Media

New solvent-based recycling process could cut down on millions of tons of plastic waste

MADISON, Wis. — Multilayer plastic materials are ubiquitous in food and medical supply packaging, particularly since layering polymers can give those films specific properties, like heat resistance or oxygen and moisture control. But despite their utility, those ever-present plastics are impossible to recycle using conventional methods.

About 100 million tons of multilayer thermoplastics — each composed of as many as 12 layers of varying polymers — are produced globally every year. Forty percent of that total is waste from the manufacturing process itself, and because there has been no way to separate the polymers, almost all of that plastic ends up in landfills or incinerators.

The full article can be found here.

 

No More Landfill! Complex Plastic Recycling in Post-Industrial Waste

Tonight the Perpetual Notion Machine talks with Professor George Huber and Professor Reid van Lehn of the University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Department of Energy’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. They are the co-authors of the paper ‘Recycling of multilayer plastic packaging materials by solvent-targeted recovery and precipitation’, which details a new process to recycle complex postindustrial waste that is as cost effective to manufacturers as using new plastics.
PNM discusses their technique, which is the first (!) to recycle multilayer plastics that have always gone to landfills, plus the plastic lifecycle, recycling industry, and how their work can be used to cut down on plastic waste. Seeing plastic everywhere you go now? It’s a common side effect of talking about plastic. Join host Emily Morris at the end of the show for ways you can reduce your plastic footprint. And if you want more ideas on how to start your own personal zero waste movement, check out Trash Is For Tossers. The post No More Landfill! Complex Plastic Recycling in Post-Industrial Waste appeared first on WORT 89.9 FM.
The full article can be found here.

Cheaper, more sustainable way to produce plastic precursors

Scientists and engineers at UW-Madison developed an economically feasible process to synthesize a possible substitute for petroleum-derived chemicals from non-edible biomass.

This substitute, called 1,5-pentanediol, is a type of alpha, omega-diol that has two alcohol groups attached at the beginning and the end of a long carbon chain, which is mostly synthesized as a byproduct of other commercially produced diols.

The full article can be found here.

Revolutionizing recycling: UW-Madison research team works to find better way to reuse plastics

MADISON, Wis. – Kevin Sanchez-Rivera spends many hours in the first-floor labs of the engineering building on campus, just a block or so away from Camp Randall. The graduate student feels like the scientific community has a responsibility to figure out a way to make sure plastics are used more than once.

His supervisor, George Huber, is leading the research that he says could change the way we recycle one of the most wasteful products on Earth.

Huber and his team are looking at ways to negate that contamination by separating all of the plastics that are mixed together to make every day items. That’s where Reid Vanlehn comes in. Vanlehn is a chemical and biological engineer who concocts solvents to separate different plastic components from the same material. He uses computer simulations to see how molecules would react and whether certain solutions might be successful in the lab.

The full article can be found here.