Greenhouse gases headed for sustainability: How CO2 is turning into plastic

22/10/2021

Dr. Jonathan Fabarius is a member of the Fraunhofer research team. In this K-MAG interview he outlines the process that takes Co2 to the final raw material, describes the products that are best suited for this type of plastic and reveals when research will be ready to effectively benefit from these raw materials.
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Research guides future of plastic waste chemical recycling

18/10/2021

New research from Cornell University aims to ease the process of chemical recycling – an emerging industry that could turn waste products back into natural resources by physically breaking plastic down into the smaller molecules it was originally produced from.
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NSF EPSCoR grant will advance manufacturing of renewable and recyclable plastics

18/10/2021

Plastics are an indispensable part of today's society. These nimble polymers help keep foods fresh, cars safe, arteries clog-free and have countless other uses. But the benefits come at a cost. Each year millions of tons of discarded plastic pollute ecosystems, harm animals and exacerbate climate change.
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$25 million investment in polymer upcycling research to reduce plastics waste

12/10/2021

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $25 million in funding for 10 research projects to build the scientific foundations for new technology solutions that reuse discarded plastics to make valuable products and reduce plastics waste.
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Electrosynthesis: preventing cathodic corrosion

12/10/2021

Sustainability is an important issue in business and industry these days. Many companies recognize the need to find the best possible climate-neutral solutions for manufacturing their products and reduce their output of pollutants. This means they are looking for manufacturing options that do not require the use of fossil raw materials.
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"If you never ask, you'll never know" – traineeship in plastics extrusion

12/10/2021

There is a desperate need for skilled workers in the plastics industry. Yet the sector has a lot to offer. Reifenhäuser GmbH also proves this with its diverse range of apprenticeships. Young people can train as electronics technicians, industrial mechanics or warehouse logistics specialists at the expert for plastics extrusion. An important prerequisite for this: don't be afraid to ask questions!
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Bringing back the good name – a museum of plastic about plastic

06/10/2021

In May 2021, another museum of a special kind was created in front of the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid: a Plastic Museum. It was not just a museum ABOUT plastic, but MADE OF plastic. The media response to the campaign of the EsPlásticos association was huge.
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Degradation of biobased plastics in the soil

06/10/2021

The idea of biodegradable plastics sounds good at first. However, very little is known about how they are degraded in the soil and how this is influenced by climate change. In two recent studies, soil ecologists have shown which microbial community is responsible for degradation, what role the climate plays in this process, and why biodegradable plastics could still be problematic.
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Sunlight can break down marine plastic into tens of thousands of chemical compounds

05/10/2021

Sunlight was once thought to only fragment plastics in the marine environment into smaller particles that chemically resemble the original material and persist forever. However, scientists more recently have learned that sunlight also chemically transforms plastic into a suite of polymer-, dissolved-, and gas-phased products.
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Image: Roads are lifelines. © pexels-markus-spiske-967072

The road to the future? New ways with used plastics

30/09/2021

Viewing used plastic not as waste but as a material can reduce the problem of littered oceans. One promising approach is its use in road construction.
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Michael Davies

Michael Davies

28/09/2021

In this interview with K-MAG, Michael Davies explains what is particularly important until a circular economy can take hold, and what makes the Doverphos LGP12 stabilizer special.
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The BPF Launches Online Recycling Resource with PlasticsEurope & RECOUP

22/09/2021

The British Plastics Federation (BPF), in conjunction with PlasticsEurope and RECOUP, has launched a new online recycling resource kit aimed at educating students about recycling plastics and the science of polymers.
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Practice makes perfect – playfully educating children on the world of plastics

21/09/2021

In Germany, the demand for skilled workers in so-called STEM professions is steadily increasing – while the enthusiasm of young people for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is waning. The plastics industry is also feeling the effects of this. PlasticsEurope's declared goal is therefore to promote STEM education in schools – with a textbook, digital offerings and an experiment set.
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Microplastics from recyclable plastics on the rise

15/09/2021

Recyclable plastic has been recorded on popular beaches and urban watercourses in Adelaide, South Australia – highlighting the need for more efforts to remove and reuse all plastics from waste streams, particularly in urban areas.
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RECOUP win innovate UK funding for plastics recycling communications research

09/09/2021

Charity, and leading plastics recycling organisation, RECOUP, have secured a grant from Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, to co-fund an industry-led communications and behaviour change research project in Kent.
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ERDE Recycling fullfills voluntary commitment and collects over 50% of agricultural films

