MVRDV designs a pair of L-shaped skyscrapers featuring cascading terraces and a green oasis

Dutch architecture studio MVRDV unveils its winning Oasis Towers development in Nanjing, China which is – a residential and commercial complex consisting of two L-shaped skyscrapers with cascading terraces! The skyscrapers feature an intriguing cliff-like facade and also face each other from the northern and southern corners. The 150m tall towers will be located at the edge of Jiangbei New Area Financial District.

Designer: MVRDV

The most interesting highlight of the towers is the lush green ‘oasis’ situated at the center of the site. This green landscape slowly moves outwards, and harmoniously integrates with the cascading terraces. “The contemporary architecture of Nanjing takes its inspiration from nature in form and appearance. With Oasis Towers we wanted to push this trend to the max – not only emulating nature with curving, stratified ‘cliffs’ but also to literally incorporate nature into the design with the greenery and by tapping into natural processes” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas.

The exterior of the towers is basically a gridded facade, which is interestingly contrasted by the inner facade that comprises of cascading terraces that give the impression of a rippling waterfall. The terraces are clad with recycled bamboo, and will be covered in trees and other greenery, and will slowly go on to form a natural perimeter around the oasis, functioning as an elevated extension of it.

A 3-4 story podium creates a protective perimeter around the site, separating it from the surrounding area, and bringing MVRDV’s vision of  “a haven for residents in a dense and rapidly developing part of the city” to life.

The oasis has been filled to the brim with trees and other greenery, and one can gaze at it from the shopping and commercial areas which are located from the ground floor to the third floor. This green space ensures privacy for the residents staying on the upper floors, ensuring the hustle and bustle of the shopping floors does not reach them. This sunken plaza connects both plots across the central road. It provides easy access to the metro station which is located beneath the towers.

As green as Oasis Towers is, it’s also been jampacked with sustainability. The rooftops are non-accessible and have been planted with diverse species of plants to promote biodiversity. Rooftop reed beds have been installed as a greywater recycling system to filter and clean water. Also, a water-source heat pump is supported by an adjacent river to reduce energy consumption.

MVRDV’s sustainable and green vision for Oasis Towers is already giving us goosebumps, and we cannot wait to watch it come to life.

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Plastplan uses recycled plastic materials, transforms them into useful everyday objects

The Plastplan is a design studio that focuses on using recycled materials that are mainly plastic. The company has developed machines that can be used for recycling.

The design studio based in Iceland aims to help make a sustainable planet by resolving society’s excessive use of plastic. It may not achieve the ultimate solution but every little effort matters when it comes to the planet’s future. With the idea that recycled plastic has potential, Plasplan combines the concepts of product designers Björn Steinar and Brynjólfur. With the latter’s background in mechanical engineering and computer science, the pair can work on a collection of household goods and furniture items made solely made from recycled plastic.

Designer: Plastplan

Plastplan Process

The Plastplan team has kept building and designing machines and processes to recycle plastic with the primary goal of using them and creating new objects. In Iceland, recycled plastic has been a problem; that’s why companies are looking for ways to reduce waste and make actual and useful products.

Initially, Plastplan was formed as the founders wanted to start an educational platform where plastic is discussed. It’s not just about the proper use or disposal of plastic. It’s about making it go full circle, as per Björn Steinar. The circular economy of plastics starts with shredded plastic and then transforms into real objects.

Plastplan Overview

Plastplan Mirror and Lamp

Plastplan’s system includes machines based on Precious Plastic designs comprising. This includes injection and extrusion machines, shredders, and a sheet press. The studio also has developed its own industrial 3D printer that allows them to print large-scale items without spending on molds.

The Plastplan team continues to work hard by serving nine other companies. Their plastic trash is picked up, recycled, and then turned into regular, valuable products like a stool, chair, pot, vase, lamp, etc. However, plastic recycling is not really easy and enjoyable for most people. First, there is the sorting of the plastic into seven categories.

Plastplan Flower Pots

Plastplan has worked with Icelandair on this project. The end product is a luggage tag made out of plastic. We can expect more related objects or designs will be introduced like the “Everyday” collection. The series includes a wall shelf, chair, stool, mirror, coffee table, table lamp, and flower vases.

Plastplan Vases

Plastplan Design Process

We have seen similar sustainable efforts especially involving plastic. We remember that OO STOOL X PLASTICIET and the Cyanofabbrica Sunglasses. The Base Plastic Project is ideal for public places. We also can’t forget those topographic 3D objects that make use of ocean plastic waste.

Plastplan Chair

Plastplan Shelf Details

Plastplan Stools

Plastplan Wall Shelf

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3D-printed artificial reefs made from cremains are designed to regenerate marine biodiversity

Resting Reefs is a system of artificial reefs that are 3D-printed from the cremated ashes of passed-over loved ones.

Spreading the ashes of relatives who’ve passed over across the ocean is a beautiful way to memorialize loved ones. While the symbolism behind it is the point of tossing your loved ones’ ashes into the wind, Royal College of Art graduates Louise Lenborg Skajem and Aura Elena Murillo Pérez developed a means to still memorialize our passed-over loved ones while regenerating endangered ecosystems in the process. Resting Reef, a line of artificial reefs made from cremated ashes using 3D technologies, marks the culmination of Lenborg Skajem’s and Murillo Pérez’s studies at RCA.

