DailyDirt: Nature Recycles All The Time, So Should We…
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Plastics are everywhere. It’s hard to imagine all the modern conveniences that exist because of the existence of plastic and polymers, and it would be difficult to continue living a modern lifestyle without plastics. Maybe we’re starting to try not to use plastic bags to carry groceries home in some places, but the bad environmental reputation of plastic might have some solutions. Plastics could be made to be easier to recycle. Also, we could replace some of the more problematic plastics with more environmentally-friendly materials.
- Biodegrading polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles might be more feasible now that Japanese researchers have discovered bacteria (Ideonella sakainesis) that can grow on this common commercial polymer. Maybe this isn’t much better than melting down the plastic and recycling it into new bottles, or maybe our ecosystem will adapt to consuming all of our waste. Thanks, Mother Nature! [url]
- If fungus can be grown quickly enough, perhaps it’ll make sense to replace some plastic products with fungus? We’ve seen a few other examples of fungus as a building material before, and the possibilities are expanding with fungus-based materials that can be stiff, rubbery or flexible like leather. [url]
- Some commercial plastics, like thermoset polymers, aren’t easy to recycle. It’s the reason why old tires get stacked up and burned. Making more recyclable thermoset plastics could have significant environmental benefits, allowing tons and tons of our disposable products to find new uses instead of a place in a landfill. [url]
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