09/09/2021

Once more, the IK initiative ERDE (Crop Plastics Recycling Germany) was able to significantly increase its collection volumes in 2020. At 543 fixed collection points and 1936 mobile collections, a total of 26,910 tons of agricultural films were collected and recycled.
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New method developed to solve plastics sustainability problem

03/09/2021

Plastics sustainability has come a long way in recent years thanks in large part to scientific advances. But even as plastics become more and more environmentally friendly, the world continues to be polluted as many industries rely on them for their widely used products.
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Material development: getting there faster with co-pilot AI

24/08/2021

We live in fast-paced times. This is reflected in consumer preferences. In addition, climate change is creating a rapidly changing regulatory landscape for chemical and materials companies. They have to adapt quickly. But the thorough research, development and commercialization of new materials can be lengthy. Artificial intelligence can speed up this process.
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Eco-friendly plastic from cellulose and water

16/08/2021

Plastics offer many benefits to society and are widely used in our daily life. However, the production, processing and disposal of plastics are simply not sustainable, and pose a major global threat to the environment and human health. Eco-friendly processing of reusable and recyclable plastics derived from plant-based raw materials would be an ideal solution.
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Stand-up paddle board made from renewable lightweight materials

16/08/2021

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut, WKI, want to replace plastic boards with sustainable sports equipment: They are developing a stand-up paddle board that is made from one hundred percent renewable raw materials. The ecological lightweight material can be used in many ways, such as in the construction of buildings, cars and ships.
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3D printing plastic yourself: students educate themselves about plastics in workshops

16/08/2021

Plastic is a part of our lives that cannot be easily eliminated and is much more than the plastic that floats in oceans. Precisely because plastic is such a versatile material, future generations must also be taught how to use and recycle it responsibly.
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Bio-based coating for wood better than traditional synthetic options

09/08/2021

Due to the global efforts to meet sustainability standards, many countries are currently looking to replace concrete with wood in buildings. France, for example, will require that all new public buildings will be made from at least 50 percent wood or other sustainable materials starting in 2022.
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Can biodegradable polymers live up to the hype?

03/08/2021

As consumers and corporations alike become more environmentally conscious, the chemical industry is working to find solutions to the plastic waste crisis. One idea is to use biodegradable polymers known as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) as replacements for traditional plastic packaging and other materials.
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Circular Economy: using digital tools to produce high-quality recyclates

03/08/2021

Only a small percentage of materials currently used in plastic processing are recyclates. Yet these secondary plastics are in no way of inferior quality to virgin material. The culprit is often a lack of data and poor communication between recyclers and plastic manufacturers. Digital solutions can help close material cycles in the plastics industry.
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Carbon dioxide as a raw material for plastics and other products

03/08/2021

Carbon dioxide is one of the main drivers of climate change – which means that we need to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions in the future. Fraunhofer researchers are highlighting a possible way to lower these emissions: They use the greenhouse gas as a raw material, for instance to produce plastics.
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Sensor-based symphony: sorting and recycling in perfect harmony

30/07/2021

What can be recycled, and what can't? Sorting waste is a challenge – for both people and machines. TOMRA, pioneer in this field has introduced its new generation AUTOSORT in 2020 under the motto "Symphony of all sorts". This is intended to take the plastics industry a big step further towards sustainability.
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Röchling BioBoom: bioplastics make cars greener

27/07/2021

Alongside many other industries, the automotive sector is also moving in the green direction. Electromobility is booming. However, plastics produced from non-renewable raw materials such as petroleum are also installed in e-cars. Röchling Automotive has recognized the need for bioplastics that meet the high requirements for automotive applications – and has developed BioBoom.
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'Plugging in' to produce environmentally friendly bioplastics

26/07/2021

Bioplastics – biodegradable plastics made from biological substances rather than petroleum – can be created in a more economical and environmentally friendly way from the byproducts of corn stubble, grasses and mesquite agricultural production, according to a new study by a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.
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Walmir Soller

Walmir Soller

22/07/2021

While the Corona pandemic initially had a negative impact on almost all markets, the plastics industry benefited in the course of 2020 due to the increasing demand for personal protective equipment, to-go packaging for food and household items. The chemical company Braskem is also noticing this development in Brazil.
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Recycling robot could help solve soft plastic waste crisis

19/07/2021

Despite an improvement in plastic recycling in recent years, landfill is a growing issue. Soft plastics like cling wrap and plastic bags are a major contributor to the problem, with 94 percent going to landfill in 2016-17.
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Supercomputer to help researchers develop more sustainable tires