Designers: Louise Lenborg Skajem and Aura Elena Murillo Pérez

Working with the remains of deceased animals instead of human ashes, the design duo combined animal bones with pulverized oyster shells and a binder to create a composite to be 3D-printed into stippled mounds that resemble underwater reefs. While the designers are still testing their formulas, “it will contain a binder like a low-carbon cement suitable for marine environments.”

The 3D-printed mounds offer ideal growing conditions for oysters by mimicking the form and natural growing scheme of ​​stromatolite reefs, which are formed from microorganisms like blue-green algae. Forming the cremated ashes into solid reef mounds also allows surviving family members to visit their loved ones’ eternal resting places.

Built to prevent natural and human-induced erosion, protect shorelines from the natural elements, and regenerate native biodiversity, Resting Reef transforms traditional funeral services into preservational burial methods that protect marine life. Putting the customizable process in their own words, the design duo explains, “The way they grow is in layers, which is very similar to how oyster shells grow. We are using 3D printers to bio-mimic similar layers and ridges that are ideal for small marine organisms to attach to.”

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Bioclimatic dorms provide safe housing for young students in Peru

The Santa Elena student residence is a new bioclimatic dormitory for students living in the rural areas of Peru’s central jungle.

For children living in the rural areas of Peru’s central jungle, a typical walk to school might consist of a two to five-hour commute that takes them down one of the area’s few access routes. Traversing rough terrain and dangerous obstacles to get to school, the students attending the area’s secondary school hail from 16 different neighboring communities.

Designer: Semillas

Community-built, makeshift dormitories provided children with a place to sleep but were built in breach of the minimum hygiene and safety conditions. Semillas, a nonprofit organization based in Lima, designed and constructed an expandable, bioclimatic student residence for children to have access to education and a comfortable place to live.

Merging with the secondary school’s existing living quarters, Semillas’ Santa Elena student residence remains minimalist by design. Defined by the OSB wood panels that divide the dorm’s living quarters and common spaces, the wood framing remains exposed inside and outside the building.

With the hope for future expansion, the new student residence is also modular and systemic. The modular makeup of the dormitories also allows for plenty of bioclimatic elements that keep students comfortable amidst changing seasons and weather. Fixed mosquito netting envelops the building to stave pesky bugs off. Then, cross ventilation is achieved through openings located on opposite ends of the building.

The new student residence is organized into three functional macro-areas: school, residential units, and outdoor spaces. The existing school hosts common spaces, encouraging collaboration between students. A multipurpose room is also housed in the school, which adapts to different needs throughout the day, transforming from a dining area to a recreation room.

The residential units meet the hygienic and safety guidelines for young students, equipped with sanitary facilities and sleeping areas. The sanitary facilities are operated by rainwater collection tanks positioned on the roof and septic tanks recycle water through underground pipeline systems. Students find their sleeping accommodations in eight-person dorms and teachers enjoy smaller two-person bedrooms.

Septic tanks and rainwater collection systems provide clean water for students. 

The transparent windows can be opened for natural-cross ventilation throughout the building. 

Underground tanks run beneath the residence to transfer water into an internal reservoir. 

The OSB wood panels provide a uniform, minimalist look.

The school combines common spaces with its hallways to encourage student collaboration. 

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How to sell your used and unwanted gadgets

It’s new-phone season again, between all the announcements at Mobile World Congress last month and the inevitable release of new iPhones and Pixels looming in the fall. Which means you'll be faced with a hard choice: upgrade or stick it out another year with your current device. The annual cycle of new flagship handset releases can be a little tough on your wallet, though, which is why you might want to offset the cost by putting your old device up for sale. But which trade-in service will yield you the biggest bang for your buck? And how much of a pain will it be? We've rounded up some of the leading contenders for offloading your old electronics. Not just phones, either — perhaps you have an old laptop that isn't quite cutting it anymore, or maybe you've got some other stuff sitting in the closet collecting dust.

Trade-in sites


If you're looking for the littlest hassle and want your money as soon as possible, there are plenty of sites that will automate the trade-in process. You'll select your device from a list, get a quote within a minute and send the device back for cash in a matter of days.


Decluttr definitely lives up to its name. Not only can you sell phones from a number of manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and HTC, but the site also takes lots of physical media, including CDs, DVDs, video games and books. For devices, you'll be asked for a general assessment of its condition, and given a quote immediately. Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping label. Decluttr also reaches back pretty far like with sales of the iPhone 6, though it'll offer you only $5 for an 16GB model in good condition.


uSell operates as a broker, searching other sites for their best offers on a given device and taking care of the rest. Like most buyback sites, it's big on iPhones, but you can still sell off other manufacturers' devices; it really depends on who's buying them at that point. The selection is a bit of a grab bag — newer phones like the Galaxy S21 aren't listed, though you can get a quote for the iPhone 11 ($305 for an unlocked, “flawless” 64GB model). Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping kit to send out your phone, and you can get paid for the item via PayPal or an old fashioned check.


If you don't want to have to worry about packaging up your old device and mailing it off, or would like to receive your payout right away, there's always ecoATM. It's literally there in the name: an automated machine that you place your device into and it examines the handset and pays you on the spot. It accepts the biggest brands (i.e., Apple and Samsung), along with devices from a wide variety of manufacturers, including LG, Motorola and ZTE. If the machine determines that your device isn't worth anything at all, you can still use ecoATM to responsibly recycle your old gadget. You'll find ecoATM kiosks in Walmart stores and malls across the country.


