City’s homes of the future

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Homes of the future could be ‘transformed’ by new gadgets according to Sheffield’s waste treatment firm Veolia and the London School of Economics.

One of the main ideas could see the end of wheelie bins and recycling containers.

They would be replaced by a system where items are dropped down chutes, shredded and sorted by mini robots. Materials would then be automatically vacuum packed and sent along underground pipes to a central recycling facility.

Organic waste – both kitchen waste and sewage – would be transported by vacuum from the home and used to produce electricity at a network of local power stations.

Auto-clean surfaces could be installed around the bathroom, made of materials which dirt particles would not stick to, and with micro pores through which water could pass to a drain.

The surfaces would not even need to be wiped clean, according to Veolia.

Waste water would no longer be sent to treatment works but filtered using reeds and bacteria so it could be used again. Reed beds could be installed in gardens, on balconies or roofs.

And instead of soaps and gels, people could lie back and enjoy an ‘ultrasonic’ bath which would create bubbles to remove dirt.

Improvements planned for the kitchen could include ‘intelligent’ packaging containing substances that mop up any oxygen leaking into a sealed container.

Sell-by dates could be replaced by coloured stickers which change colour if food is no longer safe to eat – with products kept in a cool fridge staying safe for longer than those in a warm room.

Elsewhere in the home, a 3D printer fed by recycled and environmentally-friendly plastic would create household items avoiding the need to buy new ones made from raw materials.

Plastic would come from recycled household items, plant material and could even be created through colonies of bees, which can create polyester polymers.