TAG: Plastic

Products Made From Recycled Ocean Plastics

Products Made From Recycled Ocean Plastics

There are approximately 3.5 million tons of garbage floating around the ocean, and around 80% of that is plastic. Plastics, so abundant they have formed their own literal islands, are tremendously hard to remove from marine areas. Some companies and artists have put this surplus waste to use as a material base, demonstrating that sustainable designs can be functional while helping to remove unwanted pollution. One example of a company who has made portions of their product packaging from recovered ocean plastics is Method. Already using recycled post-consumer plastics for containing their environmentally minded cleaning products, in order to make the… read more

Polycrack Process Turns Waste Plastic into Fuel

Ways With Waste

In a factory in Mumbai, India, a prototype reactor is using a new process to turn waste plastic into fuel, which could potentially solve two problems at once. Plastic waste is a menace to the environment, but it could be used in the near future as the feedstock for fuel production, along with just about any other kind of waste, including motor oil, tires, and municipal solid waste. Nitin Bondal and Raghuvendra Rao, at Sustainable Technologies & Environmental Projects (STEP), have developed a reactor and process that heats waste materials in the presence of a catalyst, which breaks down the… read more

New Process Transforms Waste Sulfur into Plastic

Credit: Jared Griebel/ Pyun lab, University of Arizona department of chemistry and biochemistry.

Research into methods for integrating the large amounts of waste sulfur generated in fossil fuel production into making better batteries has led to a new lightweight plastic that could improve electric car energy storage. A team of researchers, led by Jeffrey Pyun of the University of Arizona, has developed a new chemical process that takes cheap abundant sulfur and turns it into a versatile lightweight plastic that can be used to make the next generation of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. “We’ve developed a new, simple and useful chemical process to convert sulfur into a useful plastic.” – Jeffrey Pyun According to… read more

Plastic Alternatives

Plastic Alternatives

Bioplastics are a topic up for debate. While some think it a better choice than conventional plastics, some critics say that it is an unnecessary use of a portion of the food supply which is already strained considering the vast populations that are food insecure. Massive plastic consumption and pre-packaged convenience comes at a high price. Pollution that does not biodegrade and toxic by-products from manufacturing processes being just a few issues. While some innovations seek to create compounds that can be used like plastics, but made smarter with renewable resources, some of these up and coming products still have questionable… read more

Solar Cells with a Difference

Plastic solar cells

The price of solar cells has consistently fallen as more and more people install them in their homes and businesses, but it still remains out of reach for many, who do want to make a sustainable choice regarding power generation. Government subsidies are still necessary because the manufacturing costs of solar cells are still prohibitively high. Anirudh Sharma, a PhD candidate at Flinders University has come up with an alternative, less expensive way of manufacturing solar cells. He says that in traditional manufacturing methods, various materials are sequentially deposited on top of each other forming a sandwich structure but as time passes the… read more

Real vs Fake Xmas Trees

Real or fake Christmas trees

Many people choose fake trees over real ones because they believe that plastic trees are better for the environment, but are they really the more eco-friendly option? Fake trees are convenient and reusable. However, they’re made from PVC plastic, which creates a number of environmental problems. Production of PVC triggers the release of toxic chemicals such as dioxin, vinyl chloride, and ethylene dichloride, and additional chemicals that are used to make plastic trees more pliable have caused damage to the kidneys, livers, brains, and reproductive systems of laboratory animals. Many fake trees contain lead, which can cause brain damage if… read more

Reusable Bags

Reusable shopping bags

Reusable bags are becoming increasingly popular, displayed at checkout lines across the globe. Although we shouldn’t buy into an item’s ‘greeness’ simply because it’s branded with an earth friendly logo and a “you can make the difference” message, reusable bags do have good intentions and have resulted in a great reduction in the use of plastic bags (of which 500 billion to a trillion are still used annually throughout the world). However, the process of manufacturing reusable bags remains a bit foggy. This leaves the question of how manufacturing reusable bags affects the environment. Bags made from cotton, whether or not organic, require large amounts of water. While the… read more

Our Disposable Society

Old wooden toys

If you were to hop in a time machine and go back about a hundred years, it would be quite obvious that the changes most parts of the world have undergone are not only in extreme contrast to the past (rhyme shamelessly intended), but accelerating at an ever increasing rate. Western civilization has gone, it seems, from steam engines to electricity in a hundred years. Reusing the wooden toys our parents played with, to fifty cent squirt guns (that break as soon as we open the package). And this begs a question. Why? Why is the average plastic, primary-colored toy used… read more

The Problem With Plastic

Polluting Plastic Bags

Shopping for groceries at the supermarket is an inescapable part of our lives, some of us do it on a daily basis, some weekly and some monthly. Regardless of which store and in which country, what is guaranteed is that if you buy something you will get a plastic bag to carry it in. In Swaziland, plastic bags at till checkpoints are free of charge to customers, unlike in South Africa where plastic bags are sold to customers for a small fee, in part to encourage customers to either purchase durable reusable grocery bags, or to use plastic bags more than… read more

Glass vs Plastic Bottles

Glass vs plastic bottles

Many companies are working to reduce the amount of waste and emission they use in making our drink containers. For instance, nowadays glass bottles are 40% lighter, plastic (2-liters) now weigh 8.5 grams instead of the staggering 22 grams, and the carbon footprint of aluminum is down by 43%. The big question is which is best for the environment? The answer is glass. Glass can be recycled on a short-term basis and it can be reused and recycled endlessly.  All different types of glass can be used in a mix means furnace unlike plastic. For every six tons of glass that… read more