While browsing Amazon listings, it’s likely you’ve come across products marked as “refurbished.” Well, if you’ve ever wondered where those come from, a lot of them likely hail from Amazon’s trade-in program. The company will put its own products, like Kindle readers and Fire tablets front and center, but you can also send in phones and gaming products in for an Amazon gift card as well. It’s not great if you want cash, but if you’re looking to upgrade an Amazon device this option is your best bet, as trading in an older device also nets you a 20 percent discount in addition to the store credit.


This is a good option if you’re looking to upgrade to a newer Apple device. You can trade in iPhones, iPads, Macs and even Apple Watches. That’s notable as wearables are a device category you don’t often see on trade-in sites. Apple will even take your old Android phone if you were thinking of making the switch. The trade-in values are on par with other sites, and you can get your payout in the form of a gift card instead if you’d rather wait before making a new purchase, put it toward media purchases or even just use it in an Apple Store. Which, by the way, also accepts trade-ins in case you’re not comfortable shipping your old but still expensive device.


The nice thing about It’sWorthMore is that its on-site forms handle a larger variety of gadgets than other sites, incorporating companies such as Microsoft, Sonos and even GoPro in addition to standards like Apple, Samsung and Google. You’ll answer a few standard questions about your device’s condition and whether you still have the original box — obviously, the more you’ve kept from the original packaging, the better. You’ll then get a ballpark estimate of its worth and a prepaid shipping label to print out. Once your device is received you’ll generally receive the assessment and payment via check, PayPal or Zelle within two to three business days.


The appeal of BuyBackWorld is that device assessment is a streamlined process: Instead of having to answer a barrage of detailed questions for your device you can just give it a general assessment and let the site handle the rest. Just like with It’sWorthMore, BuyBackWorld will provide a printable shipping label in your confirmation email but, if you don’t have a printer or boxes to pack your device up, you can always have the site send you a free shipping kit, which can handle every gadget the site takes except desktop computers.


If you’ve read through the other site descriptions, GadgetGone’s modus operandi should be familiar: To sell a product, you’ll have to answer a few questions about what type of device you have and what condition it’s in, after which the site will generate a prepaid shipping label. At least here you can find brands like OnePlus included among the options, and you can also sell MacBooks and Mac Minis here. The site’s biggest gimmick is that you can also send in photos of your pets; you won’t get any additional money but your fur baby (or scaled or feathered friend) may be featured on social media.

Store trade-ins

C1YC8B A GameStop video game store in the Herald Square shopping district in New York gamestop; videogames; shopping; electronic

Sometimes you need your money right now, or just don't want to trust your device to the vagaries of various shipping companies. There are a few nationwide retailers that accept trade-ins for cash or store credit. Additionally, wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint will all give you credit toward a new phone.

Best Buy

Best Buy also offers trade-ins both by mail and in-store — with more than 1,000 locations, this might be extremely convenient for you. You fill out the form online and bring that to customer service. It's easy, but there's one big downside: You can get your payout only via a Best Buy gift card. This is great if you spend a lot of money with them anyway, but less good if you really need cash.


GameStop is infamous for buying games back at ridiculously low prices and flipping them at near retail, but don't let that stop you from making some quick cash when you need to quickly clear your closet of old electronics and games. And yes, I said cash: GameStop offers store credit, a Visa prepaid card or actual money if you want to take your bounty elsewhere. For example, you can trade in Animal Crossing for the Switch and get $21 in store credit or $17 cash, which isn't bad when new copies are going for $50 on Amazon. GameStop also accepts phones and connected home devices, though the prices aren't going to match what you'd get from an online trade-in site.

Consumer to consumer

eBay Introduces Boxing Weekend On Dec. 26 and 27 At Eight Westfield Malls Across The Country, Making It Even Easier For Consumer

Sometimes you prefer to cut out the middleman and get a bit more personal — a transaction where you're selling your device directly to another person instead of letting a faceless site flip it for you as a "refurbished" unit. In those cases, you want a site that's more user-to-user, though a few will still automate certain bits to make your sale as smooth as possible.


Swappa is a marketplace site, which means sellers can set their own price. So if you're getting rid of a newer phone, this is probably the best way to go — the iPhone 13 fetches around $729, for example. That's a huge improvement over what you'd get selling through a site like Decluttr, which is offering only $506 for a 128GB unit.


When shopping on Amazon, you've probably been tempted by some of those marketplace deals in the past and, chances are, if you list an item on there, someone will give your old device a look. Since almost everyone on earth seems to have an Amazon account, your potential customer base is huge, and it costs only $0.99, plus a percentage based on category, to sell an item through the site. The downsides are that Amazon isn't really optimized for individual sales; you'll be competing with wholesale companies and even bots that will tweak the price of a product automatically in response to the competition.


eBay is sort of the Wild West of sales sites, but the biggest advantage is that you can sell anything there and hopefully find a buyer, regardless of how old a product is. Even so, the site has come a long way in the past decade or so, adding structured categories that can help lead customers to your product — for phones, you can search by network, color or storage capacity, and even filter for features like 4K video or fingerprint sensors.

In the end, it still works as it always did: You list a product and set an end date for the listing with a minimum price, or just set a "Buy It Now" price if you don't want to wait to see how an auction turns out. Chances are you already have an eBay account with a feedback score, so there's no extra setup required on your part. Your first 50 listings are free every month, and you'll pay 10 percent of the purchase price only if an item sells. The biggest downside is that you're competing with a lot more sellers, and chances are there's always someone willing to undercut you on price.

