Kickstart: No rest for the mattress business

via Plastics News

It’s a booming year for mattresses, with imports to the U.S. up 39 percent in the first six months of 2020 to 8.8 million mattresses, according to our sister publication Urethanes Technology International. Production of those mattresses has been shifting away from China to regions such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia in addition to new production in the U.S.

Purple Innovation, based in Lehi, Utah, said its sales climbed 54 percent in the first half of 2020.

Why all the growth? Most likely, the coronavirus pandemic. With travel plans canceled, people are staying home and putting their vacation dollars into items like decks, pools and beds instead.

Read the full story here: https://www.plasticsnews.com/blog/kickstart-no-rest-mattress-business

Upcycling plastic waste toward sustainable energy storage

via UC Riverside News

Simple process transforms PET plastic into a nanomaterial for energy storage

What if you could solve two of Earth’s biggest problems in one stroke? UC Riverside engineers have developed a way to recycle plastic waste, such as soda or water bottles, into a nanomaterial useful for energy storage. 

Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan and their students have been working for years on creating improved energy storage materials from sustainable sources, such as glass bottlesbeach sandSilly Putty, and portabella mushrooms. Their latest success could reduce plastic pollution and hasten the transition to 100% clean energy.

Read the full story here: https://news.ucr.edu/articles/2020/08/11/upcycling-plastic-waste-toward-sustainable-energy-storage

National Science Foundation Awards Grant to Rensselaer Polytechnic for Research into New Plastic

via Plastics Today

With the support of a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, chemical engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, aim to develop a new polymer that can replace polystyrene (PS). While PS is inexpensive and easy to make, it is difficult to break down into its original components for re-use through a process called depolymerization. Founded in 1824, Rensselaer is America’s first technological research university.

Read the full story here: https://www.plasticstoday.com/materials/national-science-foundation-awards-grant-rensselaer-polytechnic-research-new-plastic/21414866763275

Polystyrene ball-stick model with 11 countable monomers. PakpongICCH444 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

COVID-19 Lays Waste to Many US Recycling Programs

via Manufacturing Business Technology

Many items designated as reusable, communal or secondhand have been temporarily barred to minimize person-to-person exposure. This is producing higher volumes of waste.

Grocers, whether by state decree or on their own, have brought back single-use plastic bags. Even IKEA has suspended use of its signature yellow reusable in-store bags. Plastic industry lobbyists have also pushed to eliminate plastic bag bans altogether, claiming that reusable bags pose a public health risk.

Read the full story here: https://www.mbtmag.com/home/news/21138099/covid19-lays-waste-to-many-us-recycling-programs

How NASA’s 3D-Printers Test Recycling Plastic in Space

via FedTech Magazine

NASA’s 3D-printing program began with making tiny wrenches and may end up building infrastructure on the moon. In between those moments, however, astronauts aboard the International Space Station are testing technology designed to make the printing process more efficient.

The space station is currently home to two 3D printers, one known as the Refabricator and another called the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF). A third device, the Recycler, is designed to recycle used material to save room and weight on the ISS, much like the Refabricator. Each works in a slightly different way, and astronauts are trying to determine which works best.

Read the full story here: https://fedtechmagazine.com/article/2020/05/how-nasas-3d-printers-test-recycling-plastic-space

Landfills emerge as promising battery storage sites to back up renewable energy

via WasteDive.com

Solar panel installations have been one of the fastest-growing types of energy infrastructure in recent years and landfills have become fitting sites due to the sheer amount of land required. Now, for many of the same reasons, energy project developers are looking to landfills for a technology growing even faster than solar: battery storage.

Storage on landfills is still a novel idea, with closed sites seen as largely the most suitable, and only a few examples of these projects exist. But solar on landfills was in a similar position just a few years ago, Tim Ryan, director at New York-based developer BQ Energy, told Waste Dive. BQ Energy focuses specifically on brownfield sites and has built over a dozen solar or wind projects since 2012, but only recently began construction on its first storage venture. Solar on landfills “may seem routine now, but it wasn’t when we started,” Ryan said.

Read the full story here: https://www.wastedive.com/news/landfills-promising-sites-battery-storage-solar-renewable-energy/577898/

Coronavirus is causing a flurry of plastic waste. Campaigners fear it may be permanent

via CNN

Surgical masks, gloves, protective equipment, body bags — the Covid-19 crisis has spurred a rapid expansion in the production of desperately-needed plastic products, with governments racing to boost their stockpiles and regular citizens clamoring for their share of supplies.

Such production is necessary. But all that plastic ends up somewhere — and environmental campaigners fear it is just the tip of a looming iceberg, with the pandemic causing a number of serious challenges to their efforts to reduce plastic pollution.

Read the full story here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/04/world/coronavirus-plastic-waste-pollution-intl/index.html

COVID-19 is forcing us to rethink our plastic problem

via World Economic Forum

  • The global demand for PPE has caused a concurrent uptick in demand for single-use plastics.
  • As lockdowns are lifted, we may find our reliance on plastic has increased.
  • Companies and governments now have an even more urgent – and tricky – responsibility to transition to a circular economy.

Economic uncertainties and risks of a second wave of COVID-19 might impose significant limitations on waste services. With the pandemic contributing to increased plastic use in healthcare, and large volumes of waste being unfit for recycling due to potential biohazards, medical plastic waste could grow at an unprecedented scale. A similar situation might arise in the food industry and other services that had previously decided to temporally limit reusables. The disrupted waste management and recycling sector would also take some time to recover and would not be able to effectively handle massive volumes of post-pandemic plastic.

Read the full story here: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/covid-19-is-forcing-us-to-rethink-our-plastic-problem/

Researchers uncover highest-ever amount of microplastics on ocean floor

via CBS News

Researchers have uncovered the highest-ever concentration of microplastics on the seafloor. According to a new study in the journal Science, scientists recently found 1.9 million pieces in an area of about 11 square feet in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Over 10 million tons of plastic waste enter oceans each year — but the visible floating plastic that has led to anti-straw and anti-plastic bag movements accounts for less than 1% of the ocean’s total plastic.

Read the full story here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/highest-ever-concentration-microplastic-ocean-floor-plastic-pollution/

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