12/07/2021

The environment around us is exposed to many different synthetic microparticles, potentially harmful for plants and animals. Some of these particles come from car tires and road surfaces and are generated when we drive.
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Fraunhofer, SABIC, and Procter & Gamble join forces in closed-loop recycling pilot project

12/07/2021

The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE and its Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT have developed an advanced recycling process for used plastics. The pilot project with SABIC and Procter & Gamble serves to demonstrate the feasibility of closed-loop recycling for single-use facemasks.
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Image: Plastikophobia; Copyright: Von Wong

Benjamin Von Wong: "I make your impact unforgettable."

08/07/2021

We love plastic. It is versatile, lightweight, durable – and sustainable, as long as it gets recycled or reused. Carelessly discarded in nature, (disposable) plastic products not only give the material a bad image, but above all lead to massive environmental problems. This is precisely the issue that Canadian artist Benjamin Von Wong has addressed.
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Image: An example of a replacement for single-use plastic in consumer products, produced by mimicking the properties of spider silk, one of the strongest materials; Copyright: Xampla

Vegan spider silk provides sustainable alternative to single-use plastics

05/07/2021

Researchers have created a plant-based, sustainable, scalable material that could replace single-use plastics in many consumer products.
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Bacteria serves tasty solution to global plastic crisis

05/07/2021

Scientists have devised a novel way of tackling the mounting issue of plastic pollution – by using bacteria to transform plastic waste into vanilla flavoring
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Fraunhofer and the Technical University of Ostrava start German-Czech research collaboration for sustainable production

01/07/2021

In the scope of a future-oriented collaboration in the field of industrial production, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is cooperating with the VSB – Technical University of Ostrava (VSB-TUO). The partners research and develop the potential offered by energy management technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent production in industry.
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Mardianto Adiguno, Aegis Packaging Pte Ltd

Mardianto Adiguno

17/06/2021

"Do Right. Do Good. Do Well." Stated goal of Aegis Packaging is to protect our environment – and they do it with their recyclable packaging. The high-barrier coating is designed to keep oxygen and contaminants out of the food packaged with them, thus increasing their shelf life. The Singapore-based company is rethinking plastic packaging in the direction of a circular economy.
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Image: plastic granules and fir branches; Copyright: Woodly Ltd.

Woodly Ltd. has raised EUR 3 million in growth funding

15/06/2021

Woodly Ltd., Finnish developer of wood based plastic, has raised EUR 3 million in growth funding for the commercialisation and internationalisation of their product innovation.
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Bacteria-sized robots take on microplastics and win by breaking them down

15/06/2021

Small pieces of plastic are everywhere, stretching from urban environments to pristine wilderness. Left to their own devices, it can take hundreds of years for them to degrade completely.
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South Tangerang, Indonesia. © Tom Fisk, pexels.com

Sustainable packaging: towards a circular economy in the Asian market

09/06/2021

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Image: old carpets in a yard; Copyright: PantherMedia / a_oldman

Polypropylene recycling from carpet waste

07/06/2021

A significant part of carpet waste consists of petroleum-based polypropylene. As a non-recyclable product, disposing of it has previously meant incineration or landfill. However, a new solvent is now making it possible to recover virgin-standard polypropylene from carpet waste — with no perceptible reduction in quality.
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New technology converts waste plastics to jet fuel in an hour

01/06/2021

Catalytic process to efficiently convert polyethylene to jet fuel and high-value lubricants
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Grass replaces plastic in take-away food packaging

01/06/2021

Soon, packaging for take-away foods might be completely based on local, sustainable materials instead of fossil-based products. In a new research project, a packaging solution based on upcycled grass fibres is being developed.
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Cleaning up the polluted edge of the world: Lindner and Comberplast recycle fishing nets

31/05/2021

Presented at K 2019 in Düsseldorf and now used to clean up the edge of the world: Lindner Recyclingtech’s Micromat 1500. Circular economy pioneer Comberplast has been using the machine to successfully shred old fishing nets and ropes collected from the coast of Patagonia.
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VYTAL: the first digital reusable system for Take Away

27/05/2021

Today, the kitchen stays cold: if you don't feel like cooking, you simply have something delivered. However, the meals often come in disposable packaging that only has a short lifespan. This bothered the founders of VYTAL, who developed a deposit-free reusable system. They prove that plastic and sustainability are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
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Fraunhofer researchers develop recyclable, fiber-reinforced material made from 100 percent bio-based polylactic acid