Cash-back comparison

Ultimately, the site you go with should be whatever's most useful and convenient, but if you just care about how much money you'll end up with, we've priced out a few recent flagship handsets just to give you an idea of what each site offers. We've also thrown in the Xbox One X, because it might be time to sell yours off and finally upgrade to an Xbox Series X.

All phone prices are for the lowest storage capacity, either 64GB or 128GB. The prices are for the unlocked models when available, or the carrier where it's being traded. These are only estimates, and were valid the day this post was written. Prices will fluctuate daily or, in the case of sites like Amazon and eBay, hourly.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G

Google Pixel 5

Xbox One X (1TB)




































Best Buy






$369 cash / $461 credit

$252 cash / $315 credit


$188 cash / $237 credit































If you were looking to sell some games, we've also got a shorter list, because not every site accepts game trade-ins. GameStop will offer you more money than what's listed below if you're a member of its Elite or Elite Pro programs.

Battlefield 2042 (Xbox Series X/S)

Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)

Pokémon Legends Arceus (Switch)






$1.76 cash / $2 credit


$26 cash / $33 credit









Once you've picked a site and listed your item, there are a few important things to remember before you ship off your device. The most important, when disposing of a phone or laptop or any other device containing personal data, is to do a full factory reset of your device. That also means turning off "Find My iPhone" and the activation lock on iOS devices. See if you can unlock the phone, too; you'll actually get more money selling a carrier-free device. And finally, make sure you've backed up any important data you may have, like contact info, game save data and, of course, photos. Cash is great, but it won't save your memories.

Images: Mike Blake / Reuters (ecoATM); Alamy (Gamestop); Getty Images for eBay (eBay)

How to recycle your used and unwanted gadgets

You're probably used to sorting your garbage into bins: green for paper or blue for plastic and glass. But when it comes to electronics, we're still used to selling those off or tossing them into the trash heap. Unfortunately, our gadget addiction has real consequences for the planet, making it imperative that we dispose of everything responsibly.

Sure, you can try parting with your stuff for cash, but it's a pain, and it can be tough, if not impossible, to find someone who wants a busted Xbox or 20-year-old CRT. Few places have curbside pickup — in fact, some localities make it illegal to leave electronics for the garbage collectors — so you're going to have to find a reputable center to take it. We've gathered some of the resources to help you dispense of your broken and unwanted computers, televisions and any other gadget flotsam that's been taking up space in your closet.

National chains

Scrap metal, iron and computer dump for recycling or safe disposal. Ulsan, South Korea.

There is no national electronics recycling law at this time, so you won't find any federal programs to assist you with getting rid of old devices. The USPS does run a program for federal agencies and their employees, but it's not available to the general public. Instead, the rest of us have to rely on nationwide retailers to toss out our old stuff.

Best Buy

Best Buy has more than 1,000 locations in the United States, so it's likely you have one nearby where you can drop stuff off. You just need to take it to the customer service counter. They'll issue you a receipt too, but keep in mind that you can't claim the drop-off as a deduction on your taxes because Best Buy isn't a charity.

You can even recycle televisions and monitors, though you'll be charged a fee of $30 per item to cover the higher costs of transporting and disassembling them. (Consumers in California are not charged the $30 fee, while locations in Connecticut and Pennsylvania will not accept televisions at all.) If you're turning in a printer, you’ll get up to a $50 voucher toward the purchase of a new Epson EcoTank printer.

Also be aware that Best Buy limits you to three items per household per day, including up to two televisions.


Recycling your stuff at Staples is similar to Best Buy — just bring your products to the customer-service counter. But it’s more limited in that you can only bring in seven items a day, and the store won’t accept televisions at all. Staples Rewards members also receive a small credit of $2 for every used ink cartridge they turn in, up to 20 a month.

Office Depot

Office Depot has more than 1,300 locations, but unlike Staples and Best Buy, it won't recycle your old gadgets for free. If you're only getting rid of a few phones or batteries, those can be turned in at no charge. For everything else, you must purchase a Tech Recycling Box, which costs $5, $10 or $15 depending on the size. Once you have the box, you can fill it with as many items as you want, provided they all fit inside, including smaller televisions. So it's a great deal if you have a lot of stuff you want to dispose of. These can be turned in either in person or by mail.

Home Depot and Lowes

You can dispose of old rechargeable batteries, old phones and CFL bulbs in the dropoff boxes at any of 2,300 Home Depot or 2,200 Lowe’s locations. The bins are usually located in the front of the store, and Home Depot has an 11-pound limit on individual items.


Stack of old, broken and obsolete laptop computer

If you can't make it to a retail location, especially when you need to get rid of only one or two items, many companies offer recycling programs for their own products. They'll even pay for shipping. Some run their own programs while others use outside organizations. We've outlined policies from a handful of manufacturers below.


While Amazon would love to direct you to its trade-in program, you're probably reading this post because there's stuff you can't sell, and for those items Amazon offers mail-in recycling. You can send in your busted Kindles, Fire TVs and even Dash Buttons, as well as select peripherals like keyboards and mice. You'll just need to fill out some forms online and generate a shipping label, which you can slap on any box. Drop it off at a UPS location, and you're good to go; Amazon will cover all the costs.



