URI’s Efforts to Study Plastic Pollution Get Federal Boost

via US News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Researchers at the University of Rhode Island are getting some federal assistance for their efforts to better understand plastic pollution and the threat it poses to the ocean.

plastic scrapThe university is set to receive $1 million in grant funding dedicated to studying how plastics spread through the environment as well as ways to reduce their harmful impact.

Read the full story here: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rhode-island/articles/2022-09-11/uris-efforts-to-study-plastic-pollution-get-federal-boost

Scientists Turn Plastic Into Diamonds In Breakthrough

Scientists Turn Plastic Into Diamonds In Breakthrough

plastic scrapThe production of nanodiamonds from PET plastic paves the way toward a new form of recycling, and even has implications for exoplanets that rain diamonds.

In 2017, researchers in Germany and California found a way to replicate those planetary conditions, fabricating teeny tiny diamonds called nanodiamonds in the lab using polystyrene (aka Styrofoam). Five years later and they’re back at it again, this time using some good ol’ polyethylene terephthalate (PET), according to a study published on Friday in Science Advances. The research has implications not only for our understanding of space, but paves a path toward creating nanodiamonds that are used in a range of contexts out of waste plastic. 

 

Read the full story here: https://www.vice.com/en/article/3advqv/scientists-turn-plastic-into-diamonds-in-breakthrough

Plastic-eating superworms with ‘recycling plant’ in their guts might get a job gobbling up waste

Plastic-eating superworms with ‘recycling plant’ in their guts might get a job gobbling up waste

via SCMP Scientists from Australia’s University of Queensland have discovered that a type of beetle larvae called Zophobas morio can consume and break down polystyrene. Research published in the scientific journal Microbial Genomics on June 9, 2022, says the superworms possess special gut enzymes that can break down plastic. The researchers say they now hope to study the enzymes to engineer ways the substance could be used to break down and dispose of plastic waste in the future.

Microplastics detected in meat, milk and blood of farm animals

Microplastics detected in meat, milk and blood of farm animals

via The Guardian

Microplastic contamination has been reported in beef and pork for the first time, as well as in the blood of cows and pigs on farms.

plastic scrap

Scientists at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA) in the Netherlands found the particles in three-quarters of meat and milk products tested and every blood sample in their pilot study.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/08/microplastics-detected-in-meat-milk-and-blood-of-farm-animals

Scientists unveil bionic robo-fish to remove microplastics from seas

Scientists unveil bionic robo-fish to remove microplastics from seas

via The Guardian

Scientists have designed a tiny robot-fish that is programmed to remove microplastics from seas and oceans by swimming around and adsorbing them on its soft, flexible, self-healing body.

Microplastics are the billions of tiny plastic particles which fragment from the bigger plastic things used every day such as water bottles, car tyres and synthetic T-shirts. They are one of the 21st century’s biggest environmental problems because once they are dispersed into the environment through the breakdown of larger plastics they are very hard to get rid of, making their way into drinking water, produce, and food, harming the environment and animal and human health.

Read the full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/22/scientists-unveil-bionic-robo-fish-to-remove-microplastics-from-seas

plastic scrap

Material Insights: Ukraine crisis drives resin price increases

From Razors to Soda Bottles, Consumer Goods Feel Resin-Cost Burn

via Bloomberg

Booming prices for resins, the building blocks for plastic, have already helped drive up the cost of making everyday products such as toys, bottles and face masks.

 polyethylene recycle

Now the fossil-fuel-derived ingredient could get even more expensive as Russia’s attack on Ukraine raises the risk of higher oil prices, potentially trickling down to what consumers pay for household and personal care products. Brent crude had already risen almost 48% in the last year.

Read the full story here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-02-25/from-razors-to-soda-bottles-consumer-goods-feel-resin-cost-burn

Lab turns hard-to-process plastic waste into carbon-capture master

Lab turns hard-to-process plastic waste into carbon-capture master

via Phys.org

What seems like a win-win for a pair of pressing environmental problems describes a Rice University lab’s newly discovered chemical technique to turn waste plastic into an effective carbon dioxide (CO2) sorbent for industry.

plastic scrap

Rice chemist James Tour and co-lead authors Rice alumnus Wala Algozeeb, graduate student Paul Savas and postdoctoral researcher Zhe Yuan reported in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano that heating plastic waste in the presence of potassium acetate produced particles with nanometer-scale pores that trap carbon dioxide molecules.

Read the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2022-04-lab-hard-to-process-plastic-carbon-capture-master.html

 

Chemists cook up way to remove microplastics using okra

via the American Chemical Society.

SAN DIEGO, March 22, 2022 — In many cuisines, okra serves as a master thickener of stews and soups. The goo from that fruit and other plants, such as aloe, cactus and psyllium, can also clean water and wastewater of some types of solid pollutants, as well as some that are dissolved. Now, researchers have demonstrated that combinations of these food-grade plant extracts can remove microplastics from wastewater.

microplastics okra

The health effects of ingesting microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic 5 mm or smaller — are currently unclear, but studies suggest that people unintentionally consume tens of thousands of these particles every year. “We think that microplastics by themselves may not be much of a health hazard, but anything that they get into or any type of toxic substance that gets attached to these plastics could go inside our bodies and cause problems,” says Rajani Srinivasan, Ph.D., the principal investigator for the project.

Read the full story here: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2022/march/cooking-up-a-way-to-remove-microplastics-from-wastewater.html

Scientists find microplastics in blood for first time

Scientists find microplastics in blood for first time

via Phys.org

Microplastic sperules in tooth paste, about 30 µm in diameter. Credit: Dantor (talk) 20:55, 18 November 2013 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have discovered microplastics in human blood for the first time, warning that the ubiquitous particles could also be making their way into organs.

The tiny pieces of mostly invisible plastic have already been found almost everywhere else on Earth, from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains as well as in the air, soil and food chain.

Read the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2022-03-scientists-microplastics-blood.html