17/05/2021

The Fraunhofer IAP wants to develop a composite material that consists entirely of bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) and is significantly easier to recycle than conventional fiber composites.
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Today's waste becomes tomorrow's resource: "Waste4Future" paves new ways for plastics recycling

17/05/2021

A sustainable society with climate-neutral processes requires significant adjustments in the value chains, which are only possible through innovations. Seven Fraunhofer Institutes are pooling their expertise in the lighthouse project Waste4Future to develop new solutions for this goal, from the raw material base to material flows and process engineering right to the end of a product's life cycle.
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New process makes 'biodegradable' plastics truly compostable

11/05/2021

Most compostable plastics, made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid end up in landfills and last as long as forever plastics. University of California scientists have now invented a way to make these compostable plastics break down more easily, with just heat and water, within a few weeks, solving a problem that has flummoxed the plastics industry and environmentalists.
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Plastic components with longer service life

10/05/2021

23 percent of global energy consumption can be attributed to friction losses. In the case of plastics, reduced friction can also reduce microplastics in the environment. With the development of microcapsules filled with liquid lubricants for plastics, the Potsdam Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP and the Plastics Center SKZ in Würzburg are supporting these goals.
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Industry 4.0: "We should seize opportunities and create added digital value"

04/05/2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rise of the digital workplace. This also applies to industry in general, where massive amounts of data are collected from countless sources. The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0) aims to use this data to gain actionable insights and target the development of marketable products, technologies, and services.
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Chemists create renewable plant-based polymers

03/05/2021

Researchers at the Laboratory of Cluster Catalysis at St Petersburg University have synthesised polymers from biomass. What makes them different is that they can be easily recycled.
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It's snowing plastic

03/05/2021

The snow may be melting, but it is leaving pollution behind in the form of micro- and nano-plastics according to a McGill study that was recently published in Environmental Pollution. The pollution is largely due to the relatively soluble plastics found in antifreeze products (polyethylene glycols) that can become airborne and picked up by the snow.
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Earth Day 2021: plastics industry vs. climate change

16/04/2021

April 22 is Earth Day. "Restore Our Earth" is the international motto of the action day in 2021. The plastics industry in particular can and must do its part to end environmental pollution and restore the earth to health. Since it was founded over 50 years ago, Earth Day has grown to become a worldwide environmental action day in around 200 countries.
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PRISM – a data platform for the circular economy

06/04/2021

In mid-December, U.S. IT company IBM announced it had joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. Together, they are designing the PRISM platform – a unified ecosystem of NGOs, the plastic value chain participants, communities, regulators, and any organization looking to deploy and improve waste management decisions and programs.
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Catalyst transforms plastic waste to valuable ingredients at low temperature

01/04/2021

For the first time, researchers have used a novel catalyst process to recycle a type of plastic found in everything from grocery bags and food packaging to toys and electronics into liquid fuels and wax.
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A mild way to upcycle plastics used in bottles into fuel and other high-value products

01/04/2021

Plastic is ubiquitous in people's lives. Yet, when plastic-containing items have fulfilled their missions, only a small amount is recycled into new products, which are often of lower quality compared to the original material. And, transforming this waste into high-value chemicals requires substantial energy.
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The expanding possibilities of bio-based polymers

01/04/2021

Finding innovative and sustainable solutions to our material needs is one of the core objectives of green chemistry. The myriad plastics that envelop our daily life – from mattresses to food and cars - are mostly made from oil-based monomers which are the building blocks of polymers.
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Fabricating the future with a new environment friendly method of polymerization

01/04/2021

Many materials in the modern world are constructed of polymers. Given their ubiquity and the evolving requirements of our world, finding better and more efficient methods of making them is an ongoing research concern. In addition, current environmental issues necessitate the use of methods and input materials that are environment friendly.
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New biodegradable polyurethane foams are developed from wheat straw

01/04/2021

Every year around 734 million tons of wheat straw are produced worldwide, a large amount of waste, which is cheap and has had no well-defined use until now. Recently, research groups at the University of Córdoba have been able to give a new use to this agricultural excess material, by using it as the foundation in order to manufacture polyurethane foams.
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Photo: PantherMedia / Nikola Obradovic

The pandemic will not stop the circular economy

22/03/2021

In the current crisis the sustainable use of resources is not centre stage. The top priority now is to do everything to overcome it. However, the pandemic also shows that the use of plastics must be improved if the world is not to be inundated by waste.
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Sustainable Polyurethanes in your shoebox

