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Solarcentury

IKEA Is Now Selling Home Solar Power Systems

Solarcentury
Solarcentury

The United Kingdom is not known for its cheery weather, but that doesn’t mean its residents can’t benefit from the power of sunshine. IKEA stores are now offering home installation of solar power setups to their customers in the UK.

The move represents a substantial departure from the Swedish retail giant’s traditional offerings of tealights, spartan furnishings, and meatballs. To make it happen, IKEA teamed up with local energy firm Solarcentury, which has been creating sun-based power solutions for the rainy nation for almost two decades.

“Our business partnership with IKEA is a significant step forward for the renewable energy industry,” Susannah Wood, Solarcentury’s head of residential solar energy, said in a statement. “The cost of solar installations has dropped considerably in recent years and is in fact 100 times cheaper than it was 35 years ago.”

The folks at IKEA are equally excited.

“The energy of the future is going to be about millions of homes making energy, not big coal-fired power stations,” the flat-pack company's chief sustainability officer, Steve Howard, said in a video.

IKEA estimates that the average solar-powered home in the UK uses only 40 percent of the power it generates; the rest is sent back to the national grid. To help homeowners avoid this loss, the company offers battery storage systems in addition to the solar panels themselves.

“It’s not only about saving money, which is probably one of the main reasons to do it,” deputy retail manager Javier Quiñones said in the video above, “but also, for us, the more solar panels we put in the market, the more we will contribute to a better world.”

The company promises that customers will not have to assemble the solar panels themselves. No word yet on if and when they'll make their way into U.S. stores.

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PrintYourCity
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environment
Amsterdam is Turning Plastic Trash Into 3D-Printed Furniture
PrintYourCity
PrintYourCity

The city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is taking a unique approach to waste management, Inhabitat reports. Under the direction of The New Raw, a Rotterdam-based design studio, recycled plastic is being used to make public benches that capture a lot of the area’s charm while providing solutions for the 51 pounds of plastic refuse each Amsterdam resident tosses away each year.

The initiative is called Print Your City! and encourages those materials to be repurposed via 3D printing to make new, permanent fixtures. The New Raw calls it a “closed loop” of use, where the plastic is used, reused, and materialized in the same environment. The bench, dubbed XXX, seats two and rocks back and forth with the sitters' movements, offering a metaphor for the teamwork The New Raw is attempting to cultivate with the general public.

A plastic chair is surrounded by trash
Print Your City!

“Plastic has a major design failure,” says Panos Sakkas, an architect with The New Raw. “It’s designed to last forever, but it’s used only for a few seconds and then easily thrown away.”

The goal is to collect more plastic material in the city to use for projects that can be designed and implemented by citizens. In the future, 3D printing may also support bus shelters, waste bins, and playground material—all of it recyclable.

[h/t Inhabitat]

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To Encourage Responsible Trash Disposal, a Startup in Nigeria Pays People for their Waste
iStock
iStock

Nigeria is home to more than 180 million people, who produce more than 32 million tons of waste per year and just 20 to 30 percent of this garbage is collected, according to one estimate. To provide Nigerians with incentive to dispose of their trash responsibly, Junks, a Nigerian waste management startup, provides people with the chance to exchange their trash for cash, according to Konbini.

The company offers to pay for items and materials like discarded electronics, glass, plastic, aluminum, books, and clothes. Once purchased, these materials are re-sold to wholesalers and recycling companies, according to Techpoint. Potential users who want to sell their trash are required to register on the startup's website, Junks.ng, and fill out a form with a description of the trash they're selling, along with their asking price and contact information. Once this information is received, representatives from Junks are sent to pick up and pay for the waste.

Computer programmer Bradley Yarrow founded Junks.ng in August 2017. Based in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, Nigeria, the company currently has just three employees, in addition to Yarrow. That said, the tiny startup appears to be doing big business, judging from a growing list of sold junk—which includes laminating machines, old laptops, and scrap car parts—already listed on Junks.ng.

[h/t Konbini]

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