Dumpster Diving for Green Plastics

A hundred years ago, there was a real question of whether plastics would be made from fossil fuels or plants. "There was intense competition between agricultural and petrochemical industries to win the market on polymers," said Bernard Tao, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue."In those days you had a lot more oil around, and you could dig it up all year round," Dr. Tao said. "You didn't have to wait until the growing season."

Now the situation has changed and scientists are looking again at getting away from fossil fuels and are looking at garbage. (like the circuit board shown made partly from chicken feathers) One waste material that we have way too much of is Carbon Dioxide; Geoff Coates of Cornell is making plastic that is almost 50% CO2 by weight. "It's highly abundant and really cheap. We picked it for environmental and economic reasons."

Other garbage plastics being developed are a styrofoam from orange peels and a composite made from soybeans and chicken feathers, a rubber from olive oil and a plastic from potato waste. Further proof that there really is no such thing as garbage. ::New York Times

Tags: Electronics | Plastics

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