Baking Melamine Milk into Bricks
The tainted milk scandal that swept China (and the rest of the world) did not end with product recalls. What do you do with all that tainted milk that's still in storage? You can't dump it, since it'll pollute the environment, and you sure can't sell it... transporting it is dangerous, too, since the potential for leakage looms.
How about baking it into bricks? File this one under "so crazy it just might work", since the concept is indeed viable. The larger issue, though, is one of food-production oversight, which can't be fixed with a simple manufacturing hack.
Wang Fan, director of the Guangzhou food safety office, told reporters that the milk burned in a kiln produces a residue that can be used to manufacture building blocks. By disposing of it this way, the government can ensure that it doesn't get poured into rivers (which would contaminate fish) or dumped into landfills (possibly contaminating ground water). The cost is way lower too – about 700 yuan per ton for brick making rather than 1800 yuan per ton for hazardous waste treatment.
After recalling and collecting all known supplies, the government is now trying to decide on the best way to dispose of them, he said.
While some milk can be used for landfill, at a cost of about 150 to 200 yuan per ton, there are limits on how much can be dumped each day, he said.
The moral to this story: When life gives you tainted milk, make bricks.