18/03/2021

People around the world want embrace sustainability – a new mindset that also affects the fashion industry. But how can you make shoes that have been made with lots of plastic in recent decades more sustainable? Covestro is a world-leading supplier of high-quality polyurethane and teamed up with the Brazilian shoe manufacturer Calçados Beira Rio to put its best foot forward and create a solution.
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Trinseo announces price increase in Europe

02/03/2021

Trinseo announces price increase for Polystyrene, Polycarbonate and Copolymers in Europe.
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Milliken & Company announces acquisition of Zebra-chem

01/03/2021

Milliken & Company, a global diversified manufacturer with more than a century and a half of materials science expertise, has formally acquired Zebra-chem GmbH, a global chemicals company known for its peroxide and blowing agent masterbatches.
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A strong alliance to end "Marine Litter"

24/02/2021

The pollution caused by debris and trash that ends up in oceans, seas, or other large bodies of water ("marine litter") is a challenge, experts around the world are working hard to address. It is undeniably a global concern we must tackle. The plastics industry takes an active role in getting to the bottom of the problem and creating solutions. It pays special attention to "microplastics".
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Image: toilet; Copyright: stock / Rocco-Herrmann

Do not flush this down the toilet!

31/01/2021

The toilet may be inside the house, but it directs everything that is disposed in it, eventually, into the environment. Therefore, the toilet is not part of the municipal waste collection system.
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Eliminating microplastics in wastewater directly at the source

18/01/2021

At the Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Professor Patrick Drogui’s research team has developed a process for the electrolytic treatment of wastewater that degrades microplastics at the source.
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The 17 Global Goals 2030 for Sustainable Development (SDGs 2030).

Plastics – Key Materials for Sustainable Development

09/12/2020

Interview and Abstract by Reinhold W. Lang Institute for Polymeric Materials and Testing Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, Austria
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Graphic: Intestinal bacteria

Sustainable nylon production made possible by bacteria discovery

24/08/2020

Nylon manufacture could be revolutionised by the discovery that bacteria can make a key chemical involved in the process, without emitting harmful greenhouse gases.
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Plastics make the mannequins’ world go round!

22/05/2020

Display mannequin manufacturers have not only been creative in terms of design. Resource-saving operations have also ranked very high on their agendas for years. There has been in-depth research in developing materials and processes and plastics continue to play a leading role.
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Better drinking water thanks to plastics

20/05/2020

Around 2.2 billion people do not have an access to clean drinking water, although two thirds of the earth is covered with water. However, more than 97 percent of it is inedible salt water. So drinking water is a very rare commodity on earth. However, drinking water can be obtained from salt water. Polymeres could help.
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Upcycling spongy plastic foams from shoes, mattresses and insulation

12/05/2020

Researchers have developed a new method for upcycling polyurethane foams, the spongy material found in mattresses, insulation, furniture cushions and shoes.
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Rubber gloves on asphalt

Watch out – there's a danger of infection! But: what are we supposed to do with the rubber gloves?

28/04/2020

Many people are convinced that they can protect themselves against SARS-CoV-2 with disposable gloves made from polymer materials and with a face mask that is polymer-coated on the inside. But what happens when the "confrontation" is over? Rubber gloves and face masks are, however, designed to be used just once, so that they land – or should land – in the garbage can.
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Water replaces toxins: Green production of plastics

21/04/2020

Although organic plastics are not harmful to the environment themselves, toxic substances are often used during their synthesis. TU Wien shows - there is another way.
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Alexis Olans Haass, Director Sustainability adidas PURPOSE

Alexis Olans Haass

30/06/2019

Interview with Alexis Olans Haass, Director Sustainability at adidas PURPOSE. She heads adidas brand’s sustainability program from global headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Her responsibilities include directing adidas brand’s sustainability strategy, developing new sustainable innovations and business models, and coordinating sustainable product creation.
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Alastair Curtis, Chief Design officer at Logitech

Alastair Curtis

30/06/2019

Interview with Alastair Curtis, chief design officer at Logitech, where he is responsible for the designs of all business teams and brands.
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Sean Carney, Chief Design Officer of Philips

Sean Carney

30/06/2019

Interview with Sean Carney, Chief Design Officer of Philips. Leading a team of more than 400 designers, he has created empathic and data-connected solutions with added value for millions of users – medical professionals and their patients.
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