If your iPhone or MacBook is still in good shape, you should consider selling it, but if it's old or beat up you can still score a gift card by turning it into Apple's recycling program. For iPhones, iPad and Apple Watches you'll be asked to fill out a form attesting to the product's condition and given a trade-in quote, with a working iPhone 5 going for $35 and an iPhone 7 Plus scoring you $315. For Macs, you'll be asked to provide a serial number as well. Though Apple won't give you cash for anything it deems old or unacceptable, you can still mail it in or bring it to any Apple Store so it can be responsibly disposed of.


Dell offers drop-off recycling via a partnership with Goodwill. Not every location participates, but there are more than 2,600 that do. And, because it's a charity, you may even be able to deduct it as a donation on your taxes. Dell also has a mail-back program on its site where you can generate a shipping label and drop the package off at a FedEx location instead.


You can ship old products back to Epson by simply creating a shipping label on its site and dropping it off at a FedEx location. Or just drop it off at a Best Buy location for a $30 or $50 voucher toward a new Epson printer.


If you can, HP recommends taking its products to the nearest Best Buy. But if that's not feasible, the company participates in a program that will even buy back some items. You'll be asked to fill out a form with the make, model and condition, and the recycler will email you a prepaid shipping label to mail the package within 30 days. If you're doing a buyback you'll receive a paper check in the mail. Because this isn't an in-house program with HP, you can also send in items from other companies — check the drop-down list for firms like Canon and Toshiba as well as more obscure and out-of-business manufacturers.

Other manufacturers

Many other companies use outside recyclers to dispose of their products, and you'll often see the same names popping up again and again across different manufacturers. This should simplify things in some cases — you should be able to send in products from multiple sources in one package. You just need to fill in the make and model to generate a prepaid shipping label. However, different states have different rules on what you can return, so the drop-downs for selecting your product may vary by area.

Two major recycling companies you'll notice a lot are RLGA, which covers Acer, Canon, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft and Motorola, and MRM, which recycles products for Alcatel, BlackBerry, Barnes & Noble (nook), TCL and Toshiba.


Electronics Recycling

Cell phones are the easiest gadget to recycle — if you haven't already decided to sell yours off on eBay or via sites like Decluttr and ecoATM. But, if you can't or won't make some cash off of it, you can send it to:

Call2Recycle, which has drop-off centers all over the country in many chain stores, including Lowes and Home Depot. It will also accept rechargeable batteries.

Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts phones in any condition and sells them to refurbishers or recyclers. The proceeds go toward purchasing phone cards for troops so they can call their friends and family back home. To be clear, the phones are not given directly to the soldiers.

The four major US carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — all offer free recycling. You can trade in your old device in-store or send it in for a credit toward a new phone, or let them straight up recycle it. AT&T also participates in Cell Phones for Soldiers.

If you do decide to try your luck with ecoATM to see if your old phone is still worth a few bucks and it turns out it's worth nothing, you can at least rest easy knowing that the company will also recycle your phone responsibly.


computer parts for electronic recycling

There may not be a national law dictating that you must recycle your electronics, but at least 26 states have passed rules that vary widely on what they demand of manufacturers and consumers. Almost all states that do collect products for recycling provide this service free, with the bill footed by the companies in some way. Most provide some local programs to help you get rid of your stuff, regardless of whether recycling your gadgets is required or optional.

States where you can no longer dispose of electronics in the regular trash and must recycle them include: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

The following states have laws requiring manufacturers to pay for recycling, but you, the consumer, are not actually required to recycle your electronics: Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

The following states have some special circumstances worth noting:

Connecticut: Does not allow recycling centers to charge you a fee for turning in electronics, so many organizations and retailers that would usually charge for recycling televisions and monitors do not accept them. Because you cannot dispose of them curbside, you can take them to a municipal transfer station for free.

New York: If you live in a New York City apartment building with 10 or more units, contact your landlord about getting an ecycleNYC drop-off box installed in your building. It’s super convenient and free.

Pennsylvania: Does not allow retailers to charge you a fee to recycle, so places like Best Buy and Staples will not accept televisions or monitors. Many recycling centers have also closed as a result of underfunding. Some nonprofit recyclers may still accept the items, and you should check to see if your local government is hosting any drop-off events. Lancaster and Dauphin Counties also still run civic recycling programs.

Virginia: This state does not have a dedicated statewide recycling program, but some localities run their own programs including Fairfax, Loudoun and Rockbridge counties, and cities like Arlington. Check each municipality’s site for details.

This self-watering indoor planter is constructed from porous materials to prevent the spread of mold

Mate is a self-watering indoor planter constructed from porous materials with a water basin that allows plants to deliver water to their roots at their own pace.

Indoor planters have taken off in recent years, mostly due to how much more time we’re spending at home. While you can’t beat a home garden, indoor planters and gardens offer a unique alternative for those who’d prefer a bit of green to spruce up their living room or access to fresh herbs and vegetables for cooking in the kitchen.

Designer: Umberto Calle

Self-watering indoor planters use a method of irrigation called sub-irrigation that delivers water directly to the plant’s roots, allowing plants to drink water at their own pace. Italian product and industrial designer Umberto Calle found functionality through simplicity with his self-watering indoor planter called Mate.

Comprised of only four pieces, Mate hosts a transparent bottom that functions as the device’s water basin for the upper layers to absorb from when needed. Users need only fill the water basin when levels are too shallow and then the plant’s roots drink from this reservoir whenever necessary. Fastening into this bottom layer, Calle designed an outer pot to cover the main planter, which works to supply the soil with plenty of air.

