DOE Invests $13.4 Million to Combat Plastic Waste, Reduce Plastic Industry Emissions

via Energy.gov

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $13.4 million in funding for next generation plastics technologies that reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of single-use plastics. The seven selected research and development (R&D) projects — led by industry and universities — will convert plastic films into more valuable materials and design new plastics that are more recyclable and biodegradable. This investment advances  DOE’s work to address the challenges of plastic waste recycling and supports the Biden Administration’s efforts to build a clean energy economy and ensure the U.S. reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Read the full story here: https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-invests-134-million-combat-plastic-waste-reduce-plastic-industry-emissions

Mouse study shows microplastics infiltrate blood brain barrier

Mouse study shows microplastics infiltrate blood brain barrier

Much of the millions of metric tons of plastic waste that washes into the sea each year is broken down into tiny fragments by the forces of the ocean, and researchers are beginning to piece together what this means for organisms that consume them. Scientists in Korea have turned their attention toward the top of the food chain by exploring the threat these particles pose to mammal brains, where they were found to act as toxic substances.

In recent years, studies have revealed the kind of threat microplastics pose to marine creatures. This has included weakening the adhesive abilities of muscles, impairing the cognitive ability of hermit crabs and causing aneurysms and reproductive changes in fish. They’ve turned up in the guts of sea turtles all over the world, and been discovered in seal poo as evidence of them traveling up the food chain. Research has also shown they can alter the shape of human lung cells.

Read the full story here: https://newatlas.com/environment/microplastics-blood-brain-barrier/

Plastics to outpace coal’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 -report

WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – The carbon-intensive production of plastics is on pace to emit more greenhouse gases than coal-fired power plants within this decade, undercutting global efforts to tackle climate change, a report released on Thursday said.

The report by Bennington College and Beyond Plastics projected that the plastic industry releases at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year throughout its lifecycle from the drilling for oil and gas to fuel its facilities to incineration of plastic waste. That is the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants.

Read the full story here: https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/plastics-outpace-coals-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-2030-report-2021-10-21/

plastic scrap recycling
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Partnership to study chemically recycling plastics from ASR

via Recycling Today

plastic scrap recycling

Eastman, Kingsport, Tennessee, has announced that it is collaborating with Padnos and the United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP) on a concept feasibility study to recycle mixed plastic scrap recovered from automotive shredder residue (ASR). USAMP is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR).  

ASR consists of mixed plastic and other materials and currently end up in landfills or in waste-to-energy technologies. Under this initiative, Padnos, Holland, Michigan, will supply ASR as a feedstock for Eastman’s molecular recycling process. The company operates auto shredders in Holland and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Read the full story here: https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/padnost-eastman-usamp-studing-chemically-recycling-asr/

Genetically engineered microbes convert waste plastic into vanillin

via Chemistry World

Scientists in the UK have genetically engineered Escherichia coli to transform plastic waste into vanillin. ‘Instead of simply recycling plastic waste into more plastic, what our system demonstrates for the first time is that you can use plastic as a feedstock for microbial cells and transform it into something with higher value and more industrial utility,’ says Stephen Wallace from the University of Edinburgh. The biotransformation ‘isn’t just replacing a current chemical process, it’s actually achieving something that can’t be done using modern synthetic methods.’

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of the most widely used types of plastic. Most existing recycling technologies degrade PET into its substituent monomers, ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, then repurpose them in second-generation plastic materials. Wallace and Joanna Sadler, also at the University of Edinburgh, want to upcycle these monomers into alternative products.

Read the full story here: https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/genetically-engineered-microbes-convert-waste-plastic-into-vanillin/4013767.article

plastic scrap

On Bonfires outside Bucharest, Waste from Western Europe

via Balkan Insight

plastic scrap

Besides Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria have also become significant destinations for waste from Western Europe since China closed its doors. Much ends up being burned or buried, with dire consequences for the environment and public health.

On May 12, border officials in southern Romania stopped three trucks loaded with 59 tons of waste trying to enter from Bulgaria. The drivers’ paperwork did not entirely match the contents – steel, plastic and scrap metal – so the convoy was turned back.

Read the full story here: https://balkaninsight.com/2021/05/24/on-bonfires-outside-bucharest-waste-from-western-europe/

Doosan outlines plan to produce hydrogen from plastic waste

via GlobalConstructionReview.com

South Korean equipment maker Doosan Heavy Industries has signed a memorandum of understanding with another Korean company to develop the technology to produce hydrogen from waste plastics and vinyl.

Doosan has teamed up with RevoTech, a plastic pyrolysis specialist, to carry out the work. RevoTech will handle the thermal decomposition of the plastic waste to produce gas, and Doosan Heavy will develop facilities and processes to extract hydrogen from it.

Read the full story here: https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/doosan-outlines-plan-produce-hydrogen-plastic-wast/

A high-altitude clean-up in Bolivia’s Valley of the Souls

via Reuters

In Bolivia’s Valley of the Souls, razor sharp rock formations pierce the blue sky above the nearby highland city of La Paz, from where urban sprawl over years has left the picturesque spot littered with plastic waste and construction rubble.

Now the rocky canyon is getting a clean up amid a wider push to spruce up the South American country’s scenic spots and waterways, with hundreds of volunteers, aided by heavy machinery, shifting over 15 tons of debris in the last week.

Read the full story here: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/high-altitude-clean-up-bolivias-valley-souls-2021-05-04/

IEEFA Says Formosa Plastics Plant Not Financially Viable

via Big Easy Magazine

Photo credit: zapravka2

In a March 23rd article, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said that Formosa’s new plastic plant being built in “Cancer Alley” in St. James Parish, would not be financially sustainable, writing, “IEEFA finds that the project will begin operations at a time of market oversupply, lower petrochemical prices, strong competition for market share, restrictive trade policies, environmental regulatory challenges, judicial findings of historic racial discrimination, popular opposition, rising construction costs, and a weakened bond rating. The report urges the cancellation of ‘this ill-advised project, which should be abandoned in light of its weak fundamentals.’”

Among those reasons the Formosa plant seems unviable, they write, that the plant, which was proposed as a $9.7 billion dollar project has already now ballooned to $12 billion. Along with that, they also add that with the likelihood of recycling increasing that the, “Long-term demand for virgin plastic production will likely decline as recycling and bans on single-use plastic increase.”

Read the full story here: https://www.bigeasymagazine.com/2021/03/26/ieefa-says-formosa-plastics-plant-not-financially-viable/