Why is only 2% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced every year recycled?
Well, it comes down to the composition of plastics. Two thirds of plastics worldwide are either polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP). These plastics must be intensively sorted becuase they can not be melded for practical re-use. Or so it was thought..
Cornell University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Geoffrey Coates, his team, and their University of Minnesota collaborators, have reported a new plastic polymerization method in Science Magazine that makes melded PE and PP recycling work. See: Combining polyethylene and polypropylene: Enhanced performance with PE/iPP multiblock polymers (2017) Science
Their innovative additive is a two for one in sustainable plastic. The PE and PP melded plastic is mechanically tougher yet still flexible. This enhanced functionality lessens the amount of plastic initially required in manufacturing. At the end of life, the polyethylene and polypropylene will not need to be sortedfor recycling. This will make recycling easier and less costly.
VIDEO: Geoffrey Coates, the Tisch University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, discusses an exciting new multiblock polymer that, when added to polyethylene and polypropylene in small measure, creates a new, stronger material out of two otherwise incompatible plastics. Credit: Cornell University Communications
Dr. Coates is co-founder of Boston based Novomer, which uses Cornell-developed catalyst technologies to produce high-performance, cost-effective and environmentally responsible polymers and chemicals. The Novomer web site states that they produce "cost competitive bio-based polymers". The technology must be successful because Novomer is helping Ford to produce sustainable foams and plastics - a first for automakers.
Keeping an eye on this! Keep recycling in your laboratories, #labconscious folks!
Source: Polymer additive could revolutionize plastics recycling Cornell Chronicle
Subjects, such as resource optimization or better energy usage, have arrived in the laboratory. What does this mean for the most important separation method, chromatography? An inventory shows the amount of optimization potential in the technology that is more than 100 years old.
Good news in Science! Chemistry and Chemical Biology researchers have invented new method that will revolutionize plastic recycling.
Today's Labconscious interview is for laboratory researchers interested in an easy to use and eco-friendly red bin system. Our thanks to Ian Lanza who is a regional life science director for Triumvirate Environmental, a provider of turnkey environmental and hazardous waste management services to education, healthcare, industrial, and life sciences labs...including New England Biolabs!
Laboratory Managers Can Improve Internal Sustainability by Recycling Gloves, Pipet Tips, Tubes, Glassware, Film Packaging and More...
Hundreds of open source 3D printer designs for lab equipment are available online that can reduce your lab set up costs in a sustainable way. These items include microscopes, micro pipettes, centrifuges, gel electrophoresis systems and many lab hacks!
Molecular biologists appreciate how the sustainably sourced, DNA purification Monarch kits produce optimal results
Grant awarded to analyze the impact of laboratory glove recycling at MIT.
The “iGEM goes green” initiative has provided their first GoGreenGuide online, which includes sustainability recommendations for ecofriendly lab work, including tools like a carbon footprint calculator. Read it before the iGEM conference in Boston this November!
Did you know that one laboratory fume hood uses as much energy in a year, as three average U.S. homes combined? Approximately 60% of laboratory energy bills go to HVAC systems that compensate for fume hoods.. Improvements to fume hoods represent a gigantic, green potential for cost savings in laboratory sustainability initiatives. This blog post is meant to explain how to get the best return on investment in your specific laboratory setting.
Have some intellectual fun today for a good cause! Take New England Biolab's Monarch® kits Upcycling Challenge to win either $1,000 in NEB product credit or a $1,000 donation to the charity of your choice. NEB will be donating $10 per submission to the Monarch Joint Venture whose mission is to conserve the monarch butterfly population.