The main planter locks into the outer pot and carries the soil for the crops. Alternatively, the outer pot can lock into place above the main planter to make room for larger plants, augmenting the device’s size from 1.5 to 15 L. At the base of it all, Mate has a removable button that detaches the non-stick cake pan to initiate the reporting process.

Many self-watering planters currently on the market are known to cause root rot because of the material used to construct them. Mate is made from porous materials like clay and concrete to allow for breathable plant cultivation. To prevent the widespread mold problem that most indoor planters face, Calle chose porous building material specifically to divide the water and air flows.

Comprised of only four pieces, Mate is built to do the hard of plant cultivation so all you have to do is show some love. 

Mate comes in two sizes, 1.5L and 15L.

The main water basin collects water for plants to drink from and nourish their roots when needed. 

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The Best of MWC 2022 – Product Design in a Mobile World

The Mobile World Congress this year is unsurprisingly filled with phones and Metaverse references, but producers and consumers are thankfully becoming more aware of the deeper impact these products have in our lives and on the planet.

Next to CES, MWC is an auspicious time for companies to show off their wares, especially those related to smartphones, tablets, and even the new “Metaverse.” Despite the onslaught of COVID-19 since 2020, the smartphone market shows no signs of declining, at least to a significant degree. After two years, MWC 2022 sees a return to face-to-face exhibits and interactions that almost feels surreal given previous events. It’s not as jam-packed and as frantic as before, but that’s not the only thing that’s different this year. There’s also an increased consciousness of the role that thoughtful product design plays in improving people’s lives, both directly and indirectly through sustainable products.

Like every year, a few of these designs and products manage to grab our attention more strongly than others. Some through their design, others through their commitment to the environment, while others are just plain fun or useful. Without further ado, here is Yanko Design’s Top 8 picks for MWC 2022, ranked!

1. OPPO Find X5 Pro

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some smartphones are regarded to be beautiful, mostly from the standpoint of people who love gadgets and tech products. They are well-designed, of course, but few would probably be standout to a designer as a thing of beauty. The OPPO Find X5 Pro breaks out of the mold in more ways than one.

The phone’s design takes minimalism to heart without going overboard and ditching features. The cameras are still there, but they aren’t as in your face as most camera bumps are these days. The structure rises so smoothly and so softly from the surface of the phone, like a dune in a desert after a sandstorm. You have a single continuous form that looks and feels unbroken, even with the camera holes and branding.

OPPO’s choice of ceramic material also brings joy to the hands. The white colorway exudes an atmosphere of peace, while the black finish pulls you into its dark depths and into a meditative state. Both are sleek and clean, even if the black does become a fingerprint magnet. Wiping off those smudges can itself even become a mindfulness practice.

What makes the OPPO Find X5 Pro’s understated beauty even more compelling is its relevance. We live very busy lives in an ever-changing world that’s still recovering from two chaotic years. Smartphones have become our faithful companions and weapons in navigating this world, but they have also become sources of stress and, in some cases, addiction. OPPO’s “futuristic” design actually goes back in time and back to the basics, offering an oasis of calmness and comfort for the eyes, the hands, and the mind.

Designer: OPPO

2. Realme GT2

Realme gets the silver medal for the GT2 and GT2 Pro phones not in the uniqueness of their designs but for the boldness of their statement. True, the Paper White and Paper Green models of these phones do have unique patterns and textures that try to recreate the look and feel of paper, but that pales in comparison to the message that the design is trying to send.

Taking inspiration from paper and other sustainable materials, Realme adopted a bio-based polymer to create the shell of these two colorways. Although the phone is far from being recyclable, the novel material significantly reduces the carbon emission overhead of producing these phones. The Realme GT2 is only the second of two phones boasting a TCO 9.0 certification for its positive impact on the environment.

This bio-based polymer might be a one-off thing, but Realme is at least making a lot of noise about its other efforts to create a greener tomorrow. Like many smartphone makers these days, it is reducing the amount of plastic in its packaging and increasing its use of sustainable materials. With the Realme GT2 series, it’s also committing to planting a tree for every phone sold. As one of the fastest-growing smartphone brands in the market, it has a big responsibility in creating awareness and doing its part to help protect the environment. It deserves major props for getting the ball rolling in this arena.

Designer: Naoto Fukasawa for Realme

3. TCL Ultra Flex

Foldable phones are going to be around for a while, even if they won’t become the future. The new experiences it enables are both exciting and challenging, especially for designers. We’re still a few hundred steps away from the perfect foldable screen, which makes it the perfect time for designers and manufacturers to play around with new ideas and test out prototypes.

Samsung and LG aren’t the only ones having fun with deformable screens, of course. TCL is right up there with some even crazier ideas that actually become working prototypes. It hasn’t sold any of that technology yet, though, or at least the flexible screens it has been developing. That gives it at least more time and leeway to bring more ideas to light, including this one it showed off at MWC 2022.

Foldable phones seem to have adopted Samsung’s “innie” design, where the flexible screen folds inward like a book, protected by the phone’s external frame. It’s not the only way to fold, of course, but it is currently the winner, despite requiring an extra screen on the outside to make the phone usable even when folded. Some think that allowing a screen to fold in and out would be the ideal option, leaving the owner to decide which method is best, and that’s exactly what the TCL Ultra Flex tries to do.

As a prototype, it’s not exactly the prettiest nor the most usable, but it does try to prove that it can be done. Of course, there remain many questions about its durability, not to mention its economy, but there’s plenty of time for the company to figure that out. Once it does, TCL will have the opportunity to shape the foldable device market and, consequently, shape the new experiences that these devices will offer.

