Technology: All-American Trash to Go

All-American Trash to Go

The customs agents at Geneva's airport have seen just about everything. But when ten heavy sacks arrived for Catrel, a Swiss industrial-research firm, they were a bit surprised. The contents of the shipment: 1,000 lbs. of grapefruit rinds, hamburger scraps, coat hangers and other junk discarded by California homeowners.

Culled from a San Diego dump, the trash was selected to represent a typical U.S. garbage can. Catrel will see how its new waste-treatment technology, which reduces garbage to pellets that can then be formed into building materials, will work on American trash. Reason: Catrel hopes to market the process in the...

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