Graphair, is an effective filter that supercharges water purification; making it simpler and faster. Researchers from the University of Sydney, UTS, QUT and Victoria University tested and analysed Graphair and its water purification qualities.They found that without Graphair, a membrane’s filtration rate halved in 72 hours, as contaminants clogged it. When the Graphair was added, the membrane didn’t clog, plus it filtered more contaminants and water. Graphair is made out of soybean oil, most often found in vegetable oil. So now there is a better, cheaper, water filter using a common cooking ingredient. This could mean proper, effective water filtration is in reach of developing world communities. https://blog.csiro.au/super-material-filters-sydney-harbour-water/

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A platform that connects food producers with the public

A startup in the UK called farmdrop delivers fresh food of your choice within 19 hours. This offer is different because all food is sustainably sourced, you can choose the producer, the producer gets the majority of the price rather than a supermarket and delivery is by all electric vans -which can be within one hour intervals. https://www.farmdrop.com/

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Free public transport to reduce road traffic

Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free. The proposal will be tested by the end of this year in five cities across western Germany, including former capital Bonn and industrial cities Essen and Mannheim. Countries that fail to keep to EU limits could face legal action at the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest tribunal, which can levy fines on member states. www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/germany-eyes-free-public-transport-to-banish-air-pollution?

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A new class of antibiotics to fight against drug resistant superbugs

Scientists trawling through thousands of soil samples have discovered a whole new class of antibiotics capable of killing drug-resistant bacteria. The chemical, which has been called malacidin, appears to be non-toxic in humans and effective in tackling the hospital superbug MRSA, raising hopes that it could be used to develop a new treatment. www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/new-type-of-antibiotic-discovered-in-soil-in-breakthrough-for-fight-against-drug-resistant-superbugs?

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A better way to provide clean drinking water

In a revolutionary breakthrough, a team of researchers have come up with a method to turn sea water into safe drinking water in a way that’s more energy efficient, economically sustainable and cost effective than current technologies. Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are an amazing next generation material that have the largest internal surface area of any known substance. The sponge like crystals can be used to capture, store and release chemical compounds. In this case, the salt in sea water. A just released paper found that membranes made out of MOFs can mimic the way cells allow specific atoms or molecules through to help them grow and survive, while stopping everything else. Known as “selective permeability” this allows cells – and now MOFs – to act as a filter. MOFs’ selective permeability means they’re designed at the molecular level to only let water pass. https://blog.csiro.au/ocean-glass-sucking-salt-sea/

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Sunglasses with facial recognition

Police officers in Zhengzhou, China have been spotted wearing sunglasses equipped with facial recognition software that allows them to identify individuals in a crowd. Not only do the surveillance glasses actually work, but they also work better — and faster — than traditional CCTV setups. Security footage is notoriously grainy, and even if cameras are being monitored in real-time, the lag between spotting someone who might be a person of interest and calling authorities can be enough time for that person to make a clean getaway. The sunglasses are connected to a handheld device that uses facial recognition software to compare who the wearer sees against a pre-loaded database packed with photos of 10,000 suspects. And it does so in just one tenth of a second. https://futurism.com/chinese-police-facial-recognition-glasses-surveillance-arsenal/

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A smart paint that cools your home

A new high-tech paint from SolCold that cools when exposed to sunlight could provide a better way to cool buildings and perhaps even solve the long-standing problem of cooling things in space. In hot weather, electricity consumption soars as people turn on the air conditioning, pushing the grid to its limits and raising energy bills. The SolCold technology uses a double-layered coating to reduce temperatures by up to 10 degrees C below those attained with traditional white paint coating. The paint has tested well in the lab, with some caveats-so far it works better on metal roofs than concrete, and is more successful over rooms with low ceilings than high ones. Although this paint is more expensive than standard options, it’s said to offer quite substantial energy savings- a decrease in energy consumption by up to 60 percent, while lasting 10 to 15 years before needing a new coat. The first clients are thus expected to come from the business world. www.solcold.com

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Fine dining with kids

Nibble+squeak hosts dining events for babies, toddlers, and young children. Their mission is to get new parents out, dining at restaurants they loved pre-kids. Their events are part of a broader effort to create more spaces in society where little ones are welcome and parents can relax. Since the events tend to take place either in a private room or before the restaurant opens to the public, they are an attractive proposition to restaurants because they provide a new source of revenue. www.fastcompany.com/40524680/this-startup-wants-to-make-dining-out-with-a-toddler-less-of-a-nightmare

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Getting in early with alzheimers

An international team of scientists have just completed the first step in developing a blood test that can predict whether you have an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s – working up to 20 years before symptoms develop. Two scientists from CSIRO helped validate the test… with the power of imaging and biostatistics. This research may translate into more efficient trials for treatment and prevention in coming years. https://blog.csiro.au/bloody-data-biostatistics-first-blood-test-alzheimers

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A road that charges your car

An embedded Qualcomm Halo™ in roadways, makes it possible to charge your electric vehicle on the go. With a limitless range, your car will be able to keep going long after you’re ready for a rest stop. Great for highways. It’s based on WEVC technology which allows cars to charge while parked, DEVC. — charging while driving — has been tested and proven. https://www.qualcomm.com/products/halo

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