These researchers have found a way to turn a common plastic into high-value molecules

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More than 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic has been produced in the last six decades.

However, recycling plastic can be difficult as the most common process involves melting and reworking the material.

A new process developed by the University of California can turn polyethylene into useful smaller molecules.

If you thought those flimsy disposable plastic grocery bags represented most of our plastic waste problem, think again. The volume of plastic the world throws away every year could rebuild the Ming Dynasty’s Great Wall of China – about 3,700 miles long.

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New super-enzyme eats plastic bottles six times faster

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Breakthrough that builds on plastic-eating bugs first discovered by Japan in 2016 promises to enable full recycling

A super-enzyme that degrades plastic bottles six times faster than before has been created by scientists and could be used for recycling within a year or two.

The super-enzyme, derived from bacteria that naturally evolved the ability to eat plastic, enables the full recycling of the bottles. Scientists believe combining it with enzymes that break down cotton could also allow mixed-fabric clothing to be recycled. Today, millions of tonnes of such clothing is either dumped in landfill or incinerated.

Plastic pollution has contaminated the whole planet, from the Arctic to the deepest oceans, and people are now known to consume and breathe microplastic particles. It is currently very difficult to break down plastic bottles into their chemical constituents in order to make new ones from old, meaning more new plastic is being created from oil each year.

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Everything you know about recycling is probably wrong

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A refresher for the new decade.

The next time you pass a recycling bin, do yourself a favor and take a peek inside. See anything unusual? Let’s rip the Band-Aid off right now: Turns out many of the things we drop into recycling bins don’t go on to beautiful second lives as bespoke greeting cards or shiny new bikes — a large percentage of this stuff actually ends up in landfills.

If you’re just tuning in, some background to our current recycling problem: In 2018, China, which previously bought and processed 70%(!) of the US’s recycled plastics, changed its policies about what kinds of recycled waste it would accept. China banned imports of certain types of paper and plastic, and cracked down on contamination (like leftover food scraps) in the materials they still process and recycle.

As long as we were shipping our recycling overseas, Americans never really had to deal with the repercussions of being, to quote Alana Semuels at The Atlantic, “terrible at recycling.” We tend to just throw everything into the bin without much thought about whether everything is actually, you know, recyclable. Now that US towns and cities are scrambling to figure out how to deal with recyclables, Semuels explains, they have two options: “pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.”

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Just 10% of U.S. plastic gets recycled. A new kind of plastic could change that

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Most plastics have a chemical history that makes starting a new life a challenge. The dyes and flame retardants that make them perfect for say, a couch cushion or a bottle of detergent, make them tough to transform into a desirable end product—one of the reasons just 10% of plastic in the United States gets recycled. Now, researchers have created a plastic with a special chemical bond that helps it separate out from those additives, turning it back into a pure, valuable product that can be reused again and again.

To make the new material, researchers tweaked a type of vitrimer, a glasslike plastic developed in 2011, by adding molecules that change the chemical bonds holding it together. These new bonds, called dynamic covalent diketoenamine bonds, require less energy to break than those in traditional plastics.

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E-waste is a huge and growing problem — and the US is a big reason why

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Electronic waste is a big problem, and it’s only getting worse. The amount of e-waste generated between 2014 and 2016 increased by 8%, according to a new report by the United Nations University, the International Telecommunications Union, and the International Solid Waste Association. By 2021, the organizations expect e-waste to grow by another 17%.

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Canadian scientists are developing a system that could turn atmospheric CO2 into fuel

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An industrial carbon dioxide recycling plant is being developed by Canadian scientists that could one day suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and convert it into a zero-carbon e-diesel fuel. Developed by tech start-up Carbon Engineering and partly funded by Bill Gates, the system will essentially do the job of trees, but in places unable to host them, such as icy plains and deserts. (Video)

 

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ERO Concrete Recycling Robot can ‘erase’ entire buildings

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The annual production of concrete in the world is estimated at about 6 billion cubic yards. It’s an alarming situation that has potentially devastating environmental effects. Consider that concrete under normal conditions has a lifespan of just 60 to 80 years–meaning that a significant number of the world’s buildings and bridges will have to be upgraded, if not entirely rebuilt, within our lifetimes.

 

 

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Electronics recycling has risen sharply in the past 3 years

According to a recent online survey, electronics recycling has sharply risen in the past three years. General recycling is at all-time high levels, with 84 percent of U.S. residents recycling their trash – helped no doubt by the widespread availability ofcurbside recycling programs in many communities.

 

 

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Americans Own More Gadgets Than Ever. So Why Are Recycling Numbers So Low?

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Startling Recycling Numbers

Retrevo dot com is a great marketplace for gadgets, and it’s chock full of interesting news about electronics, including our habits regarding our electronics. In a recent study, the company found that on average only 39% of Americans claim to recycle all of their old electronic devices. And that number is somewhat sketchy since many people claim to do more than they actually do. Also, “all” electronics encompasses a whole lot of what we own today — there’s likely a few things that end up in the trash rather than an e-waste collection site. But this 39% is the good news of the numbers. The study found a whole lot more dirt about what we’re doing with devices.

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High-tech Recycling Bins Will Tell on Residents Who Don’t Recycle…. and Fine Them For It

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RFID chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection.

We’ve heard the promise: in the future, everything’s connected. But when Cleveland rolls out its new RFID-enabled recycling bins next year, ones that know if you’re using them and report you if you’re not, you might long to disconnect.

 

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Eco-Friendly Homes Made From Recycled Plastic

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House made from recycled plastic

After working with Cardiff and Glamorgan universities for two years, Affresol Ltd., an innovative manufacturer of high quality, low cost, quick construction systems, has developed a new material called Thermo Poly Rock (TPR) from recycled plastics and minerals. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Carbon Trust also played a vital role in developing the revolutionary construction material. Now the company is using this newly developed material in making eco-friendly homes, each of which is made up of four tons of it. Until date, the company has recycled 18 tons of waste plastic in making modular portable buildings. (Video)

 

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