Research Turns Plastic Waste into Biodegradable Silk

via Plastics Today

Solutions to big problems can spring from little things. In research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, a microorganism that digests common petroleum-based plastic waste and yields a biodegradable plastic alternative represents a new solution to an on-going problem.

With the support of a substantial new National Science Foundation grant of $500,000 for the project, a team of engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will explore this potentially transformative idea entitled Microbial Upcycling of Petrochemical Polymer Waste into High Value Protein-Based Polymers for a Circular Economy.

Read the full story here: https://www.plasticstoday.com/materials-research/research-turns-plastic-waste-biodegradable-silk

Plastic Fuels: Do They Fix Waste Or Greenwash It?

via Forbes

Marketed as a solution to the environmental and waste problems the plastic industry is currently facing, recycled carbon fuels are problematic. And they will be at odds with Wednesday’s vote from the EU Parliament backing a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

briefing published by Zero Waste Europe shows that these fuels are produced by converting plastics back to their original fossil form. As they are burnt and carbon is released to the atmosphere, they are ultimately exacerbating climate change.

Read the full story here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/10/08/the-pros-and-cons-of-plastic-to-fuels/#4508a3ce48cb

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

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/

30-year survey assesses plastic problem in the Antarctic

Via New Atlas

Two new studies by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are shedding new light on plastic waste in the Antarctic. Based on 30 years of extensive surveys of marine debris ingested by sea birds or washed up on Bird Island at South Georgia and Signy Island in the South Orkneys, researchers have been able to determine the source of plastics in the region and the effectiveness of mitigation efforts.

We like to think of Antarctica as a pristine, wild continent that’s as untouched as a fresh snowfall, but its shores are still as exposed to the ocean’s currents as anywhere else and often end up as repositories of plastic waste either brought in by waves or in the stomachs of seabirds.

Read the full story here: https://newatlas.com/environment/30-year-survey-bas-plastic-waste-antarctic/

E-cigarettes highlight the challenges of dealing with plastic waste

Via ABC News

E-cigarettes and vapes have made the headlines amid national concerns about nicotine addiction among young people and health problems linked to black-market products. But among environmental advocates the increasingly popular products pose another challenge — how to get rid of them after they’re used.

E-cigarettes and pods for e-cigarettes or vapes can be both hazardous and electronic waste — depending on the product — and the plastic poses the same concerns as other plastic products that can add to overall waste and break down into microplastics that harm ocean ecosystems.

Read the full story here: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/cigarettes-highlight-challenges-dealing-plastic-waste/story?id=68890487

Can the Super Bowl go zero waste?

via National Geographic

TEN THOUSAND HOT dogs, 20,000 pounds of shrimp, 8,000 pounds of short ribs—and that’s only a portion of the food that will be made by the 2,500-strong culinary staff flying into Miami this weekend to prepare snacks for one of the nation’s biggest game days.

Super Bowl 54, this year played in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, will see the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49ers. Nearly 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year, in bars, at house parties, and for a lucky few, in the stadium, where tickets start at $4,000.

Read the full story here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/01/super-bowl-54-zero-waste-miami/ https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/01/super-bowl-54-zero-waste-miami/

TURNING PLASTIC WASTE INTO PROSTHETICS

via CNNMoney

Two ZHdK graduates are designing lower-limb prosthetic systems from plastic waste that they are planning to produce in developing countries, made there for people there. Their start-up, Project Circleg, launched in 2018 with CHF 500,000 from foundations and is continuing to expand and look for new funding.

Read the full story here: https://www.cnnmoney.ch/shows/tech-talk/videos/turning-plastic-waste-prosthetics-start-ups

Michigan Fashion Company Reduces Plastic Waste to Protect Great Lakes

via Fox47news.com

LANSING, Mich. — A University of Michigan student is doing what he can to protect the coastlines and Great Lakes of Michigan.

Jackson Riegler, 19, started his company Oshki when he was just 17-years-old. Riegler had a mission to reduce plastic by re-purposing it to make clothes.

He uses plastic waste found on the shores of the Great Lakes to create these unique sustainable clothing items. Riegler has collected 120 pounds of plastic so far.

Read the full story here: https://www.fox47news.com/news/local-news/mi-fashion-company-reduces-plastic-waste-to-protect-great-lakes

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