DOE invests $14.5M in plastics recycling R&D

via Waste Today Magazine

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Washington, has announced it plans to invest up to $14.5 million for research and development to cut waste and reduce the energy used to recycle single-use plastics such as plastic bags, wraps and films. This funding is part of the department’s Plastics Innovation Challenge.

According to a news release from the DOE, this funding directed toward plastics recycling technologies will advance the department’s work to address the challenges of plastic scrap recycling and support 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.wastetodaymagazine.com/article/department-energy-funding-plastics-innovation-challenge-update/

MSU Researchers Publish Study On Biomineralization Of Plastic Waste For Cement Mortar

via JDSupra

On April 13, 2021, Montana State University (MSU) researchers from its Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering published an article entitled “Biomineralization of Plastic Waste to Improve the Strength of Plastic-Reinforced Cement Mortar.” The study evaluates calcium carbonate biomineralization techniques applied to coat plastic waste and improve the compressive strength of plastic-reinforced mortar (PRM), a type of plastic-reinforced cementitious material (PRC).

Read the full sotry here: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/msu-researchers-publish-study-on-8199658/

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/

Pandemic mask mountain sets new recycling challenge

via Phys.org.

Researchers in Australia want to transform single-use COVID masks into road material. In the United States, the protective gear is recycled into benches. And in France, they are reborn as floor carpets for cars.

plastic scrap

Used to curb the spread of COVID-19, masks are exacerbating another pandemic: plastic pollution.

Read the full story here: https://phys.org/news/2021-05-pandemic-mask-mountain-recycling.html

Adding enzymes to bioplastics can make them disappear

via Popular Science

With so many different plastics entering the waterways that take hundreds of years to decompose, plastic pollution and microplastics are almost everywhere on the planet, from the air to the sea, in vast quantities. Compostable plastics, like corn-based plastic cups and straws, are sometimes touted as a viable solution, but without the infrastructure to properly turn them into compost, they can end up in a landfill

To keep our oceans from becoming even more plastic-filled, scientists are finding the keys to making plastics quickly decompose, and baking them into the plastic’s formula. Ting Xu, professor of materials science and engineering and chemistry at the University of California Berkeley, and her research group investigate biologically available solutions that will allow single-use plastic to biodegrade under easily attainable conditions. In a new study, they describe how they used an innovative polymer coating on enzymes that can be built-in to bioplastics to make them easier to compost at home. 

Read the full story here: https://www.popsci.com/story/environment/biodegradable-plastics-enzyme/

The Future Looks Bright for Infinitely Recyclable Plastic

via Berkeley Lab

Plastics are a part of nearly every product we use on a daily basis. The average person in the U.S. generates about 100 kg of plastic waste per year, most of which goes straight to a landfill. A team led by Corinne Scown, Brett Helms, Jay Keasling, and Kristin Persson at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) set out to change that.

Less than two years ago, Helms announced the invention of a new plastic that could tackle the waste crisis head on. Called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, the material has all the convenient properties of traditional plastics while avoiding the environmental pitfalls, because unlike traditional plastics, PDKs can be recycled indefinitely with no loss in quality.

Read the full story here: https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2021/04/22/infinitely-recyclable-plastic/

Could Plastic-Eating Mushrooms Solve Humanity’s Plastic Problem?

via Interesting Engineering

Since the mass production of plastics began in the 1950s, humans have created 9 billion tons of plastic, and this creates a crisis that’s not easy to tackle since plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade. Those used by the people of the ’60s still exist in some form, and with only 9 percent recycled, only 12 percent has been incinerated.

This has lead scientists to search for alternative methods for plastic reduction, and one solution that could aid humanity might be hidden in fungi. Scientists have discovered mushrooms that eat plastic over the years: Some mushroom species have the ability to consume polyurethane, which is one of the main ingredients in plastic products.

Read the full story here: https://interestingengineering.com/could-plastic-eating-mushrooms-solve-humanitys-plastic-problem

British Company That Uses Waste Plastic To Pave Roads Bringing Process To U.S.

via Forbes

British manufacturer MacRebur has already helped paved thousands of miles of roads in the U.K. with asphalt that contains waste plastic, says CEO Toby McCartney. The company is setting up shop in Florida and has its eye on millions of tons of wasted plastic in the United States.

The company says its process of turning waste plastic into an asphalt additive can help keep plastic out of landfills and incinerators and create stronger streets, all at reduced costs.

Read the full story here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkart/2021/02/03/british-company-that-uses-waste-plastic-to-pave-roads-bringing-process-to-us/?sh=4b9fee9d313d


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    California Company Hopes To Pave The World’s Roads With Recycled Plastic

    via DOGO News

    The invention of plastic has been a double-edged sword for humanity. While the cheap, versatile material has made life convenient, it is virtually indestructible and takes centuries to decompose. Since avoiding plastic is impossible, companies worldwide are coming up with innovative ways to repurpose the millions of tons of polymer waste that end up in our landfills annually. Among the latest is California-based TechniSoil Industrial, which has devised an ingenious way to reuse plastic waste to repave roads.

    Road resurfacing is an expensive undertaking that starts with using special equipment to extract and grind the topmost 3-to-6 inches of asphalt. Since the recycled material is not strong enough to use on its own, half of it is discarded and replaced with fresh hot asphalt. The combined product is mixed with bitumen — a sludge-like petroleum residue that acts as a binding agent — and relaid on the surface. Repaving a single lane mile requires 42 truckloads of new material and hauling out a similar amount of unusable waste.

    Read the full story here: https://www.dogonews.com/2021/1/29/california-company-hopes-to-pave-the-worlds-roads-with-recycled-plastic

    Single-use plastic bag ban begins in Delaware

    via Delaware State News

    DOVER — Customers in the checkout lines at grocery, retail and convenience stores throughout Delaware should be prepared for a new way of conducting business starting New Year’s Day.

    That’s because consumers and some businesses in Delaware will no longer be able to use or distribute single-use plastic carryout bags at the point of sale.

    Read the full story here: https://delawarestatenews.net/news/single-use-plastic-bag-ban-begins-in-delaware/