Designer: TCL

4. Huawei MatePad Paper

Tablets are making a comeback, especially from the Android side. These increasingly larger slates are getting more powerful to the point that they are being positioned as laptop replacements. Tablets, however, do have new competition in the form of more powerful and more talented e-book readers, often called eReaders. Huawei, however, is putting a different spin on that idea and is targeting a very specific and probably niche market.

The Huawei MatePad Paper does come with the trappings of a typical e-book reader, one that uses the popular E-Ink display to give your eyes and the device’s battery a well-deserved reprieve. What makes this new contender different is that reading is actually just its secondary purpose. Its primary goal is to replace your paper notebook instead.

That is definitely a tall order, especially with so many expectations coming from die-hard pen and paper users. You can really only do so much to try and replicate the feel of pen or pencil writing on a material like paper using a plastic stylus nib and glass. Huawei has made a good approximation, but the MatePad Paper’s features try to make up for whatever flaw there is in that experience.

The Huawei MatePad Paper is designed primarily to be a notebook, and the software it has reflects that purpose. In addition to typical note-taking, it even has features for creating your own digital journal and copying content directly from a Huawei laptop. It can also record audio while you’re jotting down notes and play it back later when you need more than just a visual reminder. Its lightweight and portable design makes it an almost perfect companion to keep your design ideas and references, and its simpler functions, at least compared to a tablet, leave very little room for distractions as well.

Designer: Huawei

5. HTC Viverse

The Metaverse is everywhere, at least when it comes to marketing and buzzwords. Just like the early days of the cloud, the term is still a bit hard to qualify and quantify in its current form. This, of course, leaves the doors wide open for any interpretation, implementation, and vision. Despite its name, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, doesn’t have a monopoly on the Metaverse (at least not yet), and its rival in the VR space is putting down some stakes on the ground to claim a bit of that space.

HTC’s Viverse is still a work in progress, but its ambition is no less grand than others. Its Vive VR platform already laid the groundwork for some Metaverse-compatible experiences, like holding events and meetings in virtual worlds. It is also envisioning more interactive experiences, like buying or paying for goods using cryptocurrencies and, of course, buying NFT art.

What makes the Viverse more encompassing is that HTC isn’t stopping with its Vive VR platform. Ideally, the Metaverse experience will extend to almost any device with a screen, like a smartphone, a tablet, or even a computer with a web browser. Without this seamless cross-platform experience, the Metaverse will be limited to a few people that have no problems wearing headsets or eyewear all the time, which doesn’t really sound Metaverse-like.

Designer: HTC Vive

6. Lenovo ThinkPad X13s

Let’s face it, most laptop designs don’t exactly excite, especially when they look like any other laptop in the market. Although there are a few that do stand out, they are far and few in between. When Lenovo announced a host of new laptops at MWC 2022 this week, we almost gave it a pass, but one new entry piqued our curiosity in more ways than one.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s has the distinction of being the first ThinkPad to be powered by an ARM Snapdragon processor, a glowing recommendation considering the strength of Lenovo’s brand. With the attention that Apple’s M1 chip has been getting since it launched, there has been a great deal of interest in seeing more Windows laptops running on this platform.

What this means for designers is that the ThinkPad X13s will last longer than most other laptops on a single charge. This translates to longer working times away from a power outlet and more freedom to work the way they want. There are still some problems with app compatibility with Windows on ARM, but staples like Adobe’s suite and ZBrush are completely supported already.

The ThinkPad X13s also has a rather intriguing design that could be best described as a “reverse notch.” Instead of going the way of the latest MacBook Pro, Lenovo opted instead to have a bit of a lip at the top of the screen to accommodate the camera and security hardware. That said, the bezels around the screen are still on the thick side, so there doesn’t seem to be anything gained from that unusual design.

Designer: Lenovo

7. Prinker

We’ve already seen the Samsung-backed Prinker make its debut back in CES 2022 last January, and it has returned to once again show how well-thought design can also be fun and whimsical. Basically a handheld inkjet printer in the shape of a gigantic ink cartridge, Prinker offers almost endless fun in putting temporary tattoos on almost any part of your body.

What makes this product special is that it combines existing ideas and technologies in a way that creates a totally new experience, the marks of a great product design. Plus, it’s also fun and safe, a win-win situation for young people craving to add a bit of personalization and identity, even at the wildest of parties.

Designer: Prinker (Samsung)

8. Fauna

Sometimes, the best solutions are also the simplest and the most inconspicuous. That’s the kind of solution that Fauna’s audio sunglasses try to offer, solving multiple problems with a single and stylish product. Part eyewear and part open ear headphones, Fauna lets you enjoy your music while keeping safe and looking great, all at the same time.

This kind of integrated solution will be critical in the next few years, especially as technology becomes even more deeply embedded in our lives. Ordinary objects like eyeglasses, rings, and even clothing will soon be connected to a network thanks to technologies like 5G (or 6G even), flexible screens, and wearable circuitry. These, in turn, will pave the way for the so-called Metaverse to become as normal and as ordinary as the real universe.

Designer: Fauna


Mobile technology and consumer devices have grown by leaps and bounds ever since the iPhone first came out more than a decade ago. Smartphones, tablets, and the accessories built around them have become almost unavoidable parts of modern life. There are no signs of things slowing down, which doesn’t bode well for humanity and the planet in the grand scheme of things. Fortunately, there are signs of things shifting for the better as well.

Just like at CES 2022, we saw positive indicators that both manufacturers and consumers are becoming more aware of how these devices have indirect effects on lives and the environment. From focusing on mental health in addition to physical fitness to embracing and promoting sustainable practices, the design of products, both physical and digital, are seemingly taking a turn for the better. While foldable phones, the Metaverse, and dozens of identical devices will continue to flood the market, there is at least some hope that the people pushing these products and technologies have grown more conscientious of the role they play in building a better future.

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Petrofac and Seawind Ocean Technology join forces to deploy two-bladed floating wind turbines

Energy efficiency and power are usually results of joint efforts of different resources. Turbines are just some of the more efficient producers of energy and we believe this technology will continue to be used. It will also improve and speed up for the better as more innovations and inventions are introduced by many companies.

Petrofac and Seawind Ocean Technology have started on a new partnership that will implement the use of two-bladed floating wind turbines. Petrofac will be using Seawind Ocean Technology’s turbines in many of its projects. The London-based company is known for its focus on building and operating facilities while Seawind is known for its turbines.

Designers: Petrofac and Seawind Ocean Technology

Seawind turbines can introduce improvements to most sea conditions including deepwater and cyclone-prone areas. The two-bladed floating turbines come with a concrete floating structure that can be used on most sea conditions. With a major partnership, Petrofac will help in the installation, assembly, and maintenance of the said turbines.

Seawind’s twin-blade technology can last up to 50 years. It can improve rotor stability and make generation more efficient. Officially called as the 6-126 turbine, this turbine comes with a teetering hinge that separates the shaft and rotor. Another advantage of Seawind’s tech is that the turbine is protected from harmful and heavy loads. The turbine also offers higher speeds as made possible by an active yaw control.

Seawind will benefit from the services Petrofac will be providing. Petrofac will offer design verification, engineering, procurement, and construction. This will be Seawind’s first-ever floating offshore wind turbine demonstrator in the European waters. We can expect the system to be operational by Q1 2024.

Petrofac will continue to deliver to clients results that are made possible by technology that works and innovation. Effective offshore application is possible with both Petrofac and Seawind’s efforts. The combined technologies and services will make harnessing energy with improved speed and efficiency. Another advantage of the system is that it can be assembled in a harbor with cranes. Sea installation won’t require any installation vessel.

Let’s take a look at the Seawind 6-126’s technical specs. Its rated capacity is 6.2MW while rotor speed is 20.8 rpm (rated power). The rotor’s diameter is 126 meters. The turbine can go beyond 50 meters and tip speed is 137 meters per second while the operating wind speed can go 3.5-25 m/s (12.5-90 km/h). It can withstand cyclones up to 70 m/s (250 km/h) with 90 m/s (325 km/h) gusts. All these are just numbers but we believe the technology will work and offer many benefits once operational.

The team-up of the two big companies is expected to succeed in this renewable energy project. Both have good track records in design and implementation. Petrofac, specifically, has obtained several contracts and partnerships with other groups in the UK and the global market that will support different projects concerning water, hydrogen, carbon capture, and storage. Seawind Ocean Technology, on the other hand, will continue to deliver strengthened execution capability.

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Serbian scientists install an urban photo-bioreactor to capture CO2 and produce O2 just like trees

LIQUID3 is an outdoor, urban photo-bioreactor that uses microalgae to perform photosynthesis and remove the same amount of CO2 as two ten-year-old trees.

Sustainable design that confronts the effects of climate change comes in many forms. From bio-receptive concrete that grows moss on its own to vertical urban forests that redefine what organic architecture could look like, sustainable design is all around us and provides varying degrees of mitigation against the threat of climate change.

Designer: University of Belgrade

Designers find a unique challenge in creating sustainable infrastructure in urban areas, where green spaces are few and far between. Taking an atypical approach to climate change design, researchers at the University of Belgrade developed LIQUID3, an urban photo-bioreactor that’s used for CO2 fixation and O2 production.

Located in the capital city of Serbia, a photo-bioreactor is essentially a vessel that uses a light source, such as natural sunlight, to cultivate phototrophic microorganisms that produce biomass. Created and designed by the University of Belgrade’s Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, LIQUID3 is a photo-bioreactor teeming with microalgae to sequester carbon and perform photosynthesis to produce oxygen.

Each LIQUID3 vessel carries a total of 600 liters of water, allowing the photo-bioreactor to remove analogous amounts of carbon dioxide as two 10-year-old trees or 200 square meters of green space. Operable even during the cold months of Belgrade’s winters, LIQUID3 only requires a light source for the naturally photosynthesizing microalgae to execute the same carbon-capturing role as trees in urban spaces that typically lack green spaces.

Awarded with Green Product Award’s Green Concept Award for 2022, LIQUID3 has been recognized for its innovative approach to green, bio-reactive design. Besides its appeal to sustainable design, LIQUID3 also suggests an efficient use of public land, while creating space for interactive ads and a high-value fertilizer. Its location in such a dense area of Belgrade also encourages city residents to become more aware of climate change’s threat to urban areas.

Configured like small urban meeting spaces, the LIQUID3 stations could be outfitted with outlets for city residents to charge their devices.

Come dark, LIQUID3 transforms into a neon-green light to guide residents through the streets.

An integrated bench space turns LIQUID3 into a social hub for city residents to gather and feel encouraged to keep fighting climate change.

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