Scientists Found the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ That Could Destroy ‘Forever Chemicals’ for Good

Scientists Found the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ That Could Destroy ‘Forever Chemicals’ for Good

plastic waste

via Popular Mechanics

Scientists have been working on ways to destroy PFAS chemicals that permeate our environment, but no easy method exists. That’s because these standoffish compounds don’t react to anything—not biological or other chemical agents. They stick only to each other and resist being torn apart. Current methods require “very harsh conditions to decompose these compounds,” according to chemists at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Until now, how to break those PFAS bonds has been unclear.

Read the full story here: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a40961089/how-to-destroy-forever-chemicals-for-good/

How This Determined Female Founder Is Taking on Big Plastic

How This Determined Female Founder Is Taking on Big Plastic

via Inc.com

plastic scrapWhile companies have touted the recyclability of their plastic products for years, plastic remains an environmental hazard. Less than 5 percent of flexible plastic packaging recycled by consumers ends up recycled in the world’s most advanced recycling markets, while only 2 percent is recycled globally, according to the Flexible Packaging Association. And of the 7 billion tons of plastic waste globally, less than 10 percent has ever been recycled, according to the U.N. Environmental Program. 

After learning the truth about plastics–most of which end up in landfills, waterways, or the ocean and do not break down for hundreds of years–Nissenbaum began researching compostable alternatives and found that some compostable bio-materials had been on the market for decades, particularly polylactic acid, or PLA. Usually made from corn, PLA is often used for utensils, straws, and various forms of rigid packaging. It’s compostable, but only under industrial-compost conditions.

Read the full story here: https://www.inc.com/christine-lagorio/how-this-determined-female-founder-is-taking-on-big-plastic.html

Plastic to metal, steel to aluminum: The future of welding and lightweight vehicles

Plastic to metal, steel to aluminum: The future of welding and lightweight vehicles

via TechExplore

plastic manufacturing

Making vehicle structures out of a combination of metals and plastics could make them dramatically lighter, stronger, safer and more environmentally friendly than the all-steel or all-aluminum approaches that dominate today.

But how to quickly and cheaply join all those materials together has been a sticky problem. A University of Michigan lab is developing solutions.

Read the full story here: https://techxplore.com/news/2022-11-plastic-metal-steel-aluminum-future.html

Award-winning — plastic-eating robo-fish is finally here to rid our waters of waste

Award-winning — plastic-eating robo-fish is finally here to rid our waters of waste

via Interesting Engineering

A robot fish that filters microplastics has been created after winning a robotics contest at the University of Surrey.

Researchers in robotics make the “robo-fish” concept a reality, according to a press release published by the University on Thursday.

“Water pollution, especially plastic pollution, is a huge problem. It’s not just the ocean which suffers but rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. This makes it a problem without a one-size-fits-all solution,” Eleanor Mackintosh, a chemistry undergrad student at the University of Surrey and the contest winner, told New Atlas.

Read the full story here: https://interestingengineering.com/innovation/plastic-eating-robo-fish-to-clean-our-waters

 

Emperor penguins still free of microplastics

Emperor penguins still free of microplastics

via University of Basel

Good news from Antarctica: researchers have examined emperor penguins and found no evidence of microplastics in their stomachs. The study, conducted by the University of Basel and the Alfred-Wegener Institute, is an important assessment of environmental pollution at the South Pole.

Read the full story here: https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/Emperor-Penguins-Still-Free-of-Microplastics